KENYA, TSAVO EAST ~ TSAVO WEST ~ CHYULU HILLS NATIONAL PARKS
In depth guide to the seasons, animals, birds and wildlife habitats of the African safari region
of Tsavo and Chyulu Hills in Kenya.
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three reserves of Tsavo East, Tsavo
West and Chyulu Hills cover an enormous
tract of land in southern Kenya. The main Nairobi
to Mombasa road and railway splits Tsavo East
and West right down the middle, which neatly
cuts the parks into two.
Tsavo East is one of Kenya's oldest and largest
National Parks at the eastern edge of the
inland plateau. Here you find bushy grasslands
and rocky open plains alternating with semi-arid
acacia scrub and woodland, with the Galana
River cutting a green swathe across the park.
The seasonal Voi and Tiva rivers are important
to the northern and southern portions of the
park, as there is little other surface water.
Rock is a great spectacle of this park as this
outcrop is a water catchment area which feeds
a natural dam where hundreds of elephants come
to drink and bathe during the dry season. Views
are exceptional and it is a good place to sit
and watch game. Ancient volcanic activity is
evident at the Yatta Plateau - a long flat-topped
lava ridge on the western border of Tsavo East.
Tsavo West offers tremendous views and diverse
habitats ranging from mountains, river forests,
plains, lakes and wooded grassland. It is especially
attractive at the end of the rains when the
countryside turns green. Mzima Springs is pool
of natural spring water that attracts a lot
of game and there is even an underwater hippo-viewing
hide. Tsavo West is known for its 'Roaring Rocks',
which if climbed gives views usually only seen
by the eagles and buzzards that whirl around
The Chyulu Hills are a volcanic mountain range
pitted with volcanic cones and barren lava flows.
Surface water is rare, but nevertheless it is
an important water catchment area for Mombasa
and was gazetted in 1983 to protect this water
source. Weird cylindrical tunnels were formed
shortly after volcanic eruption and created
the longest lava tube in the world.
two Tsavo parks are popular for short visits
due to their proximity to the Mombasa coast,
but the Chyulu Hills are neglected on most tourist
itineraries. None of these parks get crowded.
The enormous size of these
parks with many remote corners, makes them important
for their biodiversity.
congregates around waterholes particularly in
the dry season. Game includes buffalo, zebra,
giraffe, oryx, lion and leopard. Tsavo East
sees herds of elephants up to a hundred strong
and they often appear more brown than grey from
the rich red Tsavo dust.
500 species of birds have been recorded in the
Tsavo West area, including many migratory birds
on their flight south.
The weather in Tsavo is pleasant for most of
Rainy Season: There are two
rainy seasons. The long rains are generally
from March through to May and the weather is
hot and humid. The short rains arrive in the
warm months of October to December.
Dry Season: January to March
is hot and dry and July to October is warm and
This is a malarial area
Tsavo West covers an area of 3,500miles²
(9,065km²) rising between 500-6,000ft (152-183
metres) above sea level
Tsavo East covers an area of 4,535miles²
(11,747km²) rising between 500-4,000ft
(152-1,219 metres) above sea level
Follow the links below to Kenya's premier wildlife regions
and game reserves
Reserve Index | Wildlife