Tsavo West National Park is the sister park to the much more famous Tsavo East. However, the main difference between the two is their location on either side of the highway and railway line from Nairobi to Mombasa, whose construction in the late 1800s led to hundreds of attacks by man-eating lions. Together, the two parks form the largest protected space in Kenya.
Although Tsavo West is less well known by international visitors, a number of factors make it the most popular of the two parks to safari in when on the ground in Kenya. Covering just under 3500 square miles (or roughly 12 times the size of New York City), Tsavo West’s attractions include excellent animal sightings thanks to a ready source of freshwater, a dedicated rhino reserve, landscapes which include solidified lava flows, and a great road network.
Hippos are particularly well represented in the Mzima Springs area, with the park’s savanna and woodland providing a source of shade for elephants and kudu, lairs for leopard and lion, and food for highly-endangered black rhinos.
While game drives will get you as close to the action as at any national park in Kenya, there’s also the chance to absorb the ecosystem as a whole from the Poacher’s Lookout viewpoint.
It’s vistas might not stretch quite as far as the Indian Ocean, but Tsavo West’s proximity to the Kenyan coast means safaris here can be easily combined with a beach holiday on tropical white sands.