Tsavo National Park
Tsavo is the largest national park in Kenya and because of the size, the park was split into two, Tsavo West and Tsavo East. The division is the Nairobi-Mombasa Highway.Tsavo National Park possesses volcanic hills, four rivers, more than 60 major mammal species and 1000 plant species. The northern part of Tsavo West is the most developed with spectacular scenery. The two watering holes, Mzima Springs and the Chaimu Crater are a highlight of Tsavo. Wildlife is not as easily spotted in Tsavo West because of the tall vegetation.Tsavo East is famous for its large herds of elephant with most of the wildlife sights taking place around the Galana River.
Tsavo West National Park
The watering holes in Tsavo West are found at Mzima Springs, a freshwater pool that provides much of Mombasa's fresh water. As the most popular attraction in Tsavo West National Park, Mzima Springs has two large pools connected by rapids and the early morning is best for catching sight of animals coming for a drink especially if some of the night creatures are still around. Crocodiles and hippos favor Mzima Springs and an underwater viewing chamber allows visitors to see thousands of primitive fish.Chaimu Crater offers magnificent views of falcons, eagles and buzzards. It is possible to climb to the crater's rim but the lava is brittle and unstable.Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary is another attraction with Tsavo West National Park. The area is surrounded by electric fence providing security for the black rhinos. Other animals found within the enclosure include elephants and buffalo.The diverse habitat of Tsavo West ranges from mountains, and lakes to wooded grassland. The Plains area borders with the Southern Serengeti plains in Tanzania. Visitors will enjoy walking the numerous nature trails. Over 400 different species of birds have made an appearance in Tsavo West National Park. As a migration corridor, many birds from the Northern Hemisphere pass over between September and December. Starlings, weaverbirds, hornbills, rollers, raptors, herons and storks have been sighted.During WW I Tsavo West was a major battleground where British and German troops battled.
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The volcanic Taita Hills are a fertile area west of the Mombasa-Nairobi highway. The hills include three groups: the Dabida, Sagalla and Kasigau. African violets have their origins in the Taita Hills with over twenty different species growing.Taita Hills Game Sanctuary is a privately owned game reserve operated by the Hilton Hotels International who own two game lodges within the sanctuary. A variety of wildlife can be viewed in their natural habitat including lions, elephants, leopards, giraffes and cheetahs. The lodges offer nocturnal wildlife drives for anyone staying at the facilities.Bird watchers will find an abundant amount of bird life including the extremely rare Taita Falcon, a bird recorded in early Egyptian hieroglyphics.
Wundanyi is set up high in the Taita Hills and a pleasant stop for respite from the heat of Tsavo. The cultivated slopes around Wundanyi lead to gorges, waterfalls and cliffs - all offering spectacular views. The original African violets were discovered in the Taita Hills and the East Africa Biodiversity Project is working to preserve the current ecosystem.Other attractions in the hills surrounding Wundanyi include Ngangao Forest, Wesu Rock and the Cave of Skulls. The Cave of Skulls is believed to have some sacred purpose and became the final resting place for ancestral skulls of the Taita people.
Tsavo East National Park
The main track through Tsavo East National Park follows the Galana River. This is where much of the wildlife is spotted including a plethora of crocodiles and hippos.Tsavo East is a popular park for safaris as it offers true wilderness with a wide variety of vegetation and some of the largest herds of elephants in Kenya. Tsavo East is recommended for photographers offering the landscape of Lugards Falls and the Mudanda Rock, which towers over a natural dam.Over 500 bird species have been recorded in Tsavo East National Park including the ostrich, and migratory birds like kestrels and buzzards.
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