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Tsavo East National Park

Points of Interest


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Tsavo East National Park is home to large families of elephants, constantly ranging over the plains and bush in search of forage and water. Wise, old matriarchs lead the herds over expansive territories to congregate at rivers or, in severe droughts, to dig wells in the dry riverbeds. The sight of dust-red elephants wallowing, rolling and spraying each other with the waters of the palm-shaded Galana River is one of East Africa's most evocative and enduring images.
Waterholes are the best place to watch for wildlife as both predators and prey come to drink, hunt and play. In the bush, watch for the darting diminutive dik diks and the regal oryx, running with their splendid horns spread back. Rolling savannah, dotted with rocky hills, are the favored haunt of lion as they trail herds of buffalo, zebra and antelope. Giraffe frequent areas along the Galana River near troops of yellow baboon.
Below Lugard's Falls is Hippo Point and Crocodile Point, popular sites for wallowing hippo and basking crocodile. Keep your eyes open for black rhino, especially in the Ashaka area, and for small herds of the critically endangered Hirola (Hunter's hartebeest) which have been translocated to the park. In the dry bush banks of the Galana River, resides one of Kenya's most beautiful antelopes, the lesser kudu.


Tsavo East’s prolific bird life with over 500 recorded species, includes the noisy flocks of orange-bellied parrots, whose clashing colours of green and bright orange are difficult to miss, and the rare Somali ostrich, with its distinctive blue legs and neck. Hunting over the savannahs are many birds of prey: the magnificent martial eagle, the lovely Bateleur and the migratory lesser kestrel. Often seen are the shy African finfoot and the white-headed buffalo weaver with its bright and red rump. Around Aruba Dam is a profusion of birds, while along the Galana River you’re likely to spot the Maasai and Somali ostrich as well as the saddle-billed stork and an east Africa speciality, the vulturine guineafowl.

Reptiles and Amphibians

Dry acacia Snakes abound among rocks and in the thickest of bush. They include the brick-orange red spitting cobra, numerous sand snakes ad the superbly camouflaged puff adder. The Galana River is home to numerous crocodiles and the serrated hinged terrapin. Savannah monitor lizards can sometimes be seen basking in the sunshine on rocks or termite mounds.


These are the most numerous of Tsavo’s inhabitants. There are the characteristic termite mounds, with turrets rising into the air or clinging to the sides of shading bushes. The rains awaken veritable army of sleeping siafu who swarm over the landscape devouring all and sundry. Butterflies gather at puddles and include the delightful, Colotis, with bright-red wing-tips.


The park is mostly covered by a characteristic tangle of thorny scrub and woodland. Featuring various species of acacia and commiphora, this thorny association of tortured trees is broken by areas of grassy plain. Ancient baobabs, with elephant-scarred trunks, rise above the tangle like beacons in a sea of red dust. Tall, branching doum palms fringe the winding rivers. The brief rains paint the charred landscape with delicate wildflowers, including lovely thunbergia, indigofera, ipomoea, numerous lilies and succulents, including aloes.