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Tsavo East National Park

 The Tsavo East National Park is a huge 13,000 square kilometers park, impressive and famous for its many lions and elephants. Founded in 1948, it is one of the oldest National Parks in the country. Here you cruise the outstretched savannah of the Yatta Plateau, while large groups of elephants walk these red dusty plains. En route you pass a spectacular amount of other animals. Four members of the Big Five (lions, buffalo’s, leopards & elephants) live here, together with zebras, African wild dogs, cheetahs, antilopes, impalas and more.

For the longest time, only animals and small local tribes inhabited this part of country. In the 1890s, however, the British began a concerted effort to colonise the interior of Kenya. They built a railway through Tsavo to connect Mombasa and Nairobi. The land was vast and not good for cultivation. This is why the government decided to make it a national park in 1948. This made room for elephants and rhinos to thrive and be safe from poaching.

Interesting detail: two lions terrorised the railway construction crew for weeks and killed one hundred and thirty five workers before they were shot. This is why Tsavo is still famous for its man-eating lions. But rest assured, although there are over a hundred lions in Tsavo, this is not the case anymore and safety measures have greatly improved.

Best spots

There are a few spots in Tsavo that are perfect for admiring wildlife: Madunda Rock, Lugard Falls and the Aruba Dam. The 1,6 kilometers rock formation of Madunda allows for great viewing of animals drinking below. Lugard Falls is not an actual waterfall but a series of rapid waters that are filled with hippos and crocs. Last but not least, the Aruba Dam creates a waterbassin in the Voi River that is a favorite drinking spot for many animals. Tsavo East National Park basically has it all!

Common Animals in Tsavo East National Park

  • The Big Five: Elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard
  • Zebra
  • Giraffe
  • Cheetah
  • Hyenas
  • African hunting dog
  • Eland
  • Gazelle
  • Gerenuk
  • Springhare
  • Hyenas
  • Jackal
  • Impala
  • Tree hyrax
  • Hartebeest
  • Over 500 species of birds

Tsavo East National Park Highlights

  • Your chance to see all of the Big Five in an amazing and outstretched landscape
  • Enjoy the views from Madunda Rock and watch animals at the watering hole below
  • The Aruba Dam with its waterbasin filled with hippos and crocs

Facts about Tsavo East National Park

  • In the 1890s two lions terrorised the construction crew working on the railway through Tsavo. In the space of several weeks they killed one hundred and thirty five workers before they were shot. This is why Tsavo up till this date is famous for its man-eating lions. But rest assured, nowadays you can find over one hundred lions in Tsavo, but none that are known to eat people.
  • Tsavo was founded in 1948 and is one of the oldest and the largest national park in Kenya
  • The Yatta plateau with its 290 kilometers is the worlds’ longest lava flow with its origin at the Oldonyo Sabuk mountain near Nairobi.

Activities in Tsavo East National Park

  • Climb on Madunda Rock for excellent views
  • Visit Lugard Falls for a series of rapid waters
  • Pass by the Aruba Dam and its waterbasin for an abundance of wildlife

How to get there

Tsavo East National Park has four gates that all give access to the park from different directions. From Mombasa it is a four to five hour drive to the Buchuma Gate. Coming from Nairobi it’s a seven to eight hour drive to the Manyani Gate.

There are no scheduled flights to Tsavo East National Park but there are some airstrips available for chartered flights.



Kenya has a cold season from June to November with average temperatures of 20°C during the day. Nights can get cold during this season, so it’s best to take a sweater.

Mid October to November is the short rainy season, after which temperatures rise up to 30°C during the day from December to April. April and May come with showers again as this is the long rainy season. It normally doesn’t rain throughout the day as one sees sunny mornings with rain clouds building up towards the afternoons and evenings.

Best time to visit Tsavo East National Park

The dry months of June to October and January to February are best to vist Tsavo East National Park, when conditions in the park are favorable for wildlife watching. During the peak of the short rains (November) and the long rains (April and May) road conditions can be more challenging.