Tsavo West

Tsavo West National Park has a diverse array of habitats, including open grasslands, rocky outcrops, isolated hills, riverine vegetation, palm thickets and mountain forests. Highlights include Mzima Springs, Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary, Lake Jipe, Shetani Caves and spectacular views of Mt Kilimanjaro. Over 600 species of birds have been recorded here.


Tsavo National Park was established in 1948 and formed one of the largest national parks in the world. The park was later split into East and West, on either side of the Nairobi Mombasa Highway, for administrative purposes. Tsavo West adjoins the Chyulu Hills National Park. Park gates are at Tsavo, Lake Jipe, Mtito Andei, Chyulu, Maktau and Ziwani. Airstrips are located at Kamboyo, Kilaguni, Tsavo Gate, Jipe, Kasigau, Finch Hattons, Ziwani and Maktau. Park fees should be paid to Kenya Wildlife Service, KWS; current rates can be obtained from KWS.

Wildlife in the park includes leopard, cheetah, wild dog, buffalo, rhino, elephant, giraffe, zebra, lion, lesser kudu and porcupine. Diverse bird species include the threatened corncrake and the rare Basra reed warbler.

At Mzima Springs, water filtered underground from the Chyulu Hills erupts from below a lava ridge into a series of clear pools. Lake Jipe, on the Kenya Tanzania border, is fed by runoff from Mt Kilimanjaro and attracts what is thought to be the largest variety of aquatic birdlife in Africa.

Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, with wooded hills and steep winding roads, has plentiful wildlife and rare species of birds and butterflies. Lumo Community Wildlife Sanctuary is formed of three group ranches which have united to preserve this vital wildlife corridor.

Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary, at the foot of the Ngulia Hills, was established to protect the rare black rhino. Now over 50 black rhino are found in the sanctuary. The Roaring Rocks, named for the buzz of cicadas that billows around them, have panoramic views over the sanctuary and make a spectacular observation point from which to look for rhinos or enjoy a sundowner.

Shetani, meaning evil in Swahili, was the name given by locals to the vast flow of lava that spurted from the earth. The Shetani Lava Flow is 8km long; trees entwine with chunks of solid magma, and in places form caves.

The plains of Tsavo were the site of a number of World War I battles between the British, based in Kenya which was then a British protectorate, and the Germans, based in what was then Tanganika, now Tanzania. Tours of battlefields and war cemeteries are available. One of the most eccentric campaigns, immortalised in the film Shout at the Devil, featured fleets of Rolls Royces; its final surrender came three months after the rest of the world had signed an armistice.

The Chyulu Hills, made famous by Ernest Hemingway’s Green Hills of Africa, are strikingly attractive extinct volcanos, blanketed in black lava and lush flora. Chyulu Hills National Park has gates at Main Gate, Mukururo and Kiboko. There are two airstrips and three public campsites. Wildlife includes eland, elephant, leopard, giant forest hog, bush pig, black mamba, puff adder and rock python. Activities include game viewing, hiking, horse riding, bird watching and camping.

Listings In The Tsavo West Region

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Formerly a hunters’ camp, Rockside Camp is situated at the foot of a rocky kopje known as Kale 1. The camp is personally hosted by its owners, Mark and Nana Tozer. This striking location offers the option of climbing the kopje, or of admiring it from the luxury of the camp. ...

The 2 Sarova lodges are set in Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, a privately owned conservation area adjacent to Tsavo West National Park. Day and night game drives give guests the opportunity to view the sanctuary’s 50 species of mammal and over 300 species of birdlife. Wildlife talks are available on request. Sarova ...

Perched high on a bluff, Lion’s Bluff appears suspended over Lumo Community Wildlife Sanctuary. Describing itself as the view with a lodge, Lion’s Bluff has stunning views to North and South Pare Mountains, Taita Hills and, on a clear day, Mt Kilimanjaro. Lion’s Bluff was conceived and ...

On a 30,000-acre private farm on the western edge of Tsavo West National Park, Voyager Ziwani is a tented camp. Sitting on the verge of Ziwa Dam on the Sante River, the camp looks out on the hippos that have made this their home. There are 25 en-suite tents, 16 on the ...

Denys Finch Hatton, an English aristocrat, first travelled to East Africa in 1911 at the age of 24. His name soon became synonymous with elegance, style and adventure. His courage, his charm and his insistence on crystal and fine cuisine while on safari have been recreated in this camp named after him. ...

Set in Tsavo West National Park, Severin Safari Camp is an eco-friendly camp overlooking a floodlit waterhole. The camp received an award from TÜV Rhineland in Germany for the quality of its service and its spa. There are 27 en-suite rooms, equipped with WiFi, and spread over 25 hectares of bush ...

Kilaguni, meaning young rhino, in the language of the Kamba, is located on a ridge with sweeping views of the Chyulu Hills at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro. Opened in 1962, Kilaguni Lodge was the first safari lodge ever to be built in a national park. It has been under the ...

The Chyulu Hills, called The Green Hills of Africa by Ernest Hemmingway, provide the setting for the 1,036kmÇ group ranch on which Campi ya Kanzi is situated. The diverse beauty Hemmingway loved is here, from savannah grasslands to green river woodlands, from cool mountain forests to the volcanic hills themselves. ...

Ol Donyo Wuas, in 275,000-acre Mbirikani Maasai Group Ranch on the slopes of the Chyulu Hills National Park, has stunning views of Mt Kilimanjaro. In the path of traditional wildlife migration routes, the lodge is ideally situated to view the abundant wildlife. The lodge was built in the 1980s and ...