Set on a surface of 9.065 sq km, the Tsavo West National Park is smaller than its huge twin Tsavo East, but it has some characteristics that make it maybe more beautiful. It has also more modern roads, and in better condition compared to the average Kenyan roads. So it is perfect for tourists and for tour operators that organize safari. It has a strange bow shape, including mountains, villages and private farms too. The whole system of public and private boards cooperates under the unique name of Tsavo Conservation Area. This part of the Tsavo Parks has less animals but offers more interesting activities.
Territory and wildlife at Tsavo West
Different from the wide and dry land of the East, Tsavo West has a territory made of grassy savannahs, woods, green hills and rocky mountains. It looks more like an alpine landscape and is full of rivers and lakes. The wonderful Mzima Springs – water falls coming out from old lava rocks in the Shetani region – are worth the visit. So is, of course, Lake Jipe.
In this environment live some typical animals though not as many as in Tsavo East area. You will meet for sure leopards, elephants, giraffes, buffalos, hippopotami. You can spot lions and cheetahs too. Tsavo West is a protected sanctuary for eastern black rhinoceros, plus it also hosts many species of birds. Among them, two rare species – corncrakes and Basra reed warblers – are protected here.
Archaeological Sites at Tsavo West
Many archaeological excavations have brought to light prehistorical remains of humans and animals that used to live in this area. Most of the ancient historical sites are along the rivers – Tsavo and Galana – but also on the mountains. Many grottos resulted to have been used as ancient shelters for shepherds or places where to breed animals. The remains are dated back to the early and middle Stone Age (over 10.000 years ago) and, along Galana river especially, to the late Stone Age (6000 to 1300 years ago).
What to do at Tsavo West
Tourists will enjoy many kinds of safari, at Tsavo West. The traditional game viewing safari, of course, but also archaeological safaris. You can also go on water safari and you will have the chance to admire animals like hippos and fish underwater, both in rivers and lakes. Visitors are allowed to go rock climbing, on the stunning Kichwa Tembo rock or on the so called Great Tsavo Chimney! Exploring caves is also a very common activity, at the Park.
There are many camps and lodges, even elegant hotels, around and inside the Park’s area. You could also stay at one of the many private farms and ranches all around the Park. To enter the Tsavo West and use its structures and services you shall pay a ticket of 30 US Dollars per person (20 for children).
How to get there
To reach Tsavo West National Park you can come by car – distance from Nairobi and Mombasa is about 240 km – since the roads here are in good conditions. But the fastest way is still by airplane. You can take a local flight from Nairobi and land at one of the three airfileds belonging to the Park itself.