Tsavo and Chyulu Hills

Situated in the South East of Kenya, Tsavo National Park is the largest and one of the oldest parks in the country. No less than 22.000 km ² in size and separated by a highway, east and west Tsavo represent the great diversity of Kenya’s eco-systems.

At over 11,700 km ², Tsavo East National Park contains some fantastically diverse terrain and is therefore recognised as one of the world’s leading bio-diversity strongholds. The vegetation is savannah grassland with thorny bushes and swampy marshland near Voi River. The landscape is unique because of the Yatta Plateau formed from the lava that oozed from Ol Doinyo Sabuk Mountain.  This is the largest lava flow in the world and is the natural divide between Tsavo East and West. Bisecting Tsavo East is the Galana River where Luggard’s Falls feature shapely water-worn rocks and stunning casacdes.

Tsavo West is an international wildlife and environmental treasure chest. It contains a variety of habitat, geological soil types, animals, birds and plants. On a clear day Tsavo West offers tremendous views of Mount Kiliminjaro and has unique and diverse habitats ranging from mountains to river forests, plains, lakes and wooded grasslands. Bubbling forth from volcanic boulders is the most famous site in Tsavo West, Mzima Springs, where 225 million litres of water a day feed into crystal clear pools and crocodile and hippo infested streams.

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The parks are home to more than 50 different kinds of mammals. Among the more unusual of the animals are the gerenuk, a long necked antelope that browses on the higher, sweeter leaves of the acacia thorns. Other animals include the leopard, cheetah, buffalo, rhino, elephant, giraffe, zebra, lion, crocodile, mongoose, hyrax, dik dik and porcupine. There is also a variety of birdlife and over 600 species have been recorded.

Further west, the Chyulus run in a series of hump-backed summits about 30 miles long dividing the country of the Kamba people from Maasai land, to the South where Kilimanjaro, just over the Tanzanian border, dominates the skyline. This is a truly magical area of ragged volcanic craters, rolling plains, exotic plants and cedar forests. At times, within the cloud forest in the cool of the
early morning there is a very highland feel to the Chyulus. The foot of the hills offer a very different experience – here the hills give way to semi-arid plains of volcanic soil. Iconic flat-topped acacias cover the area immediately under the hills, while the thick bush covers lava flows.  Because of their proximity the Chyulus are a great addition to any safari which includes either Amboseli or Tsavo.