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Tsavo West

The Tsavo West National Park is the other half of the largest protected area, the rest is protected by the Tsavo East National Park. The name means ‘place of slaughter’ and it is named after an ancient battle between the Maasai and Akamba tribes.

This park is more varied than the Tsavo East NP, with a more varied landscape (although it is still dominated by brick-red soil and thick acacia bush). There are black lava flows crossing the land, and Shetani and Chaimu Crater have walking trails that allow a unique close-up exploration of the terrain. The Mzima Springs are fed by underground streams that run from the Chyulu Hills, and this has an underwater viewing chamber which gives a fascinating insight to the underwater life of the park. The Ngulia Mountains provide a majestic backdrop to the plains, and are made of ancient rocks that are exposed as steep cliffs with dense woods on the lower slopes. Here you can trek through the mountains and try your hand at rock climbing on the Tembo peak. Open plains lead up to Lake Jipe, which has reed beds and swamps that attract huge numbers of animals. There are wonderful views of Amboseli and Mount Kilimanjaro from lookouts in the higher parts of the park.

Lesser kudu are found in abundance here, as well as hippo, vervet monkeys, buffalo, and several predators. These include leopard, cheetah and lion. The most renowned animal in the park, however, is the mighty elephant. These are informally known as red elephants due to their colouration which is a result of dust baths in the red earth. A huge variety of antelope live here too, and the Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary, which protects a herd of 50 black rhinos, is found near the Mzima Springs.

Birders will be in heaven here, with over 600 species of birds identified in the area, from plains to wetland species.