Safari in Kenya: The Best of Tsavo and Amboseli National parks

To fulfill your nature quest on a safari in Kenya, make sure you visit some of Kenya’s best national parks like the Tsavo and the Amboseli National Parks. Here, you will see almost every animal that strolls the African jungle especially the big five animals. Here is a review of each Park and what you should expect visiting each.

Tsavo National Park

Tsavo national park is Kenya’s largest national park, and one of the world largest game reserves. The park became popular even before it was gazetted as a national park. When the British were building the Kenya Uganda railway; the biggest problem the encountered was around Tsavo in Mtito Adei forest; where about 138 men were killed by the “Tsavo man-eaters”.

Related: List of National parks in Kenya

Due to its sheer size 11,747 square kilometers, the Kenya parks authority divided Tsavo national park into two along the railway line for ease of management; Tsavo East and Tsavo West. Tsavo national park is ideal for people looking for solitude and a true jungle experience. Due to its location away from civilization, the park has an isolated feel to it making it ideal.

But the park is just a short driving distance from Mombasa city; that way you can enjoy game viewing in the morning and in the evening and relax on the beach during the day; a wonderful combination while you are on a safari in Kenya Africa.

Tsavo East

Tsavo East is home to Kenya’s famous big five, being one of the biggest game reserves in the world, Tsavo is home to a vast number of game animals. Compared to Tsavo west the east has more open savannah grassland and shrubs covered hills with a true Kenyan jungle feel.

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At Tsavo East herds of elephant are always a familiar site, along with the Kanderi swamp near the Voi gate, but if you want to see the African lion in action you will have to drive deep into the park around Aruba dam on Tsavo river.

Tsavo West

The terrain of Tsavo west compared to the east is more rugged with volcanic mountain ridges and swampy grassland savannahs; the park is more of wetland with mzima springs and Lake Jipe on this side of the park.

The wetlands in Tsavo national park west attracts over 500 bird species, including ostriches, kestrels, buzzards, starlings, weaver birds, kingfishers, hornbills, secretary birds, and herons. Despite a large number of game animals on this side of the park most of them are hard to spot due to the tall grasslands.

Must Read: Best of Mombasa as a Vacation Paradise

This side of the park is more developed and is where several lodges are located there is also the famous Mzima pool a popular hangout for hippos and crocodiles.

Things to do in Tsavo national park

  • Enjoy the under underwater viewing chamber at the Mzima where you can observe thousands of primordial looking fish
  • Yatta Plateau – The Yatta Plateau, the world’s longest lava flow, runs along the western boundary of the park above the Athi River. Its 290 km length was formed by lava from Ol Doinyo Sabuk Mountain.
  • Enjoy the Lugard Falls – Lugard Falls, named after Frederick Lugard, is actually a series of whitewater rapids on the Galana River.
  • Bird watching and game viewing – The Mudanda Rock is a 1.6 km inselberg of stratified rock that acts as a water catchment that supplies a natural dam below. It offers an excellent vantage point for the hundreds of animals. Elephants and other wildlife come to drink during the dry season.
  • Aruba Dam was built in 1952 across the Voi River. The reservoir created by the dam attracts many animals and water birds.

Amboseli National Park

Amboseli national park, sit on the foothills of Africas highest mountain, Mt Kilimanjaro towering over 5, 895m (19, 340 ft). The view of Mt Kilimanjaro from Amboseli is just breathtaking. On the horizon above the snow cap of the mountain is a display of clear blue disappearing sky. In the evening sunset is just spectacular above the mountain

safari in Kenya
Amboseli National Park

Most of the park is covered by savannah grassland, acacia scrub, and extensive swamps. It’s constantly fed by springs and underground rivers. The rivers emanate from the melting snow-capped mountain.

The abundant supply of water and green vegetation attracts herds of the big mammals in search of food. Amboseli national park is primarily Elephant country; here you will encounter, herds of elephant basking in the evening sun or playing in the water swamps.

There is also a wide variety of other herbivores hanging around this beautiful grassland, including the Maasai giraffe and buffalo, zebra, eland, white-bearded Gnu, waterbuck, gazelles, and impalas; Plus the rare Black rhinos might be seen although occasionally.

Also, some smaller animals like the black-faced vervet monkey and yellow baboon, and black-backed jackals, can be seen enjoying the warm weather.

Watch predators in Amboseli

Amboseli national park also plays host to the African lions plus other big cats. Cheetahs and Leopards, follow the other animal looking for an easy catch. This also welcomes other animals of prey including up to six species of vultures, the Taita falcon, and the Southern branded Harrier eagle. These eagles scour the jungle looking look for animal remains for their meal of the day.

The swamps and lakes attract a wide variety of bird life; plus the hippos are known to enjoy the waters too.

If you are planning a safari in Kenya, Amboseli Park should definitely be one to consider. The scenery provides one of the best backgrounds for photography. If you take a hot air balloon safari in the early morning or in the evening; the experience is one to remember.

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Brian is a founding writer at Urban Kenyans. His work is focused on how to improve the digital literacy of Kenyans online. He has been able to do so with his mastery of Kenya and the English Language.

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