TSAVO EAST NATIONAL PARK KENYA
IUCN Category II (National Park)
Location of Tsavo National Parks
Area 11,747 km²
Governing body Kenya Wildlife Service
Tsavo East National Park is one of the oldest and largest parks in Kenya at 11,747 square kilometers. Opened in April of 1948, it is located near the village of Voi in the Taita District of Coast Province. The park is divided into east and west sections by the A109 road and a railway. Named for the Tsavo River, which flows west to east through the national park, it borders the Chyulu Hills National Park, and the Mkomazi Game Reserve in Tanzania.
The park can be accessed by three main gates, from Voi through the Manyani gate, from Mombasa through the Bachuma gate or from Malindi through the Sala gate. There are also several airstrips in the park that allow chartered light planes. Inside the park, the Athi and Tsavo rivers converge to form the Galana River. Most of the park consists of semi-arid grasslands and savanna. It is considered one of the world’s biodiversity strongholds, and its popularity is mostly due to the vast amounts of diverse wildlife that can be seen. The park also offers camping and several geographical points of interest.
The slightly larger Tsavo East is generally flat, with dry plains across which the Galana River flows. Other features include the Yatta Plateau and Lugards Falls. Wildlife in Tsavo East includes black rhinos and hirola antelopes.
Tsavo West is more mountainous and wetter than its counterpart, with swamps, Lake Jipe and the Mzima Springs. It is known for birdlife and for its large mammals. It is also home to a black rhino sanctuary.
The Mudanda Rock is a 1.6 km inselberg of stratified rock that acts as a water catchment that supplies a natural dam below. It offers an excellent vantage point for the hundreds of elephants and other wildlife that come to drink during the dry season.
The Yatta Plateau, the world’s longest lava flow, runs along the western boundary of the park above the Athi river. Its 290 km length was formed by lava from Ol Doinyo Sabuk Mountain.
Lugard Falls, named after Frederick Lugard, is actually a series of rapids on the Galana river.
Aruba Dam was built in 1952 across the Voi river. The reservoir created by the dam attracts many animals and water birds.
Tsavo East National Park is one of the world’s largest game sanctuaries, providing undeveloped wilderness homes to vast numbers of animals. A comprehensive list of the animal types found in Tsavo East Park includes the aardwolf, yellow baboon, bat, cape buffalo, bushbaby, bushbuck, caracal, African wildcat, cheetah, African Civet, dik-dik, African hunting dog, African dormouse, Blue Duiker, bush duiker, red duiker, eland, African elephant, bat-eared fox, greater galago, gazelle, large-spotted genet, small-spotted genet, gerenuk, giraffe, African hare, springhare, Coke hartebeest, hunter hartebeest, East African hedgehog, spotted hyaena, striped hyaena, rock hyrax, tree hyrax, impala, black-backed jackal, side-striped jackal, klipspringer, Lesser Kudu, leopard, lion, banded mongoose, dwarf mongoose, large grey mongoose, marsh mongoose, slender mongoose, white-tailed mongoose, black faced vervet monkey, Sykes’s monkey, fringe-eared oryx, clawless otter, ground pangolin, crested porcupine, cane rat, giant rat, naked mole rat, ratel, bohor reedbuck, black rhinoceros, serval, spectacled elephant shrew, bush squirrel, East African red squirrel, striped ground squirrel, unstriped ground squirrel, ibex, suni, warthog, waterbuck, common zebra, and Grevy’s zebra.
Over 500 bird species have been recorded in the area, including ostriches, kestrels, buzzards, starlings, weaver birds, kingfishers, hornbills, secretary birds, and herons.