questions regarding tsavo national park

Questions and Answers Regarding Tsavo national park



Questions and Answers about Tsavo national park

Questions People Ask About Tsavo National Park by tourists who are looking to visit Tsavo National park:


General Information:


What are the two main sections of Tsavo National Park? (Tsavo East vs West)

Tsavo National Park is divided into two distinct sections:

  • Tsavo East: This is the larger section, known for its vast open savannas, red-colored elephants, and diverse wildlife viewing opportunities.
  • Tsavo West: This section is characterized by more varied terrain, including volcanic features, natural springs, and a greener, hillier landscape.


How big is Tsavo National Park?

Tsavo National Park is enormous! It’s Kenya’s largest national park, covering a combined area of approximately 22,812 square kilometers (8,808 square miles). Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Tsavo East: About 13,747 square kilometers
  • Tsavo West: About 9,065 square kilometers


What landscapes and ecosystems dominate Tsavo? (savanna, volcanic features, etc.)

Tsavo offers a diverse range of landscapes and ecosystems:

Tsavo East:

  • Open Savanna: The dominant feature, with vast plains of grassland and scattered acacia trees.
  • Yatta Plateau: The world’s longest lava flow, stretching along the park’s eastern side.
  • Mudanda Rock: A popular spot where elephants gather after dusting themselves with the area’s red soil.
  • Galana River: A significant water source that traverses the park.

Tsavo West:

  • Volcanic Landscapes: Cones, craters, and lava flows shape the terrain, including the striking Shetani Lava Flows.
  • Mzima Springs: A series of crystal-clear natural springs providing a vital water source and amazing underwater wildlife viewing opportunities.
  • Hillier and Greener: Offers more varied vegetation than Tsavo East, including woodlands and riverine forests.


What is the wildlife population like in Tsavo? (abundant elephants, specific predators, etc.)

Tsavo boasts a rich and diverse wildlife population, although spotting them can sometimes be trickier due to the park’s vastness:

  • Elephants Galore: Tsavo is famous for its large elephant herds, often seen with a reddish hue from the area’s dust.
  • Predators: Lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, and even wild dogs are all present.
  • Diverse Herbivores: Herds of buffaloes, zebras, giraffes, various antelopes like eland, oryx, and gazelles roam the park.
  • Birdlife: Over 500 bird species recorded, making it a birding hotspot.
  • Unique Species: Potential sightings of lesser kudus, gerenuk (long-necked antelope), and other interesting species that are less common elsewhere.


Is Tsavo National Park less crowded than the Maasai Mara?

Yes, generally Tsavo National Park experiences fewer crowds compared to the Maasai Mara, especially during peak seasons. This offers a more tranquil and less-traveled safari experience.


How much is a safari at Tsavo National Park?

The cost of a Tsavo safari varies widely depending on the same factors affecting costs in the Maasai Mara:

  • Season: Shoulder seasons offer better deals than peak times.
  • Accommodation: Ranges from basic camping to luxurious lodges.
  • Safari Length: Longer safaris increase the overall cost.
  • Activities: Additional activities like guided walks or special experiences add to the price.

Generally, Tsavo safaris can sometimes be a bit more affordable than the Maasai Mara because of its lesser-known status.


Which is better Tsavo East or Tsavo West?

There’s no single “best”! Here’s how to decide:

Tsavo East is great if you:

  • Prioritize easy game viewing of huge elephant herds and vast open landscapes.
  • Want a sense of remote wilderness exploration.
  • Are looking for potentially more affordable options.

Tsavo West is better if you:

  • Enjoy varied scenery with volcanic landscapes and natural springs.
  • Want a greener backdrop and potentially more challenging wildlife spotting.
  • Are interested in unique experiences like the underwater hippo viewing at Mzima Springs.


What is Tsavo most famous for in Kenya?

Here’s what Tsavo National Park is known for:

  • Man-Eating Lions: Tsavo gained notoriety in the late 1800s when two lions terrorized railway workers, earning them the title “the Tsavo Maneaters”.
  • Red Elephants: The park’s elephants are renowned for their distinctive reddish color acquired from dusting themselves in the area’s rich red soil.
  • Size: Tsavo is Kenya’s largest national park, known for its vast landscapes and wilderness feel.
  • Yatta Plateau: This geological feature is the world’s longest lava flow, stretching along Tsavo East.


What is the best time to visit Tsavo National Park?

The best time depends on your priorities:

  • Wildlife Viewing: The dry season (June-October and January-February) is best, as animals concentrate around water sources, making them easier to spot.
  • Bird Watching: For excellent bird watching with migratory species present, visit from November to April.
  • Fewer Crowds: Consider the shoulder seasons (May-June and November) for a good balance of wildlife viewing and fewer crowds.


Is Tsavo bigger than Maasai Mara?

Yes, Tsavo National Park is significantly bigger than the Maasai Mara. Here’s a comparison:

  • Tsavo Combined: Approximately 22,812 square kilometers
  • Maasai Mara: Approximately 1,510 square kilometers

Tsavo’s vast size offers a different type of safari experience, with more opportunity for exploration.


Who is the owner of Tsavo?

Tsavo National Park is managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). KWS is a government parastatal with the mandate to protect and conserve Kenya’s wildlife and their habitats.


Who owns Tsavo National Park?

Tsavo National Park, like all national parks in Kenya, is owned by the Kenyan Government and managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). KWS is the statutory body responsible for wildlife conservation and management in Kenya.


What is Tsavo known for?

  • Size: Tsavo is Kenya’s largest national park, known for its vast, open landscapes and sense of wilderness.
  • Red Elephants: The elephants in Tsavo are famous for their distinctive reddish coloration due to dusting themselves with the area’s red soil.
  • Man-Eating Lions: The park has a historical connection to the legendary “Tsavo Maneaters”, two lions who terrorized railway workers during its construction.
  • Diverse Landscapes: From open savannas to volcanic features like the Shetani Lava Flows and natural springs like Mzima Springs.
  • Yatta Plateau: The world’s longest lava flow is located along Tsavo East’s boundary.


Is Tsavo National Park worth it?

Absolutely! Tsavo offers a unique safari experience that’s worth considering:

  • Less Crowded: Compared to the Maasai Mara, Tsavo often feels more remote and less crowded, especially outside peak seasons.
  • Big Elephant Herds: For elephant lovers, the sight of vast herds, often with their unique red coloration, is a highlight.
  • Varied Landscapes: If you enjoy diverse terrain, from open plains to volcanic formations and lush springs, Tsavo delivers.
  • Value: Tsavo safaris can sometimes be slightly more affordable than more popular destinations.


Is Tsavo National Park safe?

Generally, yes, visiting Tsavo National Park on a reputable safari is considered safe. Here’s why:

  • Experienced Guides: Lodges and safari operators employ knowledgeable guides well-versed in safety protocols and navigating wildlife areas.
  • Park Security: The Kenya Wildlife Service works to maintain security within the park to protect visitors and wildlife.
  • Common Sense Precautions: As with any wildlife area, follow your guide’s instructions, stay aware of your surroundings, and don’t approach wild animals.



Travel and Logistics:

What is the best time to visit Tsavo National Park for safaris? (considering weather, animal migrations, etc.)

The best time depends on your priorities:

  • Best for Wildlife Viewing: The dry season offers the easiest game viewing as animals concentrate around water sources. Consider these periods:
    • June – October: Long dry season
    • January – February: Short dry season

Tsavo National park Dry Season

  • Birdwatching: For migratory species, November – April is excellent.

Tsavo National park Birdwatching

  • Avoiding Crowds: The shoulder seasons (May-June and November) offer a good balance of decent animal viewing and fewer crowds.


Can you fly to Tsavo?

Yes, you can fly to Tsavo. There are various airstrips within the park serving the different lodges and camps:

  • Tsavo East: Airstrips like Sarova, Kamboyo, Voi, Bachuma, and Aruba.
  • Tsavo West: Airstrips including Kilaguni, Finch Hattons, and Ziwani.

Your chosen lodge or safari operator usually organizes flights as part of your package.


How do I get to Tsavo National Park? (flights, driving distances, access points)

Here are the main ways to reach Tsavo National Park:

  • Flights:
    • Fly from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport to one of the park’s airstrips. This is the fastest and most convenient option, typically taking around 1 hour.
  • Driving:
    • Tsavo East is accessible from Mombasa (approx. 3-4 hour drive) and Nairobi (approx. 5-6 hour drive).
    • Tsavo West is accessible from Mombasa (approx. 2-3 hour drive) and Nairobi (approx. 6-7 drive).
    • Consider road conditions – some sections can be rough, and a 4×4 might be advantageous.

Tsavo National park Road

  • Access Gates:
    • Each part of the park has various entrance gates:
      • Tsavo East: Voi Gate, Manyani Gate, Sala Gate, Bachuma Gate
      • Tsavo West: Mtito Andei Gate, Tsavo River Gate, Chyulu Gate (near Amboseli National Park).


What are the different accommodation options in Tsavo? (lodges, camps, budget options in different areas)

Tsavo offers a variety of accommodation to suit different preferences and budgets:

  • Luxury Lodges:
    • Tsavo East: Sarova Salt Lick Game Lodge (unique elevated design), Ashnil Aruba Lodge
    • Tsavo West: Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge, Finch Hattons Camp

Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge

  • Mid-Range Camps & Lodges:
    • Tsavo East: Voi Wildlife Lodge, Voi Safari Lodge.
    • Tsavo West: Severin Safari Camp, Ngulia Safari Lodge.

Voi Wildlife Lodge

  • Budget Options:
    • Tsavo East: Public campsites, Manyatta Camp
    • Tsavo West: Public campsites, Camp Ndololo


Is it safe to go on safari in Tsavo National Park?

Generally, yes, going on safari in Tsavo National Park is considered safe when you follow these guidelines:

  • Reputable Operators: Choose established tour operators and lodges with experienced guides who prioritize safety.
  • Secure Accommodations: Lodges and camps within the park have security measures in place to protect against wildlife encounters.
  • Follow Guide Instructions: Listen carefully to your guide’s instructions during game drives, bush walks, and other activities.
  • Common Sense: Be aware of your surroundings, don’t approach wild animals, and secure your belongings at all times.


What are the park entrance fees and any additional costs I should be aware of?

Here’s a breakdown of costs for Tsavo National Park:

  • Park Entrance Fees: Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) sets park fees. These can change, so it’s best to check their official website ( for the latest pricing. Fees are typically per person, per day.
  • Conservation Fees vs. Park Fees: Some lodges might mention “conservation fees”. These can be included in your overall package or sometimes charged separately on top of the KWS park entrance fee.
  • Activities: Additional costs may include guided walks, night game drives (if allowed in your area), or specific park experiences like visiting Mzima Springs.

Tips by Bongo Safari:

  • Inquire about pricing early: Your tour operator or lodge should provide a clear breakdown of included and excluded costs.
  • Currency: Fees are often listed in USD but can be paid in Kenyan shillings.


What do you wear to Tsavo? / What to Pack for a Safari in Tsavo National Park

Here’s a packing checklist for Tsavo:


  • Neutral colors: Khaki, green, brown, beige (avoid bright colors that might startle animals)
  • Light, breathable fabrics: Mornings/evenings can be chilly but it warms up
  • Layers: T-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, fleece, light jacket
  • Comfortable pants/shorts
  • Hat with a wide brim for sun protection
  • Good walking shoes/hiking boots
  • Swimwear (if your lodge has a pool)


  • Sunscreen & insect repellent
  • Sunglasses
  • Binoculars
  • Camera with zoom lens & extra batteries
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Basic first-aid kit
  • Personal toiletries & medications
  • Daypack


How far is Tsavo West from Amboseli?

The distance between Tsavo West National Park and Amboseli National Park is 71.7 km along C103 according to Google Maps. It should take about 1 hour and 35 minutes to drive.

You can see the directions here.


How do I get from Nairobi to Tsavo?

You have two main options to reach Tsavo National Park from Nairobi:

  • Driving:
    • Tsavo East: Accessible via Mombasa Road, approximately a 3-4 hour drive.
    • Tsavo West: Can be reached via Mombasa Road as well, with a slightly shorter drive of about 2-3 hours.
    • Road Conditions: Some sections can be rough, and a 4×4 might be advantageous, depending on the season and your specific route.
  • Flying:
    • This is the quickest and most convenient way to reach Tsavo. Flights depart from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport to various airstrips within the park.
    • Flight Time: Around 1 hour.
    • Your Lodge/Tour Operator: They usually arrange the flights as part of your safari package with transfers from the airstrip to your accommodation.

Is there an airstrip in Tsavo East?

Yes, Tsavo East has several airstrips serving different lodges and camps:

  • Sarova Airstrip
  • Kamboyo Airstrip
  • Voi Airstrip
  • Bachuma Airstrip
  • Aruba Airstrip


How do I get to Tsavo West?

You have a few choices for reaching Tsavo West National Park:

  • Driving:
    • From Nairobi: Take the Mombasa Road, approximately a 6-7 hour drive depending on traffic and your specific destination within the park.
    • From Mombasa: A much shorter drive of about 2-3 hours, also along Mombasa Road.
    • Road Conditions: The main road is paved, but be aware that some access roads within the park might be unpaved and rougher.
  • Flying:
    • Flights from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport land at airstrips within Tsavo West, like Kilaguni, Finch Hattons, or Ziwani.
    • Flight Time: Roughly an hour.
    • Tour Operators/Lodges: They often organize flights and transfers for you.
  • Train:
    • While less common for safaris, there is a train service from both Nairobi and Mombasa to the Mtito Andei Station, which is near Tsavo West’s Mtito Andei Gate.

How do I get from Mombasa to Tsavo National Park?

Here are your best options:

  • Driving: The most common and flexible way. Mombasa Road offers a direct route to both Tsavo East and Tsavo West.
    • Tsavo East: About a 3-4 hour drive.
    • Tsavo West: Even closer, approximately 2-3 hours.
  • Train: The train from Mombasa stops at both the Voi Station (for Tsavo East access) and the Mtito Andei Station (for Tsavo West). Lodges can arrange pickup from these stations.
  • Flights: While possible to fly to Tsavo’s airstrips from Mombasa’s Moi International Airport, it’s less common and usually involves connecting flights via Nairobi. This would generally only be arranged for luxury fly-in safaris.


Wildlife viewing questions in Tsavo

What are some unique wildlife experiences in Tsavo that I might not find elsewhere? (elephant mud wallows, specific bird species, etc.)

Tsavo boasts several special wildlife encounters you might not have in other parks:

  • Red Elephants: The park’s elephants famously sport a reddish hue from dusting themselves with the red, iron-rich soil. This makes for unique and striking photographs.
  • Mzima Springs: Tsavo West’s crystal-clear natural springs offer underwater viewing platforms to see hippos, crocodiles, and fish in their natural habitat.
  • Diverse Landscapes = Diverse Birds: Tsavo’s mix of savanna, volcanic features, and springs draws over 500 bird species, including raptors, colorful rollers, and many others.
  • Unusual Antelope Species: Chances to spot the lanky gerenuk (standing on hind legs to browse), the smaller lesser kudu, and other species less commonly seen elsewhere in Kenya.


Is Tsavo National Park a good place to see lions? What about cheetahs or rhinos?

Here’s a breakdown of your chances of seeing the iconic predators and rhinos in Tsavo:

  • Lions: Yes, Tsavo has a decent lion population. Sightings are possible, though their concentration might not be as high as in parks like the Maasai Mara.
  • Cheetahs: Cheetahs are present in Tsavo, particularly in the open plains of Tsavo East. You may get lucky with a sighting, but they can be more elusive than lions.
  • Rhinos: Sadly, rhinos are less common in Tsavo. There are smaller protected populations within the park, but encounters are a rarer treat.


How are safaris conducted in Tsavo? (4×4 vehicles, open-air jeeps, guided tours)

Safaris in Tsavo typically follow this format:

  • Vehicles: Open-sided 4x4s are standard, offering excellent visibility for wildlife spotting. Some lodges might use closed 4x4s with pop-up roofs.
  • Guided Tours: The vast majority of safaris are fully guided by experienced and knowledgeable drivers who understand the park, the wildlife, and safety protocols.
  • Game Drives: The primary activity, usually conducted in the morning and late afternoon when animals are most active.
  • Additional Activities: Some lodges may offer:
    • Night Game Drives: Allowed in certain zones of Tsavo West to look for nocturnal species.
    • Guided Walks: For a different perspective on smaller details of the ecosystem.


Can I go on a night safari in Tsavo National Park?

Yes, but with a caveat: Night game drives are permitted in specific areas of Tsavo West, but not in Tsavo East. Lodges and camps located within zones allowing night drives will usually offer this activity.

What you might see: Night drives offer a chance to spot nocturnal creatures like bush babies, genets, aardvarks, owls, and potentially even predators like leopards or hyenas on the hunt.


Are there still lions in Tsavo?

Yes, both Tsavo East and Tsavo West have lion populations. However, it’s important to remember that wildlife sightings are never guaranteed. Factors like the vastness of Tsavo and the time of year can influence your chances of encountering lions.


What animals are in Tsavo Park?

Tsavo National Park boasts incredible wildlife diversity. Here’s a glimpse:

  • Big & Iconic:
    • Elephants (famous for their red coloration)
    • Lions
    • Leopards
    • Cheetahs
    • Cape Buffalo
    • Rhinos (smaller populations, sightings less common)
  • Diverse Antelopes:
    • Giraffes
    • Zebras
    • Eland
    • Oryx
    • Impalas
    • Lesser Kudu
    • Gerenuk
  • Other Predators:
    • Spotted Hyenas
    • Wild Dogs (if you’re lucky)
    • Jackals
  • Primates: Baboons, Vervet Monkeys
  • Amazing Birdlife: Over 500 species, including raptors, hornbills, weavers, and many more.
  • Smaller Wonders: Mongooses, dik-diks, reptiles, countless fascinating insects


Why are Tsavo lions so aggressive?

While the Tsavo man-eaters gained a fearsome reputation, it’s important to understand the context of their behavior:

  • Historical Incident: The most aggressive attacks occurred during the construction of the railway in the late 1890s, a highly unusual and disruptive situation for the lions.
  • Theories: Several factors may have contributed to the lions’ atypical behavior:
    • Dental Issues: One of the lions had a damaged tooth, potentially making it difficult to hunt normal prey and driving desperation.
    • Prey Scarcity: A rinderpest outbreak may have decimated usual prey animals, creating abnormal circumstances.
    • Disruption: The construction and presence of workers may have disrupted the lions’ territory and behaviors.
  • Not Representative: Modern lions in Tsavo do not display inherent aggression like those man-eaters of the past.


Are Tsavo lions bigger?

Tsavo lions are notable for the fact that males often lack the full mane typical of lions in other areas. This is believed to be an adaptation to the hotter climate of the Tsavo region. In terms of overall size, they fall within the normal range for African lions.

How many humans did the Tsavo lions eat?

The exact number of victims of the Tsavo man-eaters is disputed. Estimates vary wildly, with some claiming as many as 135 deaths. However, more recent studies suggest the number may have been significantly lower, closer to 28-31.


What animals are in Tsavo park?

I’d be glad to provide a breakdown of the incredible wildlife you might find in Tsavo National Park:


  • Elephants: Famous for their red coloration from the local soil.
  • Predators: Lions, leopards, cheetahs, spotted hyenas, jackals, and occasionally wild dogs.
  • Diverse Antelopes: Giraffes, zebras, eland, oryx, gazelles, lesser kudu, gerenuk, and more.
  • Buffalo: Large herds present.
  • Rhinos: Protected populations exist, but sightings are less common.
  • Primates: Baboons and vervet monkeys.
  • Smaller Creatures: Mongooses, dik-diks, hares.


  • Over 500 species recorded!
  • Raptors: Eagles, hawks, vultures.
  • Striking Birds: Hornbills, rollers, weavers, kingfishers, and many others.

Reptiles & Others:

  • Crocodiles and hippos (especially around Mzima Springs)
  • Snakes and lizards
  • Fascinating insects and invertebrates


Are there crocodiles in Tsavo?

Yes, you’ll find crocodiles in Tsavo National Park. They are mainly concentrated in these areas:

  • Mzima Springs: Tsavo West’s famous crystal-clear springs are home to a sizable crocodile population, and you can even observe them from underwater viewing platforms.
  • Galana River: This major river flows through Tsavo East and provides habitat for crocodiles.
  • Other Water Sources: Smaller watering holes and dams within the park might also have resident crocodiles.


How many lions are in Tsavo West?

It’s difficult to get a precise number, as lion populations fluctuate. However, estimates suggest that Tsavo West has a healthy lion population within the range of several hundred individuals.


What are the Big 5 in Tsavo National Park?

The Big 5 refers to the animals traditionally considered the most difficult or dangerous for hunters to pursue on foot. They are:

  1. Lion: Present throughout Tsavo.
  2. Leopard: Also found across both sections of the park, although sightings require some luck.
  3. Elephant: Abundant in Tsavo, and especially noted for their reddish coloration.
  4. Rhinoceros: While smaller protected populations exist within Tsavo, rhino sightings are rarer than in other Kenyan parks.
  5. Buffalo: Large herds thrive in Tsavo.

Tsavo offers excellent opportunities to see 4 out of the Big 5!


Activities and Experiences In Tsavo National Park


Are there any guided walks or hikes offered in Tsavo?

Yes, but the availability depends on your chosen lodge or camp and the specific area you’re visiting:

  • Lodge-based Walks: Many lodges, especially those located in scenic spots or private conservancies, offer shorter guided walks. These focus on the smaller details of the ecosystem: plants, insects, tracks, and signs of animal activity.
  • Longer Hikes: Some areas within Tsavo might allow longer, multi-hour hikes. These would usually need to be arranged in advance with the park authorities and accompanied by armed rangers for safety.
  • Safety First: It’s crucial to always go on guided walks within Tsavo. Don’t venture out hiking alone due to the presence of wild animals.


Can I visit any historical or cultural sites within Tsavo National Park?

While Tsavo’s primary draw is wildlife, it holds some historical and cultural points of interest:

  • Man-Eater Sites: If you’re interested in the notorious Tsavo lions, you can visit locations related to the events like the remnants of camps or the Tsavo River bridge.
  • WWI Battlefields: Parts of Tsavo saw skirmishes during World War I. Some sites and markers related to this history exist.
  • Local Communities: While less focused within the park, Tsavo is adjacent to communities of the Taita and Taveta people. Some lodges may offer opportunities to learn about their culture and traditions.


Is Tsavo a good destination for birdwatching?

Absolutely! Tsavo is a paradise for bird enthusiasts. Here’s why:

  • Diversity: Over 500 bird species recorded, making it one of Kenya’s top birding destinations.
  • Varied Habitats: The mix of savanna, woodlands, springs, and volcanic features attracts a wide range of birdlife.
  • Raptors: Excellent area to see eagles, hawks, falcons, and other birds of prey.
  • Colorful Residents: Rollers, hornbills, kingfishers, weavers, and many more add vibrant splashes of color.
  • Migratory Seasons: November to April brings even more species with the arrival of migratory birds.

Can I combine a Tsavo safari with other parks or destinations in Kenya? Amboseli, Mombasa among others

Tsavo & Amboseli:

  • Proximity: These parks are relatively close, making for easy travel between them.
  • Contrasting Landscapes: Tsavo’s vastness complements Amboseli’s iconic views of Mount Kilimanjaro.
  • Wildlife: Amboseli is famous for its huge elephant herds, offering an excellent pairing with Tsavo’s diverse wildlife.

Tsavo & Mombasa/Coastal Beaches:

  • Safari & Sand: Unwind after your adventurous safari with a relaxing beach stay on Kenya’s beautiful coast.
  • Options: Choose from the vibrant Diani Beach, quieter spots further south, or combine with a historical visit to Mombasa City.

Tsavo & Other Parks:

  • Northern Kenya: For the more adventurous, combine Tsavo with the arid landscapes and unique wildlife of Samburu, Laikipia, or other northern parks. This usually involves longer domestic flights.
  • Maasai Mara: While less common due to distance, you could combine Tsavo with the renowned Maasai Mara for the ultimate wildlife extravaganza, especially if you’re interested in the Great Migration.

Tips for Planning Combinations:

  • Time: Ensure you have enough time to enjoy each destination. Don’t try to squeeze too much into a short trip.
  • Travel Logistics: Consider distances, road conditions, and the option of using domestic flights to save time.
  • Tour Operators: Many tour operators offer packages combining Tsavo with other popular destinations, making the planning easier for you.


What is unique about Tsavo West National Park?

  • Volcanic Landscapes: Tsavo West features fascinating lava flows, cinder cones, and craters, including the striking Shetani Lava Flows. This adds a dramatic and distinct feel compared to many other savanna parks.
  • Mzima Springs: These crystal-clear natural springs are an oasis within the park. They offer amazing underwater viewing of hippos, crocodiles, and fish, a truly special experience.
  • Greener Scenery: With a bit more rainfall than Tsavo East, parts of Tsavo West boast lusher vegetation, woodlands, and a hilly feel in certain areas.
  • Man-Eaters History: While a long-ago event, Tsavo West is the setting for the infamous Tsavo lion attacks, adding a historical layer to the park.


Is Tsavo National Park worth it?

Definitely! Tsavo offers a unique and rewarding safari experience:

  • Less Crowded: Compared to parks like the Maasai Mara, Tsavo often feels more remote and tranquil, especially outside peak seasons.
  • Diverse Wildlife: From its famous red elephants to predators, antelopes, and incredible birdlife, Tsavo boasts plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities.
  • Unique Landscapes: The combination of open savanna, volcanic formations, and the Mzima Springs creates a picturesque and varied safari backdrop.
  • Value: Tsavo safaris can sometimes be slightly more affordable than more popular destinations.


What do you wear to Tsavo?

Here’s a packing checklist for Tsavo:


  • Neutral colors: Khaki, green, brown, beige (avoid bright colors that might startle animals)
  • Light, breathable fabrics: Mornings/evenings can be chilly but it warms up
  • Layers: T-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, fleece, light jacket
  • Comfortable pants/shorts
  • Hat with a wide brim for sun protection
  • Good walking shoes/hiking boots
  • Swimwear (if your lodge has a pool)


  • Sunscreen & insect repellent
  • Sunglasses
  • Binoculars
  • Camera with zoom lens & extra batteries
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Basic first-aid kit
  • Personal toiletries & medications
  • Daypack

Comparison and Specific Interests about Tsavo:



How does Tsavo compare to the Maasai Mara in terms of wildlife viewing?

Both Tsavo and Maasai Mara offer fantastic wildlife viewing, but with some key differences:

  • Animal Density: The Maasai Mara generally boasts a higher concentration of wildlife, especially big herds of wildebeest and zebras. This can mean easier animal spotting.
  • Iconic Migration: If witnessing the vast herds and dramatic river crossings of the Great Migration is your top priority, the Maasai Mara is the undisputed champion.
  • Unique Species: Tsavo has the potential for sightings of interesting species less common in the Mara, like gerenuk, lesser kudu, and a fascinating array of birdlife.
  • Elephants: Tsavo is famous for its large elephant herds, often adorned with a reddish hue from the local soil.
  • Predator Action: Both parks have healthy predator populations, but sightings are always a matter of luck and timing in either location.


Is Tsavo a good safari destination for families with children?

Yes, Tsavo can be a great family safari destination. Here’s why:

  • Family-Friendly Lodges: Several lodges cater specifically to families, with child-friendly pools, activities, and sometimes even babysitting services.
  • Diverse Wildlife: The sheer variety of animals, especially the iconic elephants, will captivate children of all ages.
  • Educational Opportunities: Lodges often offer nature walks and talks where children can learn about the bush and wildlife in a fun way.
  • Safety: While safety precautions should always be taken, Tsavo is considered a safe park for family safaris when staying in lodges and going on guided activities.

Tips for planning a Tsavo family safari:

  • Age Considerations: Discuss any age restrictions with your chosen lodge or tour operator.
  • Tailored Activities: Choose a lodge with family-oriented activities and shorter game drives to maintain engagement.
  • Downtime: Factor in relaxing time at the pool or engaging in kid-focused activities offered by the lodge.


Are there any hot air balloon safaris offered in Tsavo?

Unfortunately, hot-air balloon safaris are generally not offered within Tsavo National Park. This restriction is primarily due to airspace regulations and the potential disturbance to wildlife.


Is Tsavo a good place to see [specific animal]?

Here’s a quick breakdown for some popular species:

  • Elephants: Excellent! Tsavo is famous for its large elephant herds, often with a distinctive reddish hue. You’re highly likely to see plenty.
  • Lions: Good! Tsavo has a healthy lion population. While sightings aren’t guaranteed, your chances are decent, especially with a knowledgeable guide.
  • Lesser-known species: This is where Tsavo can shine! Here are some examples:
    • Gerenuk: Tsavo offers some of your best chances to see these unusual long-necked antelopes.
    • Lesser Kudu: Another antelope more easily found in Tsavo than in many other parks.
    • Birdlife: Tsavo is a birder’s paradise with over 500 species. Tell me your favorites, and I can confirm if they’re likely sightings.


Are there specific areas within Tsavo National Park known for certain wildlife sightings? (Yatta Plateau, Chyulu Hills)

Definitely! Here’s where to focus within Tsavo:

  • Yatta Plateau (Tsavo East):
    • Elephants: Congregations gather along this area’s water sources.
    • Predators: The plateau attracts lions, leopards, and other predators who follow the herds.
  • Chyulu Hills (Tsavo West):
    • Diverse Scenery: The greener, hillier landscape here can offer a change of pace with different wildlife possibilities.
    • Rhinos: While sightings are never guaranteed, Chyulu Hills holds a small protected rhino population.
  • Mzima Springs (Tsavo West):
    • Hippos and Crocodiles: Guaranteed sightings at these crystal-clear springs.
    • Fish & Birds: The underwater viewing platforms offer fascinating glimpses of fish and aquatic birds.
  • Overall: Water sources like rivers and watering holes are always good places to focus your game drives, regardless of the specific area you’re in.


What is the difference between Amboseli and Tsavo?

Here’s a quick comparison:

  • Scenery:
    • Amboseli: Famous for its breathtaking views of Mount Kilimanjaro, with open plains and swamps.
    • Tsavo: Features more diversity – vast savannas, volcanic landscapes (Tsavo West), and lusher areas around springs.
  • Wildlife:
    • Amboseli: Renowned for HUGE elephant herds and excellent birdwatching (especially for water birds).
    • Tsavo: Offers a broader range of wildlife, with its famous red elephants, diverse predators, and antelopes, plus excellent birdlife overall.
  • Size: Amboseli is significantly smaller than Tsavo National Park.
  • Experience:
    • Amboseli: Easier to navigate, focusing on the iconic Kilimanjaro views and elephant sightings.
    • Tsavo: Offers a greater sense of exploration and the potential to spot less common species due to its vastness and varied landscapes.


What is the difference between Tsavo and Masai Mara?

Here’s how these two heavyweights compare:

  • Great Migration: The Masai Mara is THE place to witness this spectacle, with its vast herds and dramatic river crossings. Tsavo doesn’t have this specific draw.
  • Animal Density: The Maasai Mara often has a higher concentration of animals, especially during the migration, potentially making sightings easier.
  • Landscape:
    • Maasai Mara: Quintessential African savanna with rolling grasslands and acacia trees.
    • Tsavo: More varied, with vast plains, volcanic features, natural springs, and the Yatta Plateau.
  • Reputation: The Maasai Mara is more widely known and considered a “must-do” safari. Tsavo has a slightly lower profile, often attracting those seeking a less-crowded experience.


Is Tsavo bigger than Maasai Mara?

Yes, Tsavo National Park is significantly larger than the Maasai Mara. Here’s the size comparison:

  • Tsavo: Approximately 22,812 square kilometers (combined Tsavo East and West).
  • Masai Mara: Approximately 1,510 square kilometers.


Planning and Booking a Tsavo Safari

How far in advance should I book my safari and accommodation in Tsavo?

Here’s a breakdown to ensure you get your ideal spot:

  • Peak Season (July – October, December-March): Book 6-12 months in advance, especially if you have specific lodges in mind. Popular camps and lodges fill up quickly!
  • Shoulder Seasons (May-June, Nov): You can sometimes snag deals with later bookings, but 3-6 months in advance is still recommended for the best selection.
  • Flexibility: If your dates are flexible, you might find good options even closer to your trip.
  • Package vs. Independent: Booking a complete safari package with a tour operator often gives you more flexibility if popular camps are filling up.

What should I pack for a Tsavo safari? (considering weather, sun protection, etc.)

Here’s your essential packing list:


  • Neutral colors: Khaki, green, brown, beige (avoid bright colors that might startle animals)
  • Light, breathable fabrics: Mornings/evenings can be chilly but it warms up
  • Layers: T-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, fleece, light jacket
  • Comfortable pants/shorts
  • Hat with a wide brim for sun protection
  • Good walking shoes/hiking boots
  • Swimwear (if your lodge has a pool)


  • Sunscreen (high SPF) & insect repellent
  • Sunglasses
  • Binoculars
  • Camera with zoom lens & extra batteries
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Basic first-aid kit
  • Personal toiletries & medications
  • Daypack

Weather Specific:

  • Warm layers for chilly early morning game drives.
  • Consider a light rain jacket, especially during shoulder seasons.

Do I need any vaccinations or visas before traveling to Tsavo National Park?

It’s crucial to check the latest requirements and consult with your doctor or a travel clinic:

  • Vaccinations:
    • Yellow Fever: May be required if traveling from or transiting through a Yellow Fever endemic country. Check the current list.
    • Routine Vaccinations: Ensure you’re up-to-date on Tetanus, Hepatitis A, Typhoid, etc.
    • Malaria: Tsavo is considered a malaria zone. Your doctor will advise on the best anti-malarial medication for you.
  • Visas: Most nationalities require a visa to enter Kenya. E-visas can be obtained in advance online (, or you can purchase one upon arrival. Double-check based on your specific passport.

What are some reputable safari tour companies for Tsavo?

Here are some well-established companies with a good track record for Tsavo safaris. It’s always best to get quotes and compare itineraries from a few:

  • Bongo Safari is the best safari company to book your Tsavo Safari

Factors to consider when choosing a tour company

  • Budget: Safaris range from budget-friendly to luxury.
  • Style: Do you prefer small groups, private tours, or camping vs. lodges?
  • Focus: Some specialize in birding, photography, or family safaris.

How much is a Tsavo National Park ticket?


Park entrance fees are set by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and can change, so it’s best to check their website for the most up-to-date pricing:

Here’s what to expect:

  • Fees are usually per person, per day.
  • Prices may vary slightly between Tsavo East and Tsavo West.
  • Citizens, residents, and non-residents have different pricing tiers.

Can I wear sneakers on safari?

Technically yes, you can wear sneakers, but they might not be the most ideal choice. Here’s why:

  • Comfort: Sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots will offer better support for long walks or uneven terrain you might encounter.

Hiking boots

  • Dust and Dirt: Sneakers, especially fabric ones, will show dust easily and can be harder to clean.
  • Protection: Closed-toe shoes offer better protection against thorns, pebbles, or any insect encounters.


If you only have sneakers:

  • Opt for closed-toe sneakers for a little more protection.
  • Prepare to get them dusty!


How much does it cost to go to Tsavo National Park?

The total cost of a Tsavo safari depends heavily on several factors:

  • Park Fees: See the KWS website for the latest entrance fee pricing.
  • Transport: Flights to Tsavo are pricier than driving, but save time.
  • Accommodation: Ranges from basic camping to ultra-luxury lodges.
  • Safari Length: Longer safaris increase the overall cost.
  • Activities: Guided walks, night drives, or unique experiences add cost.
  • Extras: Tips for guides, personal expenses, and any required visas or vaccinations.


You can also check our Bongo Safari itineraries here.

Tsavo East and Tsavo West Safari Tour Package 3 Days

Tsavo East and Amboseli Safari 3 Days Tour Package

30 Days Kenya and Tanzania Safari Package

Tsavo East and Taita Hills Safari package for 3 days

4 Days Masai Mara Safari package

Masai Mara Safari Package 3 Days

Amboseli and Tsavo East Safari Tour Package

2 Days Tsavo East Safari

2 Days Tsavo East and Tsavo West Safari Kenya

3 Days Tsavo East and Taita Saltlick safari

7 Days Kenya wild Safari

7 Days Kenya Safari where you can enjoy yourself for a week

7 Days Kenya Safari Tour Package

4 Days Amboseli Tsavo Safari in Kenya

5 days Tsavo East and Tsavo West Safari

5 days Amboseli and Masai Mara Safari

12 Days Safari in Kenya Package

4 Days Masai Mara Air Safari

Masai Mara Safari 5 days with visits in Lake Nakuru and Naivasha

4 days Masai Mara Safari From Kisumu to Lake Nakuru

3 days  Masai Mara safari from kisumu

5 days Amboseli Masai Mara Safari Kenya

5 Days masai mara and amboseli safari Kenya

4 days Amboseli and Tsavo safari Kenya

3 Days Tsavo East and Taita Hills Safari Kenya

5 days Amboseli and Tsavo safari

2 Days Tsavo East Safari from Mombasa

2 Days Tsavo East and Tsavo West Safari Kenya

3 Days Masai Mara Safari Tours Kenya

2 Days Saltlick Taita Hills Safari Kenya

2 Days Tsavo East Safari From Mombasa

Maasai Village Visit in Kenya

4 Days Cheap Masai Mara Safari Kenya

Wasini Island Tours & Excursions for 2024

Mombasa City Kenya Tour

3 Days Mombasa to Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Park Safari

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