Tsavo West National Park – Land of Lava, Springs, Man-Eaters & Magical Sunsets

Tsavo West is a parade of continuous surprises. From the sight of fifty million gallons of crystal clear water gushing out of from the under parched lava rock that is the Mzima Springs  to the Shetani  lava flows, Tsavo West is a beautiful, rugged wilderness. The savannah ecosystem comprises of open grasslands, scrublands, and Acacia woodlands, belts of riverine vegetation and rocky ridges including the Poacher’s Lookout where visitors can see the teeming herds in the plains below. Tsavo West offers some of the most magnificent game viewing in the world and attractions include elephant, rhino, Hippos, lions, cheetah, leopards, Buffalos, diverse plant and bird species including the threatened corncrake and near threatened Basra Reed Warbler. And what other park in Kenya offers such exciting opportunities for rock climbing? Scale Kichwa Tembo, the Great Tsavo Chimney or the Ivory Tower on Elephant Rock and be rewarded with incredible vistas of the savannah below.

Park size

At 9,065 square kilometers, Tsavo West is one of Kenya’s larger parks. It is separated from its sister park, Tsavo East by the Nairobi-Mombasa highway and rail line.


The park is in southeast Kenya between Nairobi and Mombasa. It’s relatively close to the beaches of the Kenya Coast and can easily be a 1-day safari for those who wish a quick getaway.

The park is open year-round and always accessible. If you like your scenery greener (as opposed to browner), you desire the best views of Kilimanjaro and the finest bird viewing, then choose the wet season (October to May). But if larger wildlife watching is your thing the best time to visit is in the drier months. The animals are easier to spot as they venture to the rivers and watering holes.


Getting there

By road – you can book a tour with Jadestone Africa Travels from the coast or Nairobi.

Air – chartered aircraft can land at the park’s multiple airstrips at Chyulu, Mtito Andei, Tsavo, Jipe, Maktau, Kasigau and Ziwani gates.

Railway – take the Nairobi-Mombasa railway which runs right through the park.

Shetani lava flow

This hardened lava flow is only a few hundred years old. Shetani is the Kiswahili word for ‘devil’. When villagers saw the flaming lava erupting from the earth, they imagined it was the coming of the devil into their world.

Bird watching

Over 600 types of birds have been spotted in the park. The area is a feast of migratory birds such as African skimmers, goshawks and palm nut vultures. Some more familiar species such as ostriches, buzzards, kingfishers, hornbills and herons are also plentiful here. Other treats like the golden-breasted starling and orange-bellied parrot can be spotted as well.

Roaring Rocks

Named for the persistent whistling of the wind and the constant buzz of nearby cicadas, this outcropping is an easy climb and a wonderful place to spot eagles and other birds of prey cruising nearby.

Mzima Springs

Perhaps the most special locale in the park, this lush spring is fed by over 200 million liters of clear water daily.  Mzima means “life” in Swahili and this life sustaining oasis attracts a rich assortment of elephants, hippos, crocodiles, zebras and other wildlife to its raffia palm shores. There are plenty of nature trails and even an underwater observation platform.

Lake Jipe

There’s still more bird and aquatic life to explore at this stunning lake fed by the run-off from Mr. Kilimanjaro.  You can take a water safari on the lake and explore the nearby wetlands, teeming with wildlife.