Vast Herds of Red Dust Elephants

Lions? Leopards? And Chimps

The giant elephants of Tsavo like to roll about in the rosy-hued soil, giving them a makeover and a great display of color for the park’s visitors.

At first glance, Tsavo East is massive, dry, and dusty. But as you safari over these wide plains, you’ll discover many unexpected contrasts in this the largest of Kenya’s many national parks.

Dotted throughout Tsavo are various watering holes providing sustenance to the park’s lions, leopards, buffalos, elephants, and many smaller species like gerenuk, impala, and Masai giraffe. You’ll also discover the oasis of the Galana River drawing a green line through the park with its banks of lush foliage.

Cheetahs in Tsavo East National Park
Elephant in Tsavo East National Park

The Red Elephants of Tsavo East

Perhaps the park’s greatest attraction, you’ll find herds of elephants slaking their thirst alongside the rivers and at various waterholes. As mentioned, they like to roll on the ground, giving themselves dust baths in the deep red soil – their reddish appearance afterwards leading them to often be called red elephants. If you’re lucky you’ll also be treated to a water show as the large pachyderms playfully spray each other, completing their grooming ritual.

Tsavo Lions

The park is home to hundreds of lions, but Tsavo Lions are characteristically different. The adult males lack the distinctive lion’s mane entirely giving them a unique look. 

Safari through the fields of acacia scrub and you’ll also come across Cape buffalo, leopard, herds of giraffe, and along the rivers – hippo, crocodile, and waterbuck.

Lion cubs

Bird Watching in Tsavo East National Park

But the plains and oases of Tsavo also present visitors with a vast palette of birdlife – over 500 species have been spotted. It is said the best bird watching is from October through January – it is then that migratory birds like skimmers and goshawks, and vultures are easily seen.

But you’ll also find buzzards, ostriches, starlings, kingfishers, hornbills, herons, and some unique avian life like the lovebird, sacred ibis, and the crowned crane.

Bird seen on safari


Open bush

Dense bush

Riverine Forest


Unforgettable scenery

Herd of wildebeest

Lugard’s Falls – Set on the Galana River, this natural rock structure captures the river’s waters in a narrow groove, then spits out a torrent, spilling into rapids and the pools below.

Aruba Dam – An attractive man-made dam, spanning the Voi river, its waters bring in great populations of wildlife including prides of lions.

Mudanda Rock – A rock formation 1.6 km (.99 mi) in length, this whale-shaped structure is a water catchment for the natural dam below. Hundreds of the park’s elephants are drawn to the waters making it a perfect viewing spot.

Yatta Plateau – This is the remains of the longest lava flow in the world. Over 300 km (186 mi) long, it runs through the western edge of the park above the Athi River.

Tsavo baby elephant
Tourists standing and looking out of the open top of a 4x4 safari jeep

Community Projects

These reserve-based projects help the livelihoods of the nearby rural communities.

  • Education for local students, including computer skills training
  • Healthcare – providing medical supplies to the local health centers and mobile clinic
  • Energy – providing hundreds of local families with energy-efficient stoves – reducing the need for firewood.

Ol Pejeta Eco-Facts

  • Sanctuaries to protect endangered chimpanzees, oryx, hartebeest, Grevy’s zebra, and bat-eared fox
  • Home to the world’s last remaining northern white rhinos
  • The largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa – the rhino population has increased by over 100 in the last 25 years.
A rare brown spotted zebra seen on safari in Lake Nakuru

Tsavo East National Park Facts

The largest park in Kenya, Tsavo covers an area of 11,747 sq km (4535 sq mi). It is also one of the oldest parks, founded in 1948.

Location: The park lies between the capital of Nairobi and the coastal city of Mombasa. Fairly close to the Kenya coast, it’s an easy safari from either city.

Climate: This is a hot and dry environment – expect temperatures of 31°C/88°F during the day and 20°C/68°F at night. The rainy seasons are in April and November.

Best time to visit: The park is open throughout the year, but the best viewing season is during the dry months from June to October and January/February when the animals congregate at the rivers and watering holes.

Operating hours: 6 am to 6 pm. Hiking is only allowed in the presence of a Kenya Wildlife Service ranger.

Getting there: You can Book a tour with Africa Kenya Safaris. And you’ll go in style – a specially outfitted 4 x 4 safari Jeep.

By air: The park offers a number of nearby airstrips.

By rail – Hop aboard the Madaraka Express, Kenya’s newest luxury train. We can make all the arrangements.

Elephants crossing the plain

Tsavo East National Park FAQ Guide

Got questions about the stunning safari destination, Tsavo East? Check out our frequently asked questions and answers about Tsavo East National Park, and just get in touch if you still need further information about a safari tour there!

Tsavo East National Park is located in the southeastern region of Kenya, near the town of Voi. Covering an area of over 13,000 square kilometers, it is one of the largest parks in the country. The park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including elephants, lions, giraffes, and over 500 species of birds.

Tsavo East National Park is renowned for its diverse and abundant wildlife. Visitors on safari are likely to see large herds of elephants, as well as big cats such as lions and leopards. Other animals to look out for include giraffes, zebras, buffalos, and various species of antelopes.

The weather in Tsavo East National Park is typically hot and dry, with temperatures ranging from 20 to 40 degrees Celsius throughout the year. The park experiences two rainy seasons, with the long rains falling between March and May, and the short rains between October and December. During the dry season, the vegetation is sparse, making it easier to spot wildlife.

Tsavo East National Park is a vast and untamed wilderness that offers an unforgettable safari experience in Kenya. Visitors can spot some of Africa’s most iconic wildlife, including elephants, lions, cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, and more. The park is also known for its beautiful landscapes, including the Galana River, the Yatta Plateau, and the Lugard Falls, which offer stunning views and great photo opportunities.

Both Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks offer unique experiences and are worth visiting, but they have different attractions. Tsavo East is known for its large herds of elephants, the beautiful Galana River, and the Yatta Plateau, while Tsavo West is home to the stunning Mzima Springs, the Shetani Lava Flow, and a diverse range of wildlife. Which one is better for you depends on your interests and preferences.

It is difficult to give an exact number of lions in Tsavo East National Park, as the population is constantly changing as animals freely roam between different parks in the Amboseli-Tsavo ecosystem (home to around 675 lions in total).  Tsavo East is home to a significant number of lions, and visitors have a good chance of spotting them during a safari. Lions in Tsavo East are known for their large size and majestic appearance, making them a popular sight among tourists and wildlife enthusiasts.

The Tsavo ecosystem is home to one of the largest elephant populations in the world, with an estimated 12,500 elephants living in the parks of Tsavo. The elephants in Tsavo East are known for their large size and unique red color, which comes from the red soil in the area. Visitors to the park have a high chance of seeing these magnificent red elephants during a safari.

Tsavo East National Park is definitely worth visiting for anyone interested in a true African safari experience. The park offers a vast and untamed wilderness, diverse wildlife, stunning landscapes, and a variety of activities, including game drives and birdwatching. With its rich history, unique ecosystem, and abundance of wildlife, Tsavo East promises to be an unforgettable adventure for visitors who are looking for an authentic and immersive experience in the African bush.

The distance from Nairobi to Tsavo East National Park is approximately 333 kilometers or 206 miles, making it a comfortable drive of about 5-6 hours. The journey takes you through beautiful landscapes, including the vast Tsavo Plains, which offer stunning views and great photo opportunities. Visitors can also choose to fly to the park, with several airstrips available for private and charter flights.

Tsavo East National Park offers a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. Visitors can choose from lodges, tented camps, and campsites located within the park or in the surrounding areas. Some of the popular places to stay in Tsavo East include Ashnil Aruba Lodge, Voi Wildlife Lodge, Satao Camp, and many more, which offer comfortable accommodations, delicious food, and stunning views of the park.

The best Tsavo East lodges offered on include Ashnil Aruba Lodge, Voi Wildlife Lodge, and Sentrim Tsavo Camp. Ashnil Aruba Lodge is located next to the Aruba Dam, and visitors can enjoy game drives and birdwatching in the area. Voi Wildlife Lodge has a natural waterhole that often attracts elephants, while Sentrim Tsavo Camp is a tented camp renowned for its comfort. All these lodges offer relaxing accommodation, delicious food, and excellent services, making them a great choice for a memorable safari in Tsavo East National Park.

Tsavo East National Park is one of the largest national parks in Kenya, covering an area of approximately 13,747 square kilometers or 5,308 square miles. The park is located in the eastern part of Kenya, near the town of Voi, and is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including elephants, lions, giraffes, and many more. Visitors can explore the park on game drives, and other activities, and stay at one of the many lodges or tented camps located within the park or in the surrounding areas.

This is Tsavo East

This large, wild, park is fairly untouristed – you’ll almost have all the wildlife to yourself. Let the crowds go to the other parks. You can say you’ve been to Tsavo!

Tsavo East National Park welcome sign

Join us at Tsavo East National Park

Africa Kenya Safaris offers several safaris to Tsavo East and its sister park, Tsavo West. Just contact us to get your safari started.

Here are some of our Tsavo tours:

A charged elephant seen on safari in Kenya
Baby Lion cub resting in the shade seen at the Masai Mara National Park

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All fields with an asterisk (*) are required

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Help us create your perfect Safari! Tell us about your travel choices, any unique experiences you desire, and upcoming special occasions.