Tsavo West National Park
Tsavo West National Park makes up part of the extensive Tsavo Conservation Area and it is remarkably an outstanding destination worth visiting on Kenya safari. Its status upgraded into a national park in 1948 making it one of Kenya’s oldest parks and it occupies an area of 9065sq.kms which makes it one of the largest protected areas in magical Kenya.
Best described as the Land of Lava, Man Easters, Springs, and Magical Sunsets, this section of the vast Tsavo Protected Area is set in the Coast Province of Kenya. Compared to some of the parks in Kenya, Tsavo West National Park is a more famous wildlife safari destination travelers on Kenya safari should consider a must-visit to uncover its untold wealth of wildlife.
- History of Tsavo West National Park
The history of Tsavo West National Park dates back to the early Stone Age and Middle Stone Age when archaeological sites were recorded. The area was turned into a hunting area by most occupants of the time and also reared domestic animals. Given a shortage in water from the Galana River, inhabitants in Tsavo concentrated on riparian sites and in rock shelters.
On the other hand, Swahili merchants traded with the people around Tsavo mainly for cat skins, ivory and perhaps slaves. Orma and the Maasai pastoralists still remained around Tsavo as well as the Waata hunter-gatherers up to 1948 that the park was established. During independence, Kenya banned hunting.
Attractions in Tsavo West National Park
The numerous wildlife species to view on game viewing safari in Tsavo West National Park include giraffes, buffaloes, zebras, fringe-eared oryx, gazelles, elands, dik-dik, hippos, rhinos, leopards, lions, hartebeest, lesser kudus, cheetahs, wild dog, crocodiles, mongoose, nocturnal porcupine, bush baby, galago, vervet monkeys and many others.
Over 600 bird species can be identified on Kenya safari in Tsavo West National Park. They include kingfishers, Tsavo sunbird, crab plover, grey plovers, greater crested tern, common greenshank, marsh warblers, thrush nightingale, Northern carmine bee-eaters, brown-headed kingfishers, golden breasted starling, magpie starling, Shelley’s starling, Somali sparrow, Nubian nightjar, African barred owlets, slender tailed nightjars, Donaldson smith’s nightjars, red-backed shrike, fiery necked nightjars and many more. There are also several migratory birds to identify especially from November to April.
Other attractions in Tsavo West National Park include Mzima springs which flow nearby Chyulu hills, volcanic landscape comprising of Shetani Lava, Chaimu volcanic crater and five sister’s hills; roaring rocks which derive their name from the buzz of cicadas, Lake Jipe which is at Kenya border with Tanzania. The Lake is an ideal spot to identify birds like black egrets, black Coucal, and pygmy goose.
Activities to do Tsavo West National Park
- Wildlife viewing
Tsavo West National Park is blessed with numerous wildlife species making it an outstanding wildlife viewing safari destination in Kenya. You can choose to go for a morning game drive which lets you sight the morning risers or evening game drive. A game drive in this park involves sighting wildlife species like lions, leopard, antelopes, civet cats, bush babies, giraffes, buffaloes, zebras, fringe-eared oryx, gazelles, elands, dik-dik, hippos, rhinos, hartebeest, lesser kudus, cheetahs, birds to mention but a few.
Birding in Tsavo West National Park is an interesting experience offered to visitors on Kenya safari to identify bird such as kingfishers, Tsavo sunbird, crab plover, grey plovers, greater crested tern, golden breasted starling, magpie starling, Shelley’s starling, Somali sparrow, Nubian nightjar, African barred owlets, slender tailed nightjars, Donaldson smith’s nightjars, red-backed shrike, common greenshank, marsh warblers, thrush nightingale, Northern carmine bee-eaters, brown-headed kingfishers.
You can also visit the Ngulia sanctuary where black rhinos thrive or the world war 1 battlefield on Tsavo River, Lumo Community Wildlife Sanctuary around Mwatate in Taita Taveta County, cultural tour in the Maasai village.
- Best time to visit Tsavo West National Park
The dry season is perfect for game viewing and this begins in June, July, August, September, October and January, February. Bird watching is best done in November, April or May.
- Accommodation in Tsavo West National Reserve
The lodges to consider for you night stay before or after your safari experience in the park include;
Luxury-Voyager Ziwani Safari Camp, Taita Luxury Hotel, Rhino Valley Lodge, Saravo Salt Lick Lodge,
Mid-range-Severin Safari Camp, Sarova Taita Hills Lodge, Lake Jipe Safari Camp
Budget-Ngulia Lodge, camping in Kamboya campsite or Lake Jipe campsite.
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