Tsavo West National Park

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Tsavo West National Park Travel Essentials


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Ideal duration: 2-3 Days

Best Time: June - October Read More

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"Lava, Wildlife, Springs - A Tale of Adventure"

Tsavo West National Park Tourism

Located in the southeastern part of Kenya, Tsavo West National Park spans over 9,065 square kilometres (3,500 square miles). Established in 1948, Tsavo West National Park is a sister park to Tsavo East National Park, forming the larger Tsavo Conservation Area. Tsavo West National Park is home to a wide array of iconic African animals, including the Big Five - elephants, lions, leopards, buffalos, and rhinos. The park's unique landscapes feature volcanic cones, rolling plains, riverine vegetation, and majestic mountains, providing a perfect habitat for wildlife.

Tsavo West National Park boasts distinct features such as the Mzima Springs, a series of crystal-clear natural springs that gush out from the volcanic rocks, creating a haven for hippos, crocodiles, and a variety of fish. Tsavo West is known for its rich birdlife with over 600 species recorded. Another highlight is the Shetani Lava Flow, a vast expanse of solidified black lava that stretches for kilometres. Also known as the "Land of the Man-Eaters”, the park also holds historical significance as the land of the infamous man-eating lions of Tsavo, which terrorized railway workers in the late 19th century.

Tsavo East and Tsavo West are two distinct sections of Tsavo National Park. While Tsavo East is known for its open savannahs and red elephants, Tsavo West features rugged terrain, volcanic hills, and scenic attractions like Mzima Springs.

Entry Fees:
Park Entry Fee Per Person:
Citizen: Adult – KSH 515, Child – KSH 215
Resident: Adult – KSH 515, Child KSH 215
Non-Residents: Adult – USD 52, Child – USD 35

Vehicle Fee Per Day:
Less than 6 seats - KSH 300
6 to 12 seats - KSH 1030
13 to 24 seats - KSH 2585
25 to 44 seats - KSH 4050
45 seats and above - KSH 5000

Special Activity Charges:
Night Game Drive (per person per trip) – KSH 2155
Guided Tours (per guide up to 4 hours & over 4 hours) – KSH 1720 / KSH 3015
Horse Riding (without rider) – KSH 2585
Private horses (per day) – KSH 1030
Walking Safaris (per person per day) – KSH 1500
Cycling (per day) – KSH 215

Entrance Gates:
The main entrance gates are –
1. Tsavo Gate (also known as Tsavo Gate East): The gate serves as the primary entry point for visitors exploring Tsavo West National Park. Located on the northeastern side of Tsavo West National Park, Tsavo Gate is the main entrance gate to the park. It is not specifically associated with the town of Mtito Andei. Tsavo Gate provides convenient access from the Nairobi-Mombasa highway (A109).
2. Mtito Andei Gate: Situated on the western side of Tsavo West National Park, near the town of Mtito Andei. Mtito Andei Gate is a separate entrance gate within the park. It allows visitors to access Tsavo West National Park from the Nairobi-Mombasa highway (A109).
3. Chyulu Gate: Positioned on the eastern side of Tsavo West National Park, Chyulu Gate grants access to the Chyulu Hills area. It is closest to the Chyulu Hills National Park, located adjacent to Tsavo West. It enables visitors to explore the unique volcanic landscapes and rich biodiversity of the Chyulu Hills.
4. Maktau North and South Gates: Located on the western side of Tsavo West National Park, the Maktau North and South Gates serve as entry points from the Tsavo-Mashuuru road. These gates provide access to the Maktau area known for its diverse wildlife and scenic beauty.
5. Lake Jipe Gate: Found in the southeastern part of Tsavo West National Park, the Lake Jipe Gate allows entry to the Lake Jipe area. It is closest to Lake Jipe, a scenic freshwater lake shared with Tanzania.

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Things to do in Tsavo West National Park

1. Game Drives Safari

Game drives in Tsavo West usually last for a few hours, with morning and afternoon options available. The best time for game drives is early morning or late afternoon when animals are most active. Vis (Read More)itors can expect to encounter iconic species such as African elephants, lions, giraffes, zebras, buffalo, leopards, cheetahs, and various antelope species like impalas, elands, and gazelles.

2. Walking Safaris

These safaris provide an immersive experience, allowing visitors to observe smaller wildlife up close and learn about the park’s diverse flora and fauna. Walking safaris in Tsavo West National P (Read More)ark usually last for a few hours. While on foot, visitors may spot animals such as dik-diks, warthogs, baboons, and a variety of bird species like hornbills, weavers, and sunbirds.

3. Birdwatching Safaris

The park is a haven for bird enthusiasts, with over 600 species recorded. Birdwatching safaris in Tsavo West are shorter in duration and can range from a couple of hours to half a day. Birdwatchers ca (Read More)n expect to see impressive raptors such as African fish eagles, martial eagles, and bateleurs, as well as waterbirds like herons, egrets, and storks. The park is also home to colourful species like lilac-breasted rollers, superb starlings, and yellow-throated longclaws.

4. Mzima Springs

Located in the northern part of the park, Mzima Springs is a series of natural springs that form pools and provide a water source for wildlife. Visitors can take a guided walk along the nature trails (Read More)surrounding the springs, observe hippos and crocodiles underwater from the specially constructed viewing platforms, and enjoy the lush vegetation. The best time to visit is in the morning when wildlife is active, and the air is cool.

5. Shetani Lava Flows

The Shetani Lava Flows are remnants of ancient volcanic eruptions. These black, rocky formations stretch across the park and offer a unique landscape for exploration. Visitors can hike or drive throug (Read More)h the lava flows, marvel at the volcanic rock formations, and learn about the geological history of the area. The best time to visit is during the cooler hours of the day, either in the early morning or late afternoon.

6. Chaimu Crater

Chaimu Crater is a volcanic crater with a cone-shaped hill that offers panoramic views of the park. Visitors can climb to the top of the hill, which provides breathtaking vistas of the surrounding pla (Read More)ins and Mount Kilimanjaro in the distance. The ascent can be challenging, but the reward is the stunning scenery. It is recommended to visit in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the midday heat.

7. Rhino Valley

Rhino Valley is a sanctuary within the park dedicated to the conservation of black rhinos. Visitors can embark on game drives through this area, increasing their chances of spotting these critically e (Read More)ndangered animals. The best time to visit is during the early morning or late afternoon when wildlife activity is at its peak.

8. Lake Jipe

Located in the southwestern part of the park, Lake Jipe is a peaceful freshwater lake that borders Tanzania. Visitors can enjoy boat safaris, birdwatching, and fishing in the lake. The best time to vi (Read More)sit is in the morning or late afternoon for birdwatching and to enjoy the tranquillity of the lake.

Must Know Before You Travel to Tsavo West National Park

  • All the gates are typically open from 06:00 AM to 06:00 PM. Tsavo West National Park is open throughout the year, regardless of the season. 
  • The Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) office is present at the Tsavo and Mtito Andei gates.
  • If self-driving, ensure you have a reliable 4x4 vehicle suitable for the park's terrain.
  • As public transportation is limited within the park, it is advised to book a guided tour through the lodges and tour operators.
  • Ensure you have enough cash with you as credit card facilities may not be widely available within the park.
  • The early morning and late afternoon are the optimal times for wildlife viewing when animals are more active.
  • A minimum of two to three days is recommended to explore the main attractions and enjoy wildlife encounters at Tsavo West.
  • Consider booking guided tours or activities to enhance your experience.
  • If you require constant connectivity, consider purchasing a local SIM card with data or portable Wi-Fi devices.
  • It is generally recommended to purchase tickets from official kiosks or authorized online platforms to ensure valid and cost-efficient entry. Avoid buying tickets from unauthorized sources or on buses to prevent potential scams.

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Wildlife in the Tsavo West National Park

Tsavo West National Park is home to the coveted Big Five, including elephants, lions, rhinos, leopards, and buffalos. The wildlife experience has cheetahs, wild dogs, giraffes, zebras, crocodiles, mongooses, hyrax, Dik-dik, lesser kudu, and nocturnal porcupines. The park's aquatic ecosystems, including Mzima Springs and Lake Jipe, teem with hippos, crocodiles, and various bird species.

With over 600 recorded species, the kind of birds ranges from raptors and waterbirds to resident and migratory birds. This includes the African fish eagle, secretary bird, lilac-breasted roller, vulturine guineafowl, helmeted guineafowl, ostrich, African grey hornbill, yellow-billed hornbill, superb starling, and red-and-yellow barbet, to name just a few.

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How to Reach Tsavo West National Park

How to Reach Overview

Tsavo West National Park is located approximately 240 kilometres from Nairobi. The park can be easily reached by road, with a travel time of about 4-5 hours. Alternatively, domestic flights are available to nearby airstrips for a quicker and more convenient mode of transportation. 

How to reach Tsavo West National Park by flight

The nearest airport to Tsavo West is the Nairobi Wilson Airport, which is approximately 240 kilometres away. There are multiple airstrips available in the park such as Kamboyo, Kilaguni, Tsavo Gate, Jipe, Kasigau, Finch Hottons, Ziwani, and Maktau airstrips. From the Nairobi airport, you can take a domestic flight to one of these airstrips. Flight duration from Nairobi to Tsavo West is around 45 minutes and a round-trip would cost approximately $400 per person. Air Kenya and Safari Link are good websites to book your intercountry travels from Nairobi to Tsavo West.

Similarly, there are flights available from Mombasa to the Tsavo West airstrips. These take around 90 minutes on one side and a round-trip would cost approximately $530 per person. Mombasa Air Safari is a good website to book this travel.

How to reach Tsavo West National Park by road

The park is accessible by road from Nairobi, Mombasa, and other major cities in Kenya. From Nairobi, it is approximately a 4–5 hour drive (about 240 kilometres) via the A109 highway. And it would take around 4-5 hours from Mombasa (about 250 kilometres).
The distance and travel time may vary depending on the specific entry gate of the park.

How to reach Tsavo West National Park by train

Although there is no direct railway connection to Tsavo West National Park, you can take a train from Nairobi to Voi town (4-5 hours) and Mtito Andei (3 hours), which are the nearest railway stations.

Train from Nairobi to Voi can take around 4-5 hours and cost between KSH 350 to 2130. It would take another 1 hour to reach the park from Voi station which is at a distance of 80 kilometres.

Train from Nairobi to Mtito Andei can take around 3 hours and cost between KSH 250 to 1490. It would take another 2 and a half hours to reach the park from Voi station which is at a distance of 173 kilometres.

How to reach Tsavo West National Park by bus

Public minibuses (matatus) operate between major towns near the park, such as Voi or Mtito Andei, and the surrounding areas. However, these may not provide direct access to the park's entry gates, and additional transport arrangements may be needed.

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Tsavo West National Park

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