Holidays

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

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Welcome to the wilderness. Tsavo West is one of Kenya’s larger national parks (9065 sq km), covering a huge variety of landscapes from swamps, natural springs and rocky peaks to extinct volcanic cones, rolling plains and sharp outcrops dusted with greenery.

 

 

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.

 

 

Mzima Springs

Mzima Springs are a series of four natural springs in Tsavo National Park, Kenya. They are located in the west of the Park, around 48 km from Mtito Andei. The source of the springs is a natural reservoir under the Chyulu Hills to the north.

 

 

Shetani  lava flows

The remains of a volcanic lava flow that originated from one of the hills in the chyulu hills range. Located on the northwestern end of. One of the greatest spectacles is the breathtaking rocky Shetani (devil) Lava flow and its labyrinth of caves located deep inside the sprawling Tsavo West National Park.

The charcoal black lava flow is 8km long and has a width of 1.6km making it one of the largest volcanic crater-fields and nature trails in the country. According to locals, this was one of the last Chyulu cinders to have been active.

Chyulu Hills form a high range of cones and are among the world’s youngest mountains, spewed by volcanic eruptions not more than a few hundreds of years ago. Shetani is one of the recent eruptions, just over a 100 years ago.

Chyulu Hills are the watershed of the underground rivers and streams which gush out at the equally captivating Mzima Springs.

Lava Trail

According to legend, many people perished after they were buried alive by the lava about 200 years ago and locals claim that their cries can still be heard on some nights.

To mollify their spirits, the story goes, visitors are advised to leave food offerings. Shetani is endowed with diverse flora and fauna and the caves are worth exploring. For the caves though, one needs to carry a flashlight as some of the caves are known to harbour poisonous snakes.

The lava trail is among the few places in the park where visitors are allowed to get out of their vehicles as there are no dangerous animals like in other parts of the park.

One other significant aspect of the rocks is that they are rich in minerals, including highly prized gemstones. Large areas of the mineral-rich zone remain untouched.

Key features:

Wildlife

Leopard, Cheetah, Wild dogs, Buffalo, Rhino, Elephant, Giraffe, Zebra, Lion,Crocodile, Mongoose, Hyrax, Dik- dik, Lesser Kudu, and Nocturnal Porcupine. Prolific birdlife features 600 species.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protected Area Type

National Park

Park Size

7,065 sq. Km

Climate

Temperature ranges from 20-300 c and rainfall from 200mm – 700 mm,Two rain seasons: Long rains – March & April & short rains – November/ December.

When to go

All year round.

What to take with you

Drinking water, picnic items and camping equipment if you intend to stay overnight. Also useful are: binoculars, camera, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and guidebooks.

Summary

Though forming one contiguous stretch of land, Tsavo is split into two entities either side of the main Nairobi-Mombasa road. Tsavo East National Park is the larger of the two, and is famed for its huge numbers of elephants that gather at the Galana River and wander across the plains. You may also spot lions, leopards, rhinos and buffaloes to complete the “Big Five” of game-spotting, and the park is a haven for a huge range of bird species.

Tsavo West extends southwards to the Tanzanian border, and includes the beautiful Mzima Springs. Here you can watch hippos, Nile crocodiles and fish swim by in a submerged viewing tank. There are also great opportunities for rock climbing, hiking and cave exploration.

 

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