A Kenya wildlife safari is one of the best Africa safari activities to undertake while in Kenya on your Kenya safari. While drafting your wildlife safari Kenya itinerary, Tsavo East National Park also known as the“Theatre of the Wild” is one of the parks in Kenya that must not be left out in your Kenya wildlife safari itinerary.
Tsavo East National Park Kenya is one of the oldest and largest African wildlife safari parks in Kenya. It was established in 1948 and covers 13,747 km². Although it’s not famous, Tsavo East is nine times bigger than the Maasai Mara National Reserve; indeed, you could fit the whole of the Maasai Mara reserve into the southern tip of Tsavo East National Park, south of the Voi River.
Though big, not all of the park is open to the public, some areas are designated as “remote animal wilderness” for the Kenyan animals, but there is still a massive area for visitors to enjoy their game drive as they view the wildlife in this park on their visit Kenya.
The park is open from 6.30am to 6.30pm daily,
Kenya lies across the equator, and Tsavo East National Park is just a few degrees’ latitude south. The temperature is fairly constant year round, but the rainfall varies. The tropical temperature ranges from 27-31°C (81-88°F) during daytime and 22-24°C (72-75°F) at night.
The long rainy season in Kenya lasts from March to May and the rainfall. It is not interesting to undertake a wildlife safari in Kenya during this time.
The short rainy season lasts from October to December, but the weather during this period is still good enough to go on safari however, expect some afternoon showers. The humidity is high from December through April.
What to see in Tsavo East National Park
The park forms the largest protected area in Kenya and is home a big number of wildlife in the park. It is a natural area of flat, dry plains, with thorny bushes and swampy marshland near the river. It is crowded with diverse Kenyan animals including herds of dust red elephant, Rhino, buffalo, lion, leopard, pods of hippo, crocodile, waterbucks, lesser Kudu, gerenuk, Cape buffalo, cheetahs, duikers, African elephants, gazelles, gerenuks, giraffes, hares, hartebeests, hyenas, impalas, leopards, lions, mongoose, black faced vervet monkeys, Sykes’s monkeys, crested porcupines, giant rats, black rhinoceros, squirrels, warthogs, waterbucks, and zebras.
This park has a big number of birds. Its bird life features 500 recorded species including; African skimmers, red and yellow bishops, goshawks, buffalo weavers and palm nut vultures, ostriches, kestrels, buzzards, starlings, weaverbirds, kingfishers, hornbills, secretary birds, herons to name but a few. Birding in this park is best between October and January.
Other attractions include;
Lugard’s Falls is a series of rapids on the Galana River where crocodiles love to bathe.
Yatta Plateau is the world’s longest lava flow at 290km long.
Mudanda Rock is a 1.6km outcrop of rock, with a dam at its base. This is a popular drinking place for animals.
Aruba Dam also attracts animals and birds looking for a place to drink.
Walking safaris are offered by several guides along the Galana River.
Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary is saving the black rhino from extinction due to hunting by poachers.
How to get there
Tsavo East National Park is 333km south-east of Nairobi, and 173km north-west of Mombasa. It is very close to Kenya’s beaches as well as other Kenya tourist attractions around towns like Malindi and Mombasa making it an ideal for a short Kenya wildlife safari like a 1 day Kenya wildlife safari for those with limited time.
Tsavo East National Park can be accessed from Nairobi (333km) via Voi Gate or Manyani Gate. The park can also be accessed from Mombasa (173km) via Bachuma Gate and from Malindi or the north coast via Sala Gate.
Tsavo East National Park has chartered light aircrafts that land at any of the six airstrips in the south part of the park, or any of the 13 airstrips in the north. Some of the airstrips include; Voi, Aruba, Satao, Sala, Ithumba, Sangayaya, Mopeo, Bachuma, Cottars among others.
The Nairobi-Mombasa railway runs right through the Tsavo East National Park.
What to carry on your safari to Tsavo East National Park
Suitable dress for a day’s wildlife safari to Tsavo East National Park should include
- Cotton clothing
- Picnic items
- Camping equipment if you intend to stay overnight
It is also a good idea to carry a bottle of water, frozen overnight, for you to sip during the day. As it melts, it makes a delicious drink to help you avoid dehydration in the heat.
Accommodation in Tsavo East National Park
The safari viewing lodges also provide excellent buffet lunches while you enjoy watching the animals through the huge panoramic windows.
Don’t forget to enjoy the sights in real-life, not just through the lens of your camera