Beautiful Tsavo West National Park covers a vast 9,065km2 area and is divided from Tsavo East National Park by the A109 Nairobi - Mombasa road. Together they comprise the Tsavo Conservation Area, one of the largest protected sites in the world.
While the park does hold the 'big 5', its habitat - much of which is fairly dense bush on hilly terrain - may render wildlife-viewing a little slow at times. A big bonus for those visiting Tsavo, is that there are far fewer crowds in this wilderness area so the safari experience is therefore perhaps more authentic.
Senic highlights include the dramatic black lava fields and some imposing cones, as well as the Mzima Springs, where hippos can be viewed underwater. Always soaring in the backdrop on clear days, is the imposing Mt Kilimanjaro. A forest walk in the undulating Chyulu Hills, is a sweet experience.
Mammals we saw with ease include an abundance of African savannah elephants; Hippos; Giraffes, Zebras, Eland; Blue wildebeest; Lesser kudu; Fringe-eared oryx; shy Gerenuks and Klipspringer. There is a rhino sanctuary (Ngulia) in the area, where one can seek Black rhinoceros. We did well with Lion sightings, and also hit the jackpot with leopard.
Birding is simply phenomenal in Tsavo, with a checklist of some 400 species including a variety of dry-country specials. We loved our recce visit to this park, where Finch Hatton's luxury tented camp provides a wonderful base from which to explore. During the trip we saw among many others, Kori and Black-bellied bustards; Yellow-throated and Black-faced sandgrouse; the amazing Martial eagle; African wood owl; Green wood-hoopoe; Von der Decken's hornbill; beautiful Northern carmine bee-eater; Red-and-yellow barbet; Retz' helmet-shrike; Red-faced crombec; Northern brownbul; Violet-backed and Ruppell's starlings; Silverbird; Bronze sunbird and Purple grenadiers.
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