Tsavo East Elephants Lioness

Tsavo, located 232 kilometres from Nairobi and 157 kilometres from Mombasa, was gazetted in 1948, and has been split into Tsavo East and West because of its sheer size and diversity of habitat.

  • Area: Tsavo East: 13,747 km²; Tsavo West: 7,065 km²
  • Time to visit: Year round
  • Entry: By SmartCard only (see our planning guide)

This park is world-famous for its distinctive brick-red elephants, painted by the red dust that they wallow and bathe in. Elephants are easily seen in Tsavo East all year round, and are particularly evident during the dry season when they congregate near waterholes such as the Aruba Dam and Mudanda Rock. There are several thousand elephants in Tsavo, one of the largest populations in the world, and they move frequently between Tsavo East and West in search of new grazing. As elephants travel and graze, they knock over trees, strip branches and crush plants, changing the character of the ecosystem and affecting other animals.

Tsavo is also home to the notorious man-eating maneless lions. These huge cats differ from their savannah-dwelling cousins both in size and behaviour, typically living and hunting in pairs or trios. These cats also hunt larger prey such as Cape buffalo, which can make for an awe-inspiring spectacle. Tsavo has one of the largest known populations of lions, and they can be regularly seen napping in the shade or stalking prey near waterholes and dense cover.

Other attractions include about one quarter of the surviving Hunter’s Hartebeest, all three of Kenya’s large cats and an incredible array of birds. Also gaze upon the snow-capped peak of Kilimanjaro and explore the 13 kilometers long Leviathan cave.