Size: 9,065 sq km (3,500 sq miles)
The immense Tsavo West National Park lies some 240 km (149 miles) south-east of Nairobi and 249 km (154 miles) north-west of Mombasa. It stretches from the north-eastern Athi River to the south-western Tanzanian border.
With rocky outcrops in its northern parts, most of the park is a vast tangled bush savannah, laced with volcanic ridges and lava beds. With sweeping hills reaching 1,800 metres (5,900 feet) high, the Ngulia range offers dramatic vistas, while the adjacent Chyulu hills feed the remarkable Mzima Springs where thousands of gallons of crystal-clear freshwater gashes into palm-fringed pools, filled with hippos and crocodiles.
Vast herds of dust-red elephant, fat pods of hippo, giant crocodile, teeming herds of savannah dwellers plus a fantasia of birds and magical flora flourish here. The Ngulio Rhino Sanctuary protects its growing population of endangered black rhino.
The lush, hippo-inhabited pools of Mzima Springs are a verdant cooling oasis. An underwater hippo-viewing chamber, two nature trails and some scenic picnic spots provide a refreshing and rewarding adventure.
In addition to the ‘Big Five’, it is home to the country’s largest elephant population. Herds of giraffe, gerenuk, oryx, zebra and impala range through bush and plains, as do hartebeests, lesser kudu, eland, waterbuck, steinbuck (steenbok), Kirk’s dik-dik and klipspringer. Don’t miss yellow baboons and vervet monkey as they cavort noisily around acacia trees. There are also over 600 recorded bird species here.
Best time to visit: All year round.