Tsavo West National Park
Tsavo West National Park established in 1948, is
located about 200 km south-east of Nairobi in southern
Kenya and about 200km north of Mombasa. Separated only
by the Mombasa/Nairobi road from Tsavo East, Tsavo West
National Park is part of the entire Tsavo eco-system
that includes Tsavo East and West National Parks and the
Chyulu Hills.- a vast ecosystem where the relationship
between wildlife and its environment has been allowed to
take its own natural course. The park offers diverse
habitats including mountains, rivers, forests, plains,
lakes and wooded grassland.
Tsavo West stretches from Mtito Andei, along the
Mombasa-Nairobi road and south to the Tanzanian border
and consists of mostly semi-arid plains that are broken
up with granite rock outcrops (kopjies) and lava fields,
but also includes open plains, avannah bush, acacia
woodlands, belts of riverine vegetation, palm thickets
and on the Chyulu hills, mountain forest.
- Mzima Springs: One of the main attractions in
Tsavo West National Park are the Mzima Springs,
located 48km from the Mtito Andei Gate and close to
both Kilaguni Lodge and Kitanitented camp. The two
large pools, connected by a rush of rapids are
replenished with two hundred and twenty million
liters of crystal-clear water every day, from the
underground streams stemming from the lava the
Chyulu Hills, 40-50 kilometers away. This fresh
water at Mzima forms a haven to a huge variety of
wildlife including hippoa and crocodiles, but is
aslo an important source of drinking water for many
animals including elephants, lion, gazelles, zebra
and giraffe. A must is to look for Hippo underwater
through the windows of the observation tank that has
been sunk into the river, you can be sure to spot a
few fish species including barbel.
- Chaimu Crater: Just west of the springs is the
Chaimu Crater, this volcanic crater is less than 200
years old and composed mainly of black coke. It is
well worth the visit and you can climbed by foot.
Animals to look out for in this area include
klipspringer and the lesser Kudu antelope.
- Lake Jipe: Located in the southwestern corner of
Tsavo West National Park is Lake Jipe. 10km long and
3km wide it has huge reed beds and although there is
game present, it is the rich bird life that is most
impressive here. Pied Kingfishers, palmnut vultures,
black herons and African skimmers, Purlpe Gallinule,
Black Herons, the Pygmy Goose and the Lesser Jacana
are all found in this area around the lake. Above
the lake, the Tanzanian Pare Mountains form an
impressive backdrop, especially if you are there to
see it at sunset.
- Prior to the park's establishment in 1948 with its sister park, Tsavo East
National Park, the Waliangulu people roamed the park hunting elephant with bow
and arrow. British forces in World War I built forts along the Tsavo River in
defense of Von Lettow Vorbeck's intrusion from the south and engineers built a
railway through the bush land, encountering man-eating lions.
- Tsavo West National Park also holds
an important rhino sanctuary and is famous for elephant.
Game includes: leopard, cheetah, buffalo, rhino,
elephant, giraffe, zebra, lion, plains game, crocodile,
and plenty of additional small mammals, over 600 species of
birds and insects.