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Tsavo East National Park
Tsavo East National Park
Tsavo East National Park
Tsavo East National Park
Tsavo East National Park
Tsavo East National Park

Tsavo East National Park is by far the biggest of Kenya's parks.

The Galana River attracts large numbers of wildlife...

...and big herds of elephants...

...can sometimes be spotted from just outside your tent.

There are relatively few camps and lodges...

...the majority of them close to Voi in the west, near the Mombasa highway.

Tsavo East National Park

Tsavo East National Park

This is the biggest of Kenya’s parks, famous for its herds of dust-red elephants.

Tsavo East National Park is by far the biggest of Kenya’s parks. At more than 13,700km², Tsavo East is nine times bigger than the Maasai Mara National Reserve: indeed you could fit the whole of the Mara reserve into the southern tip of Tsavo East National Park, south of the Voi River.

Tsavo East has another big draw: you can set off on a game drive across the seemingly empty wilderness and return to camp three hours later without having seen a single other vehicle. There are very few camps and lodges here and, relatively speaking, almost none, with the majority of them close to Voi in the west, near the Mombasa highway. You often have the park to yourself, watching the wildlife under a huge sky: no matter what you’re looking at, Tsavo East always feels like a big spectacle.

When considering a Tsavo East safari, it's worth knowing that nearly all safaris take place in the south of the park, south of the Galana River. The enormous northern region of Tsavo East was closed to the public for many years and, although it is now open again, distances are vast up here and there is virtually no infrastructure. In practice, it's an area for adventurous explorers, not game drives.

Incidentally, although Tsavo East and Tsavo West share a name – and a common border, coinciding with the Mombasa highway – they are two distinct national parks with different eco-systems: the wooded and hilly landscapes, dotted with volcanic cones and dramatic, black lava flows of Tsavo West National Park and the much flatter, more open plains and scattered bush that characterise Tsavo East National Park.

Tsavo East National Park

Tsavo East National Park: in detail

Expert Africa's suggested itineraries in Kenya

Browse these 23 sample itineraries for inspration. They're just examples of what we can do, so contact us at Expert Africa to start the ball rolling.


Map

Black Kite Fly-in Safari

10 days • 4 locations • 1 country
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

Explore Kenya in-depth with visits to Nairobi and Meru National Parks, the Mara Conservancies and Amboseli. Nestled in remoter regions, four camps provide fantastic access to rich game, a range of activities and beautifully diverse landscapes.

Visiting Nairobi, Mara Conservancies and 2 other areas

US$8,380 - US$9,630 per person

Read more about the Black Kite Fly-in Safari

Map

Gabar Goshawk Fly-in Safari

10 days • 4 locations • 1 country
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

Experience Amboseli, the Maasai Mara ecosystem and Laikipia during this economically priced safari. Two simple camps offer adventure before a stopover in Nairobi and a final stay in the charming, wildlife-rich Il Ngwesi Eco-Lodge.

Visiting Laikipia, Nairobi and 2 other areas

US$4,790 - US$4,790 per person

Read more about the Gabar Goshawk Fly-in Safari

Map

De Brazza Monkey Fly-in Safari

9 days • 3 locations • 1 country
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

Enjoy a range of activities in the remote wilderness of northern Kenya before exploring the wildlife-rich plains of the Mara ecosystem. Private vehicles and guides heighten the personalisation of this highly immersive safari.

Visiting Northern Kenya, Mara Conservancies and 1 other area

US$9,700 - US$11,350 per person

Read more about the De Brazza Monkey Fly-in Safari

Map

Hamerkop Fly-In Safari

8 days • 2 locations • 1 country
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

Different wildlife, contrasting camps and a whole host of activities, this is a safari for those wanting to get out and about and not just sit in a vehicle.

Visiting Laikipia, Mara Conservancies

US$5,500 - US$8,280 per person

Read more about the Hamerkop Fly-In Safari

Map

Rothschild Giraffe Safari

8 days • 3 locations • 1 country
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

A example of a luxury Kenyan safari, starting at the iconic Giraffe Manor before fabulous stays on the spectacular Solio Reserve and Sala’s Camp in a remote corner of the Maasai Mara.

Visiting Nairobi, Maasai Mara and 1 other area

US$9,200 - US$12,650 per person

Read more about the Rothschild Giraffe Safari

Map

Golden Jackal Fly-in Safari

8 days • 2 locations • 1 country
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

A contrasting safari of a lodge and a tented camp, action-packed activities in Laikipia and wildlife-filled game drives in the Maasai Mara, yet overall a consistently high quality experience.

Visiting Laikipia, Maasai Mara

US$8,050 - US$10,300 per person

Read more about the Golden Jackal Fly-in Safari

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Big Cat Fly-in Safari

8 days • 2 locations • 1 country
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

Combining two of Kenya’s best wildlife viewing areas, this slow-paced safari to the Lewa Conservancy and Maasai Mara guarantees iconic wildlife. The long established, well-rated camps are great value too.

Visiting Maasai Mara, Laikipia

US$5,060 - US$7,460 per person

Read more about the Big Cat Fly-in Safari

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Lanner Falcon Fly-In Safari

8 days • 3 locations • 1 country
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

Three sister camps offer access to wonderfully remote regions across northern Kenya and the Maasai Mara ecosystem. Enjoy an exclusive safari experience with a range of activities that include great wildlife, superb guiding and considerable comfort.

Visiting Samburu, Mara Conservancies and 1 other area

US$6,170 - US$8,220 per person

Read more about the Lanner Falcon Fly-In Safari

Map

African Finfoot Fly-in Safari

7 days • 3 locations • 1 country
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

A unique start to the safari in Nairobi National Park, then classic, luxurious camps combine for a high end and exclusive safari in fantastic wildlife destinations.

Visiting Nairobi, Laikipia and 1 other area

US$8,180 - US$12,640 per person

Read more about the African Finfoot Fly-in Safari

Map

African Hawk-Eagle Fly-in Safari

7 days • 2 locations • 1 country
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

Two luxurious camps provide quieter game-viewing within Laikipia and the Mara ecosystem. Situated on private conservancies, Lewa Wilderness and Naboisho offer the chance to sight all of the ‘big 5’ and enjoy a range of safari activities.

Visiting Laikipia, Mara Conservancies

US$6,440 - US$10,070 per person

Read more about the African Hawk-Eagle Fly-in Safari

Inspire me

Need inspiration?

Let our trip chooser narrow down the options for you

Inspire me

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings in Tsavo East

This is their success for sightings in Tsavo East National Park.
Click on a species for more detail. How we work this out.


Buffalo

100% success

Elephant

100% success

Gerenuk

100% success

Giraffe

100% success

Hippo

100% success

Lion

100% success

Zebra

100% success

Oryx

75% success

Spotted Hyena

75% success

Eland

75% success

Leopard

67% success

Cheetah

50% success

Striped Hyena

25% success

Black Rhino

0% success

Wild dog

0% success

Pangolin

0% success

Aardvark

0% success

Map of Tsavo East National Park

Choices for where to stay in Tsavo East National Park


Reference map

Most recent reviews of our safaris to Tsavo East

Click below to browse all 9 reviews from Tsavo East National Park.
All from our travellers; all are in full & unedited.


87%
9 reviews since August 2007
Excellent
5
Good
2
Average
2
Poor
0
Terrible
0
Mr & Mrs LN from London

Arrived 8 Jan 2020, 19 nights

"A mixed bag indeed"

"Unseasonable rains throughout the country...Everyone did the best they could. …" Read Mr & Mrs LN’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Average

Mrs J from kakira

Arrived 7 Mar 2019, 5 nights

"Satao / Tsavo "

"Overall experience was great as we had a really wonderful family time together. …" Read Mrs J’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Steve H from Leeds

Arrived 29 Jan 2019, 13 nights

"Another Great Safari"

"The whole trip was fantastic...It's difficult to imagine how you could do better …" Read Steve H’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr C from Harvest

Arrived 28 May 2017, 12 nights

"May-June Kenya, Tsavo trip was great"

"Tsavo trip was great. Richard went out of his way to satisfy my odd interests. …" Read Mr C’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mrs E from Edinburgh

Arrived 28 Dec 2016, 11 nights

"Our Dec 16 to Jan 17 trip"

"Fabulous trip with perfect balance of safari & beach. …" Read Mrs E’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

S family from Victoria

Arrived 29 Dec 2015, 2 nights

"Kenya 2015/16"

"Our family had a great time and particularly enjoyed our safari at Tsavo. …" Read S family’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Good

Ms C & Mr S from Dublin

Arrived 14 Oct 2013, 11 nights

"My Oct 2013 trip"

"Everything about The Emakoko is superb. . .staff were terrific. …" Read Ms C & Mr S’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Average

Ms S from Sheffield

Arrived 21 Aug 2013, 12 nights

"My Aug 2013 trip"

"My son and I enjoyed the walk with the guide, gun in hand - very exciting …" Read Ms S’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Good

Ms P & Mr C from London

Arrived 10 Aug 2013, 8 nights

"Trip to Kenya"

"The perfect trip at relatively short notice - meticulously well thought-through …" Read Ms P & Mr C’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

See all Tsavo East National Park reviews

When to go to Tsavo East National Park

Our month by month guide: What it's like to visit Tsavo East in Kenya


Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Kenya in January

Clear, hot days and warm nights make this high season a popular time for safaris and it’s also good for diving and snorkelling as water clarity is excellent and gets better as the dry season progresses. Most lodges and tented camps treat January after the New Year week is over, as mid-season, making it a good compromise in terms of value for money with reasonably reliable, dry weather and some greenery left in the landscape. Expert Africa bases its description of climate and weather in January, like the other months of the year, on the climate records of roughly the last 100 years, and it's fair to say that the weather and seasons since the beginning of this century have been highly irregular and unpredictable.

  • On average, January is the second driest month of the year
  • Elephants dig waterholes in the dry riverbed in the Samburu reserve.
  • Wildebeest and many antelope have their calving season, to February.
  • Migrant birds are seen in huge numbers, especially in the Rift Valley.
  • Sea water clarity around the coral reefs generally good.

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in January

Kenya in February

With the long dry season well established, the grass grazed down and wildlife gathering close to water points, this is still a good time for a safari. Good water clarity in the Indian Ocean's coastal waters makes for excellent diving and snorkelling conditions. Expert Africa bases its description of climate and weather in February, like the other months of the year, on the climate records of roughly the last 100 years, and it's fair to say that the weather and seasons since the beginning of this century have been highly irregular and unpredictable.

  • On average, February is the driest month of the year.
  • It’s sometimes possible to swim with whale sharks at Diani Beach.
  • Migrant birds are still seen everywhere, especially near water.
  • This is usually peak calving season for wildebeest and many antelopes.
  • This month is often the hottest of the year, especially on the coast.

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in February

Kenya in March

Hot, increasingly humid weather – with good diving and snorkelling conditions at the start of the month – gives way to rains and lower accommodation costs. Expert Africa bases its description of climate and weather in March, like the other months of the year, on the climate records of roughly the last 100 years, and predicting the seasons since the beginning of this century has been difficult. March is the month when – traditionally – intensely hot conditions build up until a cloudburst finally happens at the end of the month or in early April, to relieve the humidity. As ever, regional variations across the country can greatly impact on visitors' experiences.

  • Sea-water clarity is best for diving before the long rains start.
  • Visitor numbers are low, though the Easter holidays can be busier.
  • Night skies can be scintillatingly clear in early March.
  • Cropped down savannah grasses can make it easier to see the wildlife.
  • Temperartures climb high, especially at lower elevations.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in March

Kenya in April

April sees the full onset of the southeast monsoon wind or kusi, which heralds the long rains. Temperatures drop soon after the rains are established and you’ll often have facilities largely to yourself in this more affordable low season, sometimes known as the "green season". The bush quickly springs to life, with greenery sprouting almost before your eyes. While you're likely to get a fair number of heavy showers, the breaks in the rain can yield sparklingly clear conditions. With the dust settled and bright sun piercing the clouds, conditions can be sublime for photography, especially first thing in the morning or in the late afternoon with another storm brewing. You may be lucky, or you may find conditions very wet and muddy.

  • A wet month, the coast often gets more than 300mm (12in) of rain.
  • Sunny spells can provide great light for photography.
  • Buffalo and zebra calving season often happens in this month.
  • Baby crocodiles hatch, for example on Central Island in Lake Turkana.
  • Palearctic migrant birds gather to fly north to breeding grounds.

Our view

A time to avoid if possible

Weather in April

Kenya in May

While game viewing can be trickier as vegetation runs riot, between the cloudbursts the colours and light are great for photography at this time of year. Expert Africa bases its description of climate and weather in May, like the other months of the year, on the climate records of roughly the last 100 years, and while it's reasonable to expect heavy rains in many parts during this month, especially on the coast, the rains don't always come evenly or in some areas come at all. In an El Niño year, the so-called long rains that normally are established across much of the country by May can be meagre, to the despair of farmers. On the other hand in a La Niña year, the long rains can bring floods. On the coast, the monsoon winds make the climate much more predictable, with heavy rains common from throughout this month.

  • Frogs breed in the ponds in the Arabuko Sokoke Forest near Watamu.
  • Wildebeest, impala and other grazers are in rut (the breeding season).
  • Kilimanjaro looks its best as heavy rain falls as snow on the summit.
  • There's a sharp peek of rainfall on the coast with many rainy days.
  • Accommodation prices are uniformly low, while some camps close.

Our view

A time to avoid if possible

Weather in May

Kenya in June

The rains give way to cloudy, cooler weather, often making for comfortable conditions by the end of the month, especially in the highlands. Starting from mid-June or the beginning of July and running until the end of October, this is the high season, and accordingly has higher accommodation rates and – at least until early September – higher numbers of visitors. While the early part of June can often be rainy on the coast, it can be a great time to go on safari, with fresh greenery, many young animals and good photographic conditions with clear air.

  • The Taru Desert, inland from the coast, is carpeted with flowers.
  • The Lake Turkana Cultural Festival is held in Loiyangalani.
  • Madaraka Day (commemorating self rule) is 1 June.
  • The annual Lewa marathon runs a course through the wildlife.
  • The Diani Rules "sports" event rips up the rulebook at Diani Beach.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in June

Kenya in July

Kenya’s “winter" season sets in (winter is a misnomer but locals feel the change), and the highlands can be rather grey. Skies are often cloudy and the days can be surprisingly cool, with an average daytime high in many highland safari areas of 15-20°C and night-time temperatures dropping below 10°C in Nairobi and the highlands. Lower parts of the country and the coast are usually warm and dry, typically reaching highs of around 25°C with lows in the high teens. As this is the start of the high season, coinciding with the usual arrival of the wildebeest migration in the Maasai Mara, July is a busy month. Ask your Expert Africa specialist to advise on how to avoid the crowds, which is not that difficult to do.

  • The wildebeest migration usually reaches the Maasai Mara in July.
  • Simbi Lake (Kisumu) and Crater Lake (Naivasha) can attract flamingoes.
  • Watersports start to pick up and some surfing is possible at Malindi.
  • Afternoon thunderstorms are a common feature in the Maasai Mara.
  • The sea can be choppy along the coast, making diving difficult.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in July

Kenya in August

The Great Migration fills the plains of the Maasai Mara, and school’s out, so the park roads are full of tourists – ask your Expert Africa specialist for advice on crowd avoidance tactics. Choose a private conservancy rather than a public national park or national reseve for quieter conditions. Like July, August is generally mild and relatively dry in the safari areas, but it can be very chilly in the highlands, even in the middle of the day, and hail occasionally falls above altitudes of around 2,400m (8,000ft). Nairobi can be disappointingly overcast, with low cloud.

  • Apart from Christmas holidays, this is the busiest month of the year.
  • Late August sees peak wildebeest drama at the Mara River crossings.
  • Coastal winds are good for kite- and wind-surfing.
  • Few mosquitoes are around at this generally dry time of year.
  • The annual Camel Derby takes place in the Samburu capital, Maralal.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in August

Kenya in September

The skies clearing of cloud signals the start of hot, dry weather with little chance of rain – and, after the first few days of the month, far fewer visitors – making the latter part of September a good time for a quieter safari. While early September is often good for dramatic migration crossings along the Mara River, you might consider deliberately postponing your trip until later in the month, when the migration can still be very impressive and visitor numbers fewer. If tourist surges are somewhat predictable, however, the patterns of the wildebeest migration are more volatile, and like all of Expert Africa's climate and weather assessments, they are based on accumulated years of experience rather than guaranteed certainty.

  • This is still high season, with prices to match.
  • Many river crossings take place on the Mara river in both directions.
  • Natural bush fires flush out insects and small animals for predators.
  • The Rift Valley Music Festival takes place by Lake Naivasha.
  • With school holidays over by early September, late-month is quieter.

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in September

Kenya in October

Still hot, mostly dry and not too busy, this is many people’s preferred month for a safari, and it’s also good for diving and snorkelling. The wildebeest and zebra herds of the great migration are often still to be seen, though in dwindling numbers. The swamps of Amboseli attract thirsty wildlife including large herds of elephants. While we wouldn't expect much rain across most of the country this month, the climate has become so unpredictable that you can never say never, and the possibiity of the short rains – usually associated with November to mid-December, starting early, can't be discounted.

  • This month sees the tail end of the great migration in the Mara.
  • Palearctic migrant birds start to arrive, staying until March.
  • Turtle nests hatch at Watamu, until November.
  • Amboseli elephants focus on the swamps for their daily water.
  • The Indian Ocean monsoon winds turn from southeast to northeast.

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in October

Kenya in November

The northeast monsoon wind or kaskazi heralds the start of the “short rains", usually some time in the second half of the month. From November to mid-December, this is the low season, and accordingly has lower accommodation rates and lower visitor numbers. Across most of the country you can expect warm, somewhat cloudy weather, with occasional heavy showers and localised flooding. Expert Africa bases its description of the climate in November, like the other months of the year, on the records of roughly the last 100 years, and it's fair to say that the seasons since the beginning of this century have been highly irregular and unpredictable: some years the short rains don't come at all, or don't reach every part of the country. In an El Niño year, the November short rains can be very heavy, but in a La Niña year, they can fail completely.

  • Swimming with dolphins in Lamu can be done from now until April.
  • Birders gather at Ngulia in Tsavo West to ring Palearctic migrants.
  • The Lamu Cultural Festival takes over the town and Lamu Creek.
  • Agricultural shows often take place regional market towns.
  • This is low season, so camps can be great value, with special offers.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in November

Kenya in December

In a typical December, the rains usually finish by middle of the month, leaving the landscape looking its best, under clear blue skies, and heralding the start of the second peak tourist season from around 20 December to the first week of January. Our assessment of the likely weather in December, like the other months of the year, is based on climate records, and it's fair to say that the seasons since the beginning of this century have been highly irregular and unpredictable. Christmas can sometimes be wet, but most years the rains have finished a week or two earlier, with the festive season ushering in the perfect combination of clear skies and sunshine by day and starry nights.

  • Christmas and New Year are busy, with the lodges and camps full.
  • Rates are highest after 24 Dec, with supplements on public holidays.
  • Republic Day and Independence day are celebrated on 12 December.
  • Good kite- and wind-surfing restarts, with strong northeasterly winds.
  • Mango season begins, providing excitement for primates and elephants.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in December

Kenya fact file

Useful information and advice to help you prepare for a trip including Tsavo East National Park.


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