Named for the Tsavo River for which it surrounds, Tsavo is by far the largest national park in Kenya, covering nearly 13,650 square miles between Nairobi City and Mombasa. Its entire area surpasses that of the country of Wales, making it one of the world’s largest game sanctuaries.
Once a single mega-park, Tsavo was divided into two entities decades ago to make way for the Mombasa Highway and railway traveling to the interior of Kenya. Today, these two landmasses—Tsvao West and Tsavo East—make up of two separate and wholly distinct safari experiences, whether through the undulating plains of Tsavo East or the wooded hills and black lava flows of Tsavo West.
Tsavo East National Park is one of the oldest parks in Kenya and by far the biggest of Kenya’s parks—almost nine times larger than the legendary Maasai Mara. Its undeveloped wilderness is a combination of endless dry plains and thin foliage, and its wildlife is legendary. Most famous among the game in Tsavo East are the huge herds of dust-red elephants, whose numbers reach well beyond 10,000, as well as the 650-odd Tsavo lions, marked by their lack of manes. Perhaps the biggest draw of Tsavo East, however, is its exclusivity. One can set off on a game drive and not see another game vehicle the entire time.
While Tsavo East might have the size and numbers, Tsavo West remains the more popular destination on account of its magnificent scenery, from swamps and natural springs to sharp outcrops and volcanic cones. This rich and varied ecosystem means that its wildlife is, in turn, also rich and varied, encompassing incredible bird life and many large mammals like the black rhino, Cape buffalo, elephant, leopard, hippo, and Masai lion. With its abundant wildlife, dramatic landscape, good road system, luxury lodge accommodations, and epic rock climbing potential, Tsavo West continues to be one of Kenya’s most rewarding parks.
Contact Ker & Downey to include Tsavo and its two distinct parks in your next Kenya luxury safari.