The fine Tsavo West National Park covers a huge variety o landscape, from swamps and natural springs to rocky peaks, extinct volcanic cones to rolling plains and sharp reddish outcrops dusted with greenery.
Attractiveness of Tsavo west national park
It’s easily the more attractive of the two parks, but wildlife can be hard to spot because of the dense scrub. Birds are very common and there are large populations of elephants, zebras, hippos and leopards. Lions are out there, but they tend to stay hidden.
The focus is Mzima springs, which produces an incredible 93 million gallons of fresh water a day. The springs are the source of the bulk of Mombasa fresh water and you can walk down to a large pool that is a favourite haunt for crocodiles and hippos. There’s an underwater viewing chamber. Be a little careful here-both crocs and hippos are potentially dangerous.
Birds eye views on crater hills
Chaimu crater, just south east of Kilaguni Serena lodge and the roaring rocks viewpoint can be climbed in about 15minutes. The views from either spot are stunning with falcons, eagles and buzzards whirling over the plains. While there is little danger when walking these trails, be ware that the wildlife is still out there so keep your eyes open.
Rhinos in the National Park
Another attraction is the Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary, at the base of Ngulia Hills, part of the Rhino Ark program. It’s close to Ngulia safari Lodge, but a long drive from anywhere else. The 70 sq km area is surrounded by a 1m-high electric fence and provides security for the park’s last 49 black rhinos.
There are driving tracks and waterholes within the enclosed area and there’s a good chance of seeing one of these elusive creatures. Large numbers of elephants, buffaloes and other species have moved into the enclosure.
Unusual animal species
Some of the more unusual species to look out for in the park include the naked mole rat, which can sometimes be seen kicking sand from its burrows, and the enigmatically named white bellied go-away bird, which is often seen perched in dead trees. Red- beaked hornbills and bateleur eagles are common. Look out for dung beetles rolling huge balls of elephant dung along the tracks.
Rock climbing in the park
It’s possible to go rock climbing at Tembo peak and the Ngulia Hills but you’ll need to arrange in advance with the park warden. This area is also fantastic for birdlife and there is a very reliable hippo pool on the Mukui River, near the Ngulia Safari Lodge.
Lake Vacation Spot-Lake Jipe
Lake Jipe at the south west end of the park, reached by a desperately dusty track from near Taveta. You can hire boats at the campsite to take you hippo and crocodile spotting on the lake (US$5). Huge herds of elephants come to the lake to drink and large flocks of migratory birds stop here from February to May.
Vacations to Tsavo West National Park can be arranged by a Kenya tour company based in Nairobi or you can also have a self-drive safari with equipment on hire from a car rental and camping Gear Company.