Tsavo West National Park
Tsavo West National Park is a 9,000 sq km game park in southern Kenya, located about 200 km south-east of Nairobi. Separated only by the Mombasa/Nairobi road from Tsavo East, Tsavo West is part of the entire Tsavo eco-system.
Famous for the Mzima Springs, with its unique underwater hippo observatory, and for the Shaitani lava flows and Chaimu volcanic crater, the park offers plenty of opportunity to explore on foot. In addition the park has recorded over 600 species of birds. The park also holds an important rhino sanctuary and is famous for elephant.
Prior to the park's establishment in 1948 with its sister park, Tsavo East National Park, the Waliangulu people roamed the park hunting elephant with bow and arrow. British forces in World War I built forts along the Tsavo River in defense of Von Lettow Vorbeck's intrusion from the south and engineers built a railway through the bush land, encountering man-eating lions.
Since that time, much has changed. Over 1,000 miles of road exist. The Kenya Wildlife Service maintains numerous vehicles, buildings, bridges and roads. In addition, there are over 300 personnel involved in protecting the wildlife, maintaining the Park and serving the visitors.
The park offers numerous accommodation options including Finch Hattons Camp, one of Kenya's best luxury tented camps, built around a series of hippo pools.
Tsavo is a vast ecosystem where the relationship between wildlife and its environment has been allowed to take its own natural course. The park offers diverse habitats including mountains, rivers, forests, plains, lakes and wooded grassland.
Game includes: leopard, cheetah, buffalo, rhino, elephant, giraffe, zebra, lion, plains game, crocodile, and plenty of additional small mammals, birds and insects.
© Melinda Rees of Best of Kenya