Tsavo National Park, Safaris, Lodges and tented Camps in Tsavo East and West
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    Ithumba Safari Camp Tsavo East, Kenya & David Sheldrick Elephant Trust

    Ithumba Camp is a luxury safari camp located on the north of Tsavo East, above the Galana River and situated between bush and acacia trees, the private Ithumba Camp belongs to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and primarily reserved for its donors, the donators can tour the elephant orphans in the near by Ithumba station two times a day and they will enjoy even the midday mud-bath and the feeding of the lovely elephant orphan! If you have any affinity for elephants whatsoever, Ithumba safari Camp needs to be on your bucket list because it really is the only place where you can interact with elephants completely in the wild. There is nothing quite like it, Ithumba Tented Camp is an intimate self-serve tented camp, During the evenings, you will have an opportunity to enjoy the solitude at night, listening to stories of the bush by our wonderful guides, Lionel and Nick. On our arrival at Ithumba Camp Tsavo you will be led to the mud baths to meet the orphans and ex-orphans, (that is, those orphans that do not require milk any more – usually at 8 years old – as such, they do not need to return to the stockades at night for protection). One can’t quite describe the experience of going from emptiness and complete silence in one minute to the sounds of trumpeting the next with a herd of elephants rapidly coming straight towards you, ravenous for their morning milk feeding. And then there are the mud baths, It’s like watching kids go crazy in a sandbox – just extremely large kids, Ithumba safari Camp Tsavo, the only word to describe watching this scenario unfold before our eyes is incredible. your days at Ithumba tented camp tsavo is nothing short of amazing – literally just observing the older orphans and their wild elephant companions, feeding them milk, playing with their babies, and physically getting pushed around, That is what you come to Ithumba safari Camp Tsavo for. Being surrounded by these gentle giants for even a short time, you can get quite attached to them – each with their own unique personalities, you will adore Mulika, a sweet 12 year old female elephant who came to the Trust at seven months old, a victim of poaching. By her (and the others as they take turns babysitting) side at all times was her little baby, feisty Mwende – just under a year old – the first wild baby born from an orphan in Ithumba, But the one that you will became most attached to is Wendi, who was found only days old still with her umbilical cord intact, alone in a forest. Never having known her elephant mother and family, and having been raised by humans, she is very fond of humans. Now 10 and living in the wild, she is very much the Matriarch of the Ithumba bush camp orphans; she is mischievous, curious, funny and affectionate.

     

    She is one of the most endearing beings – human or elephant – you will ever meet. From here you can spot Dik Dik, Lesser Kudus and other little game and birds which come to the small waterhole! The Ithuba bush camp is completely fenced because there are many wild elephants around! From here you can also enjoy sundowners and breathtaking views of the surroundings. Guests at Ethumba camp have to book the whole safari camp to ensure a very private stay. Guests have to arrange for their own food and drinks but arrangements can be made if they wish to have meals at the safari camp. Donators can visit the elephant orphans in the nearby Ithumba station two times a day and they will enjoy even the midday mud-bath and the feeding of the lovely elephants, once you book, there are no other guest and there is no other camp in this area! Foot and drinks is what we have to carry! If you book with us, we will arrange all breakfast, lunch and dinner for you! Due to its small size (four tents) and proximity to elephants (both orphans and wild ones), Ithumba gets booked up really fast – often a year in advance. As a self-serve camp, most people book the whole camp as a safari group with a guide and a cook and their own food supplies. More seasoned campers just come on their own. All the tents connect to open air bathrooms and within a few 100 feet of a large pavilion, attached to a spacious kitchen, where you dine and chill when you are not in the bush. To say the camp is remote would be an understatement, there is literally only one boulder in the whole area that you must climb and stick your arm out in order to get cell reception. It is also the only camp in the area.

     

    Tsavo National Park

     

    The Tsavo National Park was established on 1st April, 1948 and is located about 200km south east of Nairobi and is the closest large National Park to Mombasa and makes the ideal safari location if you are staying on the coast anywhere around Mombasa, Bamburi beach or Malindi. Split in half by the Nairobi to Mombasa road, the Tsavo National park in Kenya has an area of 8035 square miles, which means that it covers an area larger than Wales and is much bigger than the more famous Masai Mara National Park. To the east of the main Nairobi-Mombasa road lies Tsavo East and on the western side... you guest it: Tsavo West, open savannah woodland and bush. You will see Elephants, Giraffe, gazelles and many more herbivores. You should see Lions and buffalo with a possibility of cheetah, leopard and rhino. There are a couple of good safari lodges at Voi Lodge and Ngulia Lodge and other accommodation called 'Bandas' which are basic huts, together with a couple of camp sites. Tsavo is the location for the now famous Mzima Springs, where you can visit an underground tank and view the underwater antics of the local aquatic life. There is also a fenced Rhino reserve within the National Park where you are likely to have the best chance of viewing these shy creatures! (We saw just one after an hour or so of 'hunting', and then it was over 100mtrs off the track - with its back to us! I don't know to this day how we spotted it!) You will get all elephanted out with any luck on your first day - We had a quick reverse back down a dirt track to avoid being charged by a big bull elephant, escorting his family across our route. A most exiting experience! There are occasional views of a distant Mount Kilimanjaro from within Tsavo. The mountain is located at the north-eastern tip of Tanzania at the border with Kenya. For the adventurous, a climb up to the summit Mount Kilimanjaro is a must - taking you through the mists of equatorial jungle to reach the snows and breath-taking views from the summit. You have to be fit to attempt this climb - not the walk it may look like from below. Getting back to Tsavo itself - It is the home of the 'Maneaters of Tsavo', Lions that have taken more human prey than anywhere else in Africa - A fearless bunch, and a warning not to get out of your vehicle unless you are escorted by armed Askaris. The maneaters of Tsavo gained their reputation during the building of the Mombasa to Uganda railway, munching their way through a dozen or so souls!

     

    Kenya National Parks are controlled by Kenya Wildlife Services, who look after and protect the areas. The wages of workers in the National Parks are usually funded by entrance fees charged for safaris and tours. Unlike Game Reserves, National Parks allow strictly no human habitation.

     

    Tsavo East Safari

     

    Kenya is cut from a different cloth to any other holiday destination on the mainstream tourism market. Dust-devilled plains, wind-rippled grasslands and raucous waterholes are the threads of this country’s unique fabric. Most people come for Kenya safari to stalk the Big Five. The most famous reserves are Tsavo East, Tsavo West and Masai Mara. Red elephants cavalcade through Tsavo East, black rhinos eyeball each other on Tsavo East, and Masai warriors pogo jump their way through ceremonial dances in Masai Mara. The beaches are Kenya’s best kept secret. In Nyali Beach, Diani Beach and Watumu Beach, white sand beaches are skewered with palm trees. The hotels in these resorts accessories the country’s beautiful birthday suit with infinity pools and luxury lodge-style accommodation. If you combine the two Tsavo parks - East and West - you are left with one of the largest Wildlife sanctuaries in the world: 20,000 sq. km of protected terrain Measuring 8500 mi², Tsavo is the largest national park in Kenya and due to its size it has been spilt into two areas – Tsavo East and Tsavo West. It borders the Chyulu Hills National Park and the Mkomazi Game Reserve in Tanzania. Northeast of the highway, the railway, and the apparent natural divide that separates Kenya’s northern and Southern environments, lies Tsavo East National Park. Although it is the larger part of the combined Tsavo parks, the sector north of the Galana River has few tracks and is much less visited .South of the river, the great triangle of the flat wilderness, with Aruba Dam in the middle, has become popular with safaris operated from the coast, since it offers a pretty sure chance of seeing plenty of animals, in a very open environment. Apart from some tumbled crags and scarps near Voi, and the rocky cleft of the Galana River (fed by the Tsavo and the Athi), Tsavo East is an uninter-forbiddingly enormous reserve and at times over the last three decades has seemed an odd folly, especially since its northern area was closed to the public for many years due o the long war against elephant and rhino poachers. Since the 1990s, this campaign has been largely won and the elephants are once again on the increase, their numbers swelled by a major KWS trans-location operation that moved three hundred elephants from Shimba Hills. Rhinos are still very rare in Tsavo East and numbers exceedingly hard to estimate but it’s believed there may be about fifty individuals, mostly in the north .With the northern sector secure and rangers in place, the whole of Tsavo East was opened for tourism in 2006, though infrastructure north of the Galana is still basic There are scheduled flights to Tsavo East, but access via the gates along the Mombasa highway is relatively straight forward. From north to south, these are: Mtito Andei Gate East, which gives access to the northern sector; Voi Gate, near Mudanda Rock: and Buchuma Gate at the southern tip, little more than an hours drive from Mombasa. On the east side of the park, Sala Gate offers access from Malindi. Its 105km due west of the coastal resort, and there is a small cluster of camps and lodges just outside the park boundary. If you’re driving from Malindi, youll find the first 40km over coral rock quite jarring, but the views across the Sabaki plain are good. The remaining 65km over red murram and gravel are mostly fairly smooth, though heavy rain can cause delays. Allow three hours to reach the gate, and be prepared to make a fixed 7am start from the police barrier outside Malindi. You have to travel in convoy-although as with the convoy between Amboseli and Tsavo West, there no longer appears to be any security threat. If you try this route by public transport, you’ll find few matatus venture west of Kakoneni, 30km from Malindi.

     

    Hotel Accommodation Tsavo East

     

    Tsavo East’s accommodation options are more numerous and varied than you might expect. The following listings include most of those inside the park itself, but outside the park you’ll find cheaper options, as well as one or two good lodges and tented camps. Those outside the park, around Voi and off the Mombasa Highway, are covered , while just outside Sala Gate,on the road between the park and Malindi, is small cluster of fairly basic camps where you might find yourself booked on a safari , or need to call in for lunch or a last-minute overnight stay. Just 200m east of Sala Gate, Tsavo Buffalo Camp and Tsavo River Hill are two sides of the same Italian-run operation, where you can get lunch .River Hill is the slightly more up market choice, with fake gold taps and ornate furnishings in large rondavels (FB) while Buffalo has basic, small cottages with nets (FB) .Some 3km further east is Crocodile Camp : no children under 8; FB which offers small, air-conditioned tents, and much preferable cottages ,also air-conditioned but without nets, all set along the river .Casual visitors are welcome for lunch .Its in a good spot and you enter reception across a small pond, whose bridge is festooned with fat monitor lizards. There’s only one public campsite in the park, Ndololo, run by KWS which is 7km from Voi gate, at the western edge of Kanderi Swamp and off junction #173 .This has showers, toilets and free firewood, but no other facilities. Epiya Chapeyu 5km east of junction #163 on the south bank of the Galana River .Unstuffy, Italian-run camp in a lovely location. The fourteen tents are closely spaced, the better ones in the front row facing the river, but they don’t have nets or front decks. You are, however, down close to the river. Not fancy, but very good value, and casual visitors are welcome for lunch .FB Galdesa Camp 4km north of junction #111 on the south bank of the Galana. This spectacular, Italian-owned luxury camp is stunningly conceived and located above the river. With wonderful staff and ambience, lavish and comfortably furnished banda- tents, superb, hairy, Italian cooking and extraordinary attention to detail, its by far Tsavo Easts best camp. It’s situated in one of the few areas of Tsavo East where you have a chance of spotting black rhino and elephants are nearly always seen crossing here. Closed May .FB Satao Camp Off junction #144 .Engagingly managed by its experienced safari host, Satao has a fine, low-key ambience, with its thatch-covered, slightly old-fashioned tents, ranged beneath big trees. The atmosphere suits visitors who want to relax in the bush and enjoy the wildlife –elephants ,occasional lions and plains game attracted to the waterhole .As well as the ordinary tents, there are larger “suite “ tents ,for a thirty percent surcharge, with fridges and large beds. Solar-heated hot water is only available in the evening’s .FB. Voi Safari Lodge 3km north of Voi Gate on the rocky crag. Not to be confused with the brashly over sized Voi Wildlife Lodge (just outside the park but on the south side of town, this fifty-room lodge is quite busy enough, and similar in many respects to its sister established ,Ngulia Safari Lodge in Tsavo West. Admittedly, the rooms aren’t huge, but despite the shortcomings of its style (its actually a rather fun 1970s glam-kitsch: look out for the photo of Miss World 1972), this is a perennial favourite for its near-guaranteed game-viewing from the terrace, and the magnificent panorama plunging to the horizon.FB. With minibus safaris increasingly taking in Tsavo East, the emptiness of the park ,is no longer as overwhelming as it was, but the parks vastness means that for much of the time, you will still have the pleasure of exploring the wilderness completely alone. It’s easy to get away off the two or three beaten tracks, and you may find something special- a serval perhaps, or a striped hyena. You’re also very likely to see some of

     

    Tsavo East Elephants.

     

    Tsavo East Elephant Orphans Until a few years ago, the scarcity of mature bull and matriarch elephants was still noticeable after so many had been killed by poachers .These days, good-sized herds and large tuskers are increasingly common. As well as the KWS relocation of elephants from the coast, much of the hard work in re-establishing elephants in Tsavo East has been done by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust based in Nairobi. If you “adopt “an orphan, you can make arrangements to visit the release facilities ,either at the stockade near Voi Gate or the one near the Ithumba park headquarters in the far north. The trust has an exclusive –use self-catering camp at Ithumba,with three twin tents under thatched roofs, a communal area, and three staff, though its expensive for a DIY place. These visits are only available to sponsors by pre-arrangement.

     

    Game Drives Tsavo East National Park

     

    Most game drives from the camps near the Galana River use the main dirt road along the south bank of the river, and then strike south along the roads following tributary lug gas, up into the higher bush country between the Galana and Voi rivers. Lions, and occasionally cheetahs, can be seen along these water courses. The Galana River itself, with its fringing cordon of branching doum palms, creates a captivating backdrop, the sandy river bed often dotted with wildlife in the dry season. West of junction #110, above the confluence of the Tsavo and Athi Rivers and the start of the Galana, is Observation Hill, while downstream, east of junction#160, are the gently spectacular Lugard Falls, where you’re allowed to park and clamber around the bizarrely eroded rocks. Even in relatively dry conditions, the falls, progressing from foaming rapids to narrow cascades gouged deep into the rock, are quite impressive. A kilometer east of the falls, another short diversion takes you top Crocodile Point, something of a let-down as the crocs are extraordinarily hard to see unless you get up close, which you’re no longer allowed to do. Hippos are easier to spot from the vantage point. Heading south from the Galana,any of the park roads from junction #150 ,#111,#110,#161,#163,#198 or #174 can yield good results .Buffalo wallows Lugga (junction #110 ,then #159) ,is often rewarding, with the chance of seeing a leopard ,and plenty of birdlife .Some 2okm further southwest ,just north of junction #158 ,Mudanda Rock is particularly recommended .It resembles a scaled-down version of Australia’s Uluru, and towers above a natural dam, which ,during the dry season ,draws elephants in their hundreds. Starting out from the relatively busy Voi area, the wooden margins of the Voi River often hide a profusion of wildlife, and this area is one of the most promising in the park. Try Ndololo Campsite at junction #173 and the pretty Kanderi Swamp loop at #174.Keep your windows up when driving through the tall grass and undergrowth, not only for security against large animals, but as a defense against the tsetse flies that may mistake your vehicle for a large animal. Until 2007, the most obvious focus in Tsavo East was the formerly beautiful Aruba Dam on the Voi River, the marshy fringes of which were an excellent spot for bird-and animal-watching, and where decrepit Aruba Lodge nestled in the trees on the north shore. Sadly, a large tour operator has ruined the area with an obtrusive new mass-market lodge constructed inside a large fenced compound, and it will be years, if ever, before the area recovers. As of 2009, the lake was dry. The parks northern sector is most easily accessed from Mtito Andei Gate East, but in the dry season it’s also possible to cross into the northern sector over the Galana river bed at junction #160, the only crossing point. Beware of mistaking mud for the smooth rock bed: unwitting drivers sometimes get stuck. On the western side of the northern sector lies a huge, ancient lava flow, in the shape of the Yatta Plateau, stretching from Mtito Andei towards the Galana River, above the East bank Athi River.

     

    Ithumba Camp Booking

     

    For the ultimate in luxury and privacy, stay in a 5-star tented bush camp in the heart of a Big Five Tsavo game reserve. Here you will be able to interact with the wild in ways you perhaps couldn't have imagined. If there is one accommodation experience in Tsavo National Park bound to delight you, it has to be a stay in a tented safari camp in one of Tsavo National Park Big Five game reserves. Imagine spending the night under the African sky surrounded by the sounds of wild animals but knowing you are completely secure in your upmarket tented suite. There’s not much to beat this. The options in tented camps in Tsavo National Park are wide ranging, from budget tented camps that provide exhilarating bush experiences, to the five-star luxury tented camps found in Tsavo National Park. The latter have all the luxurious amenities you’d expect from a five-star hotel or lodge. Your 'tent' comes complete with en suite bathrooms, outdoor showers, mosquito nets and game viewing decks. For those seeking to get even closer to nature, mobile tented safaris – where comfortable mobile tented camps are set up deep in Tsavo National Park bush – provide intimate interactions with the wild. Here you really get to sleep among wild animals while fully protected by game rangers. Cast a gaze over some of the popular tented camps in Tsavo National Park

     

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