Tsavo National Park, Safaris, Lodges and tented Camps in Tsavo East and West
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    Kipalo Camp Mbulia Group Ranch Tsavo National Park Kenya Africa

    Kipalo camp is an exclusive safari camp that is perfectly nestled into the Mbulia Hills overlooking the Tsavo West National Park and Mount Kilimanjaro in the distance, the rolling kopjes as far as the eye can see create secret valleys and make sure every hike and fly camp is an ad-venture, Kipalo Tented camp is a simple comfortable tented camp set in 12,000 acres of conservancy, Kipalo means “a special place where one returns to again and again” in the Taita language, The Mbulia Hills Conservancy is a really important dry season dispersal area for mainly Elephant and Buffalo, but there are numerous other species of wildlife and the birding is fantastic, go on day game drives, night drives and cultural visits to local Taita villages, Mbulia Conservancy will be fenced into Tsavo West National Park, and is an important dispersal area for wildlife, the protection of the Wildlife in this area, coupled with rising figures of poaching in Africa, was one of the main reasons for the initiation of Kipalo and the conservancy. Five years ago the community living in the Mbulia Group Ranch decided that they wanted to begin a tourism initiative on their land and so 12,000 acres of land was leased from the community to create Mbulia Conservancy where Kipalo safari camp is situated. This ambitious project has set to protect about 6,000 elephants that are currently threatened by poachers still the goal. The plan is to build a fence along the southern border of Tsavo West, who then also includes the new game reserve. The owner of the camp have been collected along with their dedicated staff with over 800 traps and snares, and are just about to dismantle the illegally constructed dwellings and camps of poachers. The Kipalo Camp Tsavo is delightful. High on a rocky plateau load the spacious, airy lounge and swimming pool to relax. The tents are living far apart and all oriented with wonderful views of the spectacular scenery - just impenetrable wilderness as far as the eye can see! There are plans to replace the mobile tented accommodation by fixed soon bungalows, which will then provide an even greater comfort. Your tent is very cozy and feels extremely comfortable and with hot water for showers after each outing. For now Kipalo camp Tsavo is a simple comfortable tented-camp complete with friendly service from the local community, consisting of 8 luxury double mobile tents with en-suite flushing loo and shower (hot and cold plumbed water) with a wide array of activities. The intended future of Kipalo camp Kenya is to expand into a fully operational luxury safari lodge built into the rocky kopje featuring a mess area that overlooks the valley below and a waterhole attracting a wide array of wildlife in this unique Kenyan environment. What a luxury! The Mbulia Wildlife Reserve is truly a Mecca for bird lovers, honey suckers, King Widows, a Chanting Goshawk, a narrow tail Paradieswitwe, Chestnut Weaver, Spotted Flycatcher, a blue neck-mouse bird, a Zügelastrild, Rosenamarante, bronze plaque doves and a Schmetterlingsastrild. Countless red-billed weavers are our constant companions, a wonderful spectacle that will fascinates you again and again. The local community receives a conservation fee for each guest; this money is put towards the maintenance of the conservancy and bettering the lives of the community. The recently opened Kipalo luxury camp offers stunning views across the plains of Tsavo and boasts an outdoor swimming pool, a welcome treat for guests in the dry heat. The waterhole below Kipalo camp attracts a range of wildlife including elephants, buffalo and leopards which can be spotted as they descend on the area for an early morning drink, getting to Kipalo camp kenia is easy as there are scheduled air service, safarilink fly once a day 07.30-8.20 to Kilaguni lodge, followed by 3 hour game drive through the Tsavo park and rhino sanctuary (vehicle with refreshments and snacks) Additional option of flight to Voi. (Special conditions apply contact for more information) Drive from Nairobi is 5 hours Mostly on tarmac followed by 15km of off-road driving (4 wheel drive necessary on self drive safaris to Tsavo. There is a lounge mess and dining area, and a swimming pool to take cooling dips in. The camp offers delicious, fresh cuisine, as well as sundowners and bush breakfasts. Virtually all the staff employed at Kipalo Camp Africa are from the surrounding area or local community - and belong to the Taita community. The Taita people are a Bantu tribe living in the Taita Hills on Kenya's southwest, near the Tanzania border and surrounding plains. What is known as the Taita tribe actually consists of three separate but closely-related tribes: Wadawida (or Taita), Wasaghala (Sagalla) and Wataveta (Taveta). The languages of these three tribes are very similar to each other and to the Swahili language.

     

    Kipalo Camp Accommodation

     

    Kipalo Camp comprises of 8 double and twin luxury safari tents sleeping 16. The interior reflects the lime green and ash grey of the Commiphora Africana and dark red soils that define the Tsavo landscape. Featuring a stunning swimming pool set into the hard stone, Kipalo is well-equipped for the hot dry temperatures Tsavo can reach in the dry season. Built into the side of the Mbulia Hills, both the swimming pool and the mess area overlook the plains of Tsavo, Kipalo Camp Africa is part of the new Mbulia group Ranch Conservancy, The conservancy is a really important dry season dispersal area for elephant and buffalo, but there are numerous other species of wildlife including Leopard, Lion and the elusive African Wild dog. This part of Kenya shows off fabulous colors, a photographers dream, where dark rich red soils and green and grey acacia trees all contrast against the blue African sky. Mbulia is comprised of rolling rocky kopjes and escarpments sheltering hidden valleys, which roll out onto flat savannah and scrub acacia, and in the distance the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro rears proud and beautiful. With its proximity to Mombasa (less than 100 km away) Mbulia is great Kenya safari option for those staying on the Mombassa or Malindi, or those planning to relax on Kenya's beaches after an arduous safari to Kenya adventure.

     

    Tsavo National Park

     

    Tsavo National Park in Kenya, East Africa, was established in 1948 covering an area of 21,800 square km, making it the largest park in Kenya. The park was divided into Tsavo East National Park and Tsavo West National Park for administrative purposes and is split by the Nairobi – Mombasa railway/highway. Today the total Tsavo Conservation Area comprises a region of 64,000 sq km. Mbulia Ranch, together with other community ranches, is situated directly on the boundary of Tsavo West. Traditionally, the Mbulia land was used for livestock grazing, but due to low annual rainfall (average of 400 mm per year) could not support herds of livestock large enough for commercial sustainability. Small scale farming was also not successful due to lack of water and high human/wildlife conflict in the area and therefore the Mbulia community are presently not benefiting from their land at all. However, Mbulia is a vital dispersal area for about 700 elephants particularly during dry seasons. After four long years of negotiations New African Territories now has a signed lease agreement with the Mbulia Group Ranch for 35 years to create a conservancy and an eco lodge on 11,400 acres of their land. The Mbulia community will benefit greatly through this cooperation in terms of employment and training, the annual lease payment, a percentage of revenue earned, as well as through community projects. Last, but not least more space for wildlife is created! Since Mbulia borders Tsavo West National Park directly, this venture assists the park’s animal species greatly, also in terms of creating a protected buffer zone making illegal access to the park harder for poachers. Further the crucial dry season dispersal area for 700 elephants is secured and the project has Kenya Wildlife Service’s full support. Tamsin Corcoran, Director New African Territories is in charge of the entire project. Tamsin has spent the last 25 years working in lodges and tourism all over Kenya. She incorporates the local community where possible into her projects and by creating awareness with international guests has managed to improve local lifestyles and get financial backing for schools, teachers, student scholarships and community projects, such as tree nurseries, beading and basket weaving groups and conservation projects in some of the areas she has worked in. Nana Grosse-Woodley is the Conservancy Manager, responsible for developing and managing the conservancy for the Mbulia Group Ranch members. Nana has lived the past 14 years in different areas of Tsavo National Park and gained good insight and experience of wildlife conservation and management. She has hand-reared and rehabilitated several orphaned wild cats species, including leopard, and other wildlife species. Being a photographer by trade, she has published the Tsavo Trilogy book and numerous articles on wildlife conservation.

     

    Tsavo West National Park

     

    These contiguous but separately administered national parks, set on either side of the main highway connecting Nairobi and Mombasa, extend over an area larger than Wales or South Africa’s legendary Kruger National Park. Though the two parks share a common border, they are quite different in character. Tsavo West protects a volcanic landscape of jagged outcrops and solidified lava flows overshadowed by Kilimanjaro on the southwest horizon. The larger Tsavo East protects a flatter habitat of red earth and dry acacia scrub alleviated by the perennial Galana River (Kenya’s second-longest) and various tributaries. Though neither park is as popular as the Masai Mara or Amboseli, Tsavo West is the busier of the two, with a well defined "developed area" protecting all the Big Five, and black rhino being relatively easy to locate in the fenced and guarded Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary. A highlight of Tsavo West is the oasis-like Mzima Springs, where subterranean water emerges at a daily rate of more than 200 million liters into a series of crystal clear pools inhabited by hippo and surrounded by lush palm and fever-tree forest that can be explored along a clearly marked walking trail. Tsavo East has more of a remote wilderness atmosphere than Kenya’s other main parks, and while game viewing can be erratic, it is usually quite good. Elephants are particularly common, cheetah are often seen around the main Voi Gate, and there’s a good chance of encountering a selection of dry-country wildlife absent from other reserves in southern Kenya, notably gerenuk, fringe-eared oryx and hirola, the latter an endangered northeast Kenyan endemic that was introduced to this part of Tsavo East in the 1960s. For those mainly on a beach holiday, Tsavo East is also very well suited to short safaris out of Malindi, Mombasa and other coastal resorts. There is a place in Kenya where nature and wildlife can be explored like you’ve never explored one before. It’s in the Tsavo West National Park, the land with magnificent scenery and varied wildlife. Despite being smaller than that of Tsavo East, Tsavo West is frequented by more visitors each year. It is perhaps because of its breathtaking views that have become a haven for wild animals. This 9,000 kilometer game park is also famous for the Mzima Springs, what with its unique underwater hippo observatory. And there are instances where it is better to explore the park on foot, like going to the Chaimu volcanic crater and Shaitana lava flows. A rhino sanctuary and an elephant habitat, Tsavo West National Park is operated by the Kenya Wildlife Service, which employs more than 300 personnel to maintain the park as well as serve the tourists. Despite having a lot of personnel, Kenya Wildlife Service allows the vast ecosystem to take its natural course and is only there to protect them from outside threats. Lions, said to be descendants of the man-eating lions that attacked British engineers who built the railway, are often seen in the park. But the most common creatures here are elephants, rhino, cheetah, leopard, buffalo, giraffe and zebras. Because of its mountainous terrain, some believe that it has the potential to be a rock climbing site. The Mountain Club of Kenya (MCK) was the first to explore the cliffs inside the park in 1978. Several ascent routes were mapped out. Mountain climbing enthusiasts who wish to conquer the mountains should initially contact MCK. The not-so-tough adventure seeker can just sit back and relax in the park’s array of accommodations which include the Finch Hattons Camp, one of Kenya’s luxury tented camps. This camp is built near hippo pools so sight seeing at the comfort of the camp is a common activity for guests.

     

    Tsavo East National Park

     

    Airstrips in the park allow guests to come in via light charter planes. But for those who will visit the park through land transportation, they can access the park through three main gates: the Bachuma gate from Mombasa, Sala Gate from Malindi and the Manyani gate from Voi. Actually, the park’s name was derived from the Tsavo River which converges with Athi River to form the Galana. The two rivers separate Tsavo East from Tsavo West. The eastern part of the Tsavo National Park, slightly bigger than its western counterpart, is consisted mainly of grasslands which are generally flat and dry. Conservationists consider this area as one of the world’s strongholds when it comes to biodiversity, mainly due to the wildlife that proliferates here. Occasionally, you will see elephants and other wild animals walking along the roads. A mix of migratory and native birds can be seen especially in late October until early January. These include goshawks, palm nut vultures, African skimmers and white headed buffalo weavers. Camping activities are regularly held inside the park. Among Tsavo East National Park’s attractions is the Yatta Plateau, billed as the world’s longest lava flow. It actually runs along the western portions of the park, slightly above the Athi River. With a 290-kilometer length, the plateau was formed from the lava that came from Ol Doinyo Sabuk Mountain. The Mundanda Rock is yet another scenic spot inside the park. Here is where wild animals usually go to before embarking on a quest for water especially during the dry season. The Lugard Falls, on the other hand, is a long series of strong rapids on the river Galana, where crocodiles hunt for food.

     

    Man Eaters of Tsavo

     

    Written by Colonel JH Patterson, it is a true story and tells of when he was in charge of building a bridge for the Uganda Railway over the Tsavo river in 1898. During the night some of his workers were continually being dragged from their tents and then killed by to large male lions. After some time the workers started to believe that because the lions were so fearless, it was actually the Devil in the shape of a lion that was doing this.

     

    In December 1898, after the death toll had risen to 28 Indian workers and a large number of locals, work on the bridge was brought to a halt, until the lions had been shot. After many nights of waiting, Colonel Patterson did eventually kill the lions, which are now on display in the Chicago Natural History Museum in the USA.

     

    The Red Elephants of Tsavo

     

    You will often hear the elephants in Tsavo being referred to as "Red Elephants" and whist they do sometimes appear to be red, the colour of their skin is no different than that of other elephants, it is just down to the red soil that much of Tsavo is covered in and which the elephants use to cover themselves with, during their dust baths. At one time there were around 50000 elephants in Tsavo, which were having a detrimental effect on the vegetation and there was talk of culling to decrease their numbers, but before this was put in place, there was a severe drought during the late 1960's and early 70's, during which time the vast numbers of elephants ate pretty much all the edible vegetation and eventually nature took it's course many starved to death, along with many other animals including black rhino. The drought, along with a serious poaching problem, mean that today there are between five and six thousand elephants, but their vastly reduced numbers mean that the vegetation is recovering and in some places is even thicker than before. This along with good conservation means that the elephant and other animal populations are increasing as well.

     

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