Tsavo East National Park
Tsavo East is Kenya’s oldest and largest conservation area. It is nine times bigger than the Masai Mara. It is a very arid region of the country and the wildlife here has had to survive increasing periods of drought in recent decades. The region is much less visited than the Masai Mara, which means that guests often have a much more authentic safari experience away from the crowds.
The game viewing is much more challenging than the Mara, as here the vegetation is much thicker which makes searching for wildlife more of a challenge. The park is most famous for its large population of elephants which often appear reddish, as they dust bathe in the red coloured Tsavo dust which coats their skin.
Due to its dry climate, guests can see desert-adapted animals that do not occur in the Mara, such as the long-necked Gerenuk and Somali Ostriches. As mentioned, the wildlife in the park is feeling the effects of droughts due to climate change. The edges of the park are under increasing pressure from expanding human populations who need land for farming. There is also increasing human-wildlife conflict as wildlife ventures into agricultural lands which have encroached on historic migration routes. Revenue from tourism helps support local communities and funds solutions to this human-wildlife conflict.
There are few safari lodges in Tsavo East mostly close to Voi which means that there are large swathes of the park which are left undisturbed. Tsavo East has a different feel to Tsavo West with plains of savannah which are more open making for easier game viewing.