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Introduction - Road - Park & Map - Places/Things to see - Pictures - Park fact - Wildlife - Fees - Climate - Camping - Lodges

Tsavo East National Park, covering an area of about 11,747 sq. km, is a vast, flat, monotonous and semi-arid area lying equidistant between Nairobi and Mombasa and located at the northern side of the main Mombasa-Nairobi highway, opposite to Tsavo West National Park.

Despite the fact that mountains are absent in the park and that the area is less attractive than Tsavo West, Tsavo East is still one of the last remaining of wilderness and biodiversity strongholds on Earth and it worth a visit.

The northern part (above Galana river) is usually closed to the public and most interesting places are all located on the southern part of the park.

The park is a must for professional photographers for its landscapes, its lighting and is famous for its large herds of big mammals (such as elephants, buffalos and lions).

Tsavo East road map
How to get there :
From Nairobi, take the Mombasa Highway (A109) direction Voi/Mombasa and enter at Mtito Andei gate, Voi gate or Manyani gate.
Similarly, from Mombasa, take direction Voi/Nairobi and enter at Bachuma gate, Voi gate or Manyani gate.
From Malindi, take the western road (C103) and enter in the park via Sala gate.
Distance Nairobi-Mtito Andei : 233 km - Mtito Andei-Voi : 96 km - Voi-Mombasa : 153 km.

The Yatta plateau, flat topped lava ridge, runs along the western boundary of the park and the Mudanda rock is a natural pond where hundreds of elephants usually come to drink and take dust baths.

This vast dry area, soaked by many seasonal rivers, has only two permanent rivers. The Galana river, merge of the Athi and Tsavo rivers, is the principal river of the park and both the Lugard's falls and the Crocodile point worth a visit. The Voi river is an enchanting forest gallery rich in wildlife and the Kanderi swamps and the Aruba dam are attracting many animals.

Tsavo East is a true wilderness and devastatingly beautiful and commitment from park authorities to preserve and manage this last piece of the wildlife begin to take fruit as the quantities of black rhinoceros and elephants, all decimated by the poachers in the last 20 years, increase in numbersÖ

The park has also an important history : first, for its cruel "Man-Eaters of Tsavo" story and secondly, for being a major battle field in WWI where British and German troops battled for territory.
 TSAVO EAST NAT. PARK      Flash (full size) --- GIF (full Size)
Flash Tip - Click left in the map to zoom or to print


 YATTA PLATEAU :   This impressive lava flow, one of the largest and longest of the world (300 km long and 10 km wide), is lying along the Athi river. The road starting from Mtito Andei gate pass over the plateau to offer splendid views across this vast arena of plains fringed by riverine forests. The road going from Sala gate to Manyaki gate has splendid views on the Yatta escarpment. The plateau is a paradise for ornithologists and sundowner lovers. It was formed 11-13.6 millions years ago by a stream of lava flow of phonolite finding its way into an ancient river valley. Since, the surrounding land was lowered by erosion leaving the lava standing up as a small escarpment.

 MUDANDA ROCK :   Located near Voi and Manyaki gates, the Mudanda rock is one of the great spectacle of the park. This massive rock, which emerges from the plain, is 1.6 km long, 20 m high and 100 m wide (L:1 mile, H: 66 ft., W: 328 ft.). Perfect vantage point, the rock is famous for its photo opportunities as it offers unique endless panoramic views across Tsavo East and Tsavo National Parks and it is a safe place to picture hundreds of elephants and buffalos refreshing themselves up at a natural pond, located at its base, on the eastern side. On the western side, you can climb to the top through a footpath and a carved stone stair.

 WILDLIFE IN THE PARK :   Despite the large size of the park, there is a great concentration of wildlife (specially during dry season) near rivers, dams and swampy areas. The park is internationally known for its large herds of red-dusty elephants wallowing in water of Galana rivers and other permanent rivers. Vast groups of others mammals visiting ponds and waterholes are buffalo, zebra, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, waterbuck and giraffe. Gazelles and antelopes, from the dik-dik to the oryx, are numerous. Lions are abundant and are often spotted at Kanderi swamps and Aruba dam. Note the presence of the rare and critically endangered hirola (Hunter's hartebeest) which has been reintroduced in the park; and the lesser kudu living in the dry bushes of the Galana river, one of the Kenya's most beautiful antelopes - See full list of wildlife seen in the park - Print a checklist for your next safari !!

 ARUBA DAM :   Located on the northern side of Voi river, the dam is very close to Voi gate. This 85 hectares artificial dam, built in 1952 by the park authorities to provide wildlife with a reserve of water during dry seasons, holds water throughout the year. The Aruba dam is a perfect place to get refreshment in the bar of the Aruba lodge while watching water birds, large mammals (elephants, buffalos, lions) and gazelles/antelopes drinking in the dam. There is also possibility to shop at the local craft in the Aruba lodge. Possibility to camp in the lodge.

 KANDERI SWAMPS :   Very close from Voi gate, Kanderi swamps are home to a profusion of wildlife as it is one of the two drinking point (with Aruba dam) which provides fresh water throughout the year. Like an oasis attracting many animals, large groups of mammals as well as water birds can be observed in the swampy area. Note that a public campsite known as Ndololo campsite is located near the swamps and is one of the best camping place of the park.

 GALANA RIVER :   The Tsavo and Athi rivers join together to form the Galana river, which flows eastwards to the Indian Ocean (Malindi). This permanent river is bordered by dense riverine forest (Acacia elatior and Doum Palm Hyphaene Compressa) and dry shrub (Suaeda Monoica) cover. The road going from Voi gate to Sala gate and following the Galana river is one of the best circuit of the park as you will see the Lugards falls and the Crocodile point and see .

 LUGARD'S FALLS :  Named after the Britain's first proconsul of East Africa, Captain Lugard, the Lugard's falls are in fact rapids where Galana river disappears into a rocky gorge so narrow at one part that it is possible to stand astride the cleft with the falls below. The beauty of the site are the multicolours rocks carved over centuries by the water and taking fantastic shapes. The rapids, becoming ravaging floods during the rain seasons, plunge into a large pool below where giant crocodiles are resting and lying onto sandbanks. There is a parking area at the falls and visitors can either climb around the eroded rocks or walk down the river to view the rapids. Note that 1 km after the falls, is the Crocodile point, a large pool populated by crocodiles, hippopotamus and buffalos.

 MAN-EATERS OF TSAVO :   In 1895, the construction of railway going from Monbasa to Kampala (Uganda) began. It took 8 years and it required 31,900 Indian workers to complete this mammoth work. In the summer of 1898, the construction of the railway suddenly stopped at the Tsavo river area as lion's attacks took place along a 80 mile stretch of railroad between Voi and Kima. It has been estimated than 28 people were killed but many believed that at least 100 peoples were victims of the devil lions. Hysteria built to a such pitch that on 1st December 1898, thousands of workers threw themselves across the railroad tracks, interrupting work indefinitely. J.H. Patterson, British Chief engineer directing the construction of the bridge over the Tsavo river, attempted night after night to catch the maneless lions by creating special traps, using poison and maintaining 24-hours watch. While most workers had fled to the coast, Patterson fired four shot on the night of December 10, killing the first man-eater lion. It measured nine feet, eight inches (3 m) from nose to tip of tail and it took eight men to carry the carcass back to camp. They also notice that the lion had a broken lower canine with an exposed root. After the first lion was shot, no more human were killed. Eighteen nights later, on December 29, he killed the second man-eater lion and life returned to the rail camps. Patterson was free to turn his attention and skills to the railroad and his thousands of men could once again work and sleep in the open.
No one knows why an animal can become a man-eater. Some believe that the dead workers left along the railroad gave an opportunity to become accustomed to human flesh. The two maneless lions are in the Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago, Illinois) as Patterson sold to the museum the lion skins and skulls for the 5,000 USD. The story f J.H. Patterson continues to capture the imagination today and has been made into a motion picture twice: Bwana Devil in 1952 and The Ghost and the Darkness in 1996.

Sources :
"The End of the Game" by Peter Hill Beard (1961) - Chronicle Books.
"The Man-eaters of Tsavo" by Lt. Col. Patterson (1996) Pocket Books, N.Y.
2002 The Field Museum, www.fieldmuseum.org - Man-eaters of the Field Museum
Other resources :
See the original book + 120 pictures (4 Mb)
See the original book with one image
See all resources available about Tsavo man-eaters

 W.W.I BATTLE FIELD :  In 1914, the first World war was developing in the trenches and on the battlefields of Western European. Neither British and German colonists, too busy to develop their new territories, particularly wanted any involvement in the war. However, events culminating in the Battle of Tanga in November 1914d threw the opposing British and German armies into war. "The Battle of the Bush" began.
The German force of the Schutztruppe, led by General von Lettow-Vortbeck, invaded most British East Africa (now Kenya) from the south (Tanzania) and set up strike posts on the numerous rocky outcrops of Tsavo East and West. German trained special troops, composed of two European and height African soldiers, to attack the Uganda Railway. Between March and May 1915, 32 trains and 9 bridges were blown up by the German.
The British troops finally succeeded in repelling the German invaders in March 1916. Thereafter started one of the most cunning games of cat and mouse as Lettow-Vorbeck, knowing that German troops could never succeded the battle, led them on a 4,000 miles chase across Africa. Lettow-Vorbeck surrendered on November 25th, 1918 in Northern Rodhesia after German's defeat in Europe.

Sources :
"Discovery Guide " by Taita Discovery Centre

 Visit our Tsavo West National Park page for more information regarding this park.
 TAITA HILLS (and other private ranches) :
 Visit our Tsavo West National Park page for more information regarding the Taita Hills and private ranches found in this area.

 CHYULU NATIONAL PARK (CHYULU HILLS) :  The Chyulu National Park, located at only 190 km of Nairobi, is dominated by the Chyulu hills (1,510 m - 4,954 ft.). Of a relatively recent volcanic origin, the hills are composed of ash cones and craters and, despite they hold no permanent surface water, feed many permanent fresh water sources in the Tsavo West National Park, notably Mzima springs and the Tsavo and Galana rivers, by filtering rainfall percolating through the porous sponge-like rock. The hills, undisturbed and shelter of indigenous vegetation, such montane forest and low forest areas on its eastern flank. The western half is part of the West Chyulu Game Conservation area, owned by several Masai group ranches.
 South Kitui National Reserve is a dry and arid area located just above the Tsavo East National Park. The reserve is usually close to the public and there is not much to see in the reserve. .

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 Altitude : 150 - 1,200 m (492 - 3,937 ft.)
 Area : 11,747 km²
 Localisation : 333 km East from Nairobi - District of Taita (Coast Province)
 Entrances : The park has four main entrances (Manyani, Voi, Mtito Andei and Sala gates) and two secondary entrances (Buchuma and Ithumba gates) and 19 airstrips.
 Open : Daily from 6.00 am to 7.00 pm. No entry is allowed on foot and visitors will not be allowed in the park after 6.15 pm.
 Historic : Opened in April 1948. Drought in the 60s. Poaching in the 70s and 80s. Conservation management in the 90s.
 The Warden : The Warden, Tsavo East National Park. P.O. Box 14, Voi - Kenya.
Tel: +254 (0)43-30049 - Email:tenp@africaonline.co.ke.
 Attractions :
   o Yatta Plateau - one the world's largest and longest lava flow (300 km long).
   o Lugards Falls/Galana River - Easy access to the rapids and possibility to spot majestic landscapes along the river.
   o Mudanda Rock is an outcrop rock of 1.6 km long with a large dam at its base. There is possibility to walk at the top of the rock, enjoy the cool breeze and watch wildlife drinking in the dam.
   o Aruba Dam - built in 1952 across the Voi river, this dam attracts many bird species and migratory species.
   o Large herd of red elephants, black rhinoceros, crocodiles and ostriches.
   o Camel safaris and river fishing.

 WILDLIFE/VEGETATION  --> Just click on the name to see snapshots and a fact sheet of the animal...
!! Print a checklist for your next safari !!
Antelopes and gazelles (per alphabetic order) :
Bushbuck - Dik-dik (Guentherís) - Dik-dik (Kirk's) - Duiker (Blue) - Duiker (Common) - Eland - Gazelle (Grantís) - Gerenuk - Hartebeest (Coke's) - Hartebeest (Hunterís) - Impala - Klipspringer - Kudu (lesser) - Oryx (Fringe-eared) - Steinbok - Suni - Waterbuck (Common) -
Other ungulates and mammals :
Buffalo (Cape) - Elephant (African Bush) - Giraffe (Maasai) - Hippopotamus - Hyrax (Bruceís) - Hyrax (Eastern Tree) - Hyrax (Rock) - Hyrax (Southern Tree) - Rhinoceros (Black) - Warthog (Common) - Warthog (Desert) - Zebra (Common) - Zebra (Grevyís) -
Carnivores :
Aardwolf - Caracal - Cat (African Wild) - Cheetah - Civet (African palm-) - Civet (African) - Dog (Hunting) - Fox (Bat-eared) - Genet (Large-spotted) - Genet (Small-spotted) - Hyena (Spotted) - Hyena (Striped) - Jackal (Black-backed) - Jackal (Common) - Jackal (Side-striped) - Leopard - Lion - Mongoose (Banded) - Mongoose (Bushy-tailed) - Mongoose (Dwarf) - Mongoose (Grey) - Mongoose (Marsh) - Mongoose (Slender) - Mongoose (White-tailed) - Otter (Clawless) - Ratel - Serval - Zorilla -
Primates :
Baboon (Savannah) - Bushbaby (Lesser) - Galago (Large-eared greater) - Galago (Small-eared greater) - Monkey (Blue/Sykes/Diademed) - Monkey (Green Vervet) -
Others (rabbits, hares, insectivores) :
Aardvak - Pangolin (Temminckís ground) - Hare (Cape) - Hare (Spring) - Porcupine (Crested) -
Vegetation :
The open plains of the park are bushed grassland alternating with semi-arid acacia scrub and narrow woodland dominated by acacia. The vegetation is generally denser in the west where rainfall is higher than in the eastern side. There are also belts of riverine vegetation, along the permanent and seasonal water points and rivers, which caracterised by narrow fringe of woodland and thicket dominated by Acacia elatior, doum palm (Hyphaene compressa) and dry shrub (Suaeda monoica). Common shrubs here include species of Premna, bauhinia and sericocomopsis and scattered trees such as Delonix elata and Melia volkensii. Around the Yatta plateau, there is dense bushland with strands of baobab (Adansonia digitata). Finally, during the 1960's, the impact of fire and large elephants on vegetation was dramatic as 45,000 elephants converted 16,000 sq. km of dense Comniphora into grassland.

Smartcard is needed to enter.
Smarcards can be obtained and loaded at Voi gate.

Source : K.W.S. park tariffs
Adult resident - 500 Kshs
Children resident - 200 Kshs
Adult non resident - 23 US
Children non resident - 10 US

Less than 6 seat - 200 Kshs
6 to 12 seats - 500 Kshs

The weather in Tsavo East is warm and dry.
Temperature ranging from 20-40 oC, rainfall from 200mm-700mm per annum (the long rains fall between March and May and the short rains between October and December).

There is officially only one public campsite (offering water and latrines only), which is the Ndololo campsite located at 7 km from Voi gate. But nevertheless, in case of emergency, there is always to camp (with no facilities) near main gates of the park (or any other K.W.S. post) or find cheap accommodation at Voi town.

Finally, special or private campsites exist in a number of locations but availability, bookings and rates should be checked with the Warden or the K.W.S. Headquarter.
Unfortunately, there are no self-catering facilities in Tsavo East National Park

 LODGES, TENTED CAMPS & HOTELS (in/around the park) Report broken link - Keep me up-to-date
Voi Safari Lodge (known also as Ndololo Camp):  Booking/Contact - Visit their webpage
Kenya Safari Lodges & Hotels Ltd, Mt Kenya Rd Offlinks Rd, Mombasa. Tel: Mbsa +254 (0)41 471862 - Voi +254 (0)147 30019.
"Perched on the top of a cliff, Voi Safari lodge is uniquely designed to be a hinge like structure overlooking the Tsavo East plains extending as far as the Yatta plateau."

Red Elephant Safari Lodge :  Visit their webpage (German only)
"Red Elephant Safari Lodge" is situated near the Voi gate of Tsavo East National Park in the middle of the bush."

Westerveld Conservation Trust :  Booking/Contact - Visit their webpage
Flevolaan 34 1399 HG Muiderberg - The Netherlands
"The Westerveld Conservation Trust is a Netherlands-based foundation that strives to support the work of Peter Westerveld in Kenya, a man fully dedicated to wildlife preservation and rehydration of desert-to-be."

Galdessa Camp :  Booking - Contact - Visit their webpage
Mellifera bookings, P.O. Box 24397, Nairobi. Tel : +254 (0)20 574689.
Exclusive Classic Properties Ltd. P.O. Box 714, Village Market, Nairobi. Tel :(254-20)521074 or 520943

"Galdessa is a small eco-tourism up-market tented lodge in Kenya's largest park Tsavo East National Park."

Satao Camp Ltd :  Booking/Contact - Visit their webpage
Southern Cross Safaris, P.O. Box 90653, Mombasa, Tel: +254 (0)41 475074/5/6 or 471948/60/71
"Nestled amongst the trees overlooking a watering hole in the vast Tsavo East lies Satao tented camp, nesting among the Tamarind Trees overlooking the busy watering hole."

Tsavo Safari Camp :  Booking/Contact
Kilimanjaro Safari Club, P.O. Box 30139, Nairobi. Tel: Nbi +254 (0)20 338889 - Direct +254 (0)302 22459.
"No description, sorry..."

Patterson's Safari Camp :  Booking/Contact
P.O Box 49265, Nairobi. Tel: Nbi +254 (0)20 434389 or 4347239 - Mbsa +254 (0)41 471738.
"Patterson's Safari Camp is a beautiful tented camp on the banks of the Athi in Tsavo East and is located in the same area where Col. J. H. Patterson finally shot the two man eating lions in 1898."

Ngutuni Camp :  Booking/Contact
Tel: 0147-30720, 30710
"Ngutuni Lodge is conveniently situated, some 15 minutes from the Tsavo East National Park main gate and about half an hour from Tsavo West National Park and the Taita Hills Game Reserve."

Epiya Chapeyu Tented Camp :  Booking/Contact
Alphatauri Ltd, P.O. Box 63269, Nairobi 00619. Tel: +254 (0)20 3749796
"In the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro stands Amboseli Serena - one of Africa's finest safari lodges at Amboseli."

And also the Aruba Lodge , and the Tsavo Inn

Crocodile Tented Camp (near Sala gate)
We are still searching for contact, website and email. Sorry !!

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