Tsavo West’s prolific birdlife features over 400-recorded species. Ngulia Hills, one of the landmarks in the park, is situated along one of the world’s busiest avian migration routes. Bird ringers make an annual pilgrimage here between October and January. Ngulia is the site of Africa’s foremost bird-ringing (tagging to enable individual bird identification) project. More than 100 migrant and resident species have been ringed here – the most prolific being marsh warbler, river warbler, red-backed shrike, thrush nightingale and common whitethroat. Tsavo West offers great bird watching in all seasons. Many of the more unusual specials are resident and can be spotted any time. Migratory birds, a real feature of the birding in the park, fill the trees, waterways and skies from November to April. Peak migration months are October and November. November and April are peak months for rainfall – good to keep in mind if birding is your primary interest here.
Tsavo West National Park
Combined with Tsavo East, Tsavo West National Park forms Kenya's largest game sanctuary. Tsavo West covers a huge variety of landscapes, from swamps and natural springs to rocky peaks, extinct volcanic cones to rolling plains and sharp reddish outcrops. Tsavo West National Park is situated on Kenya's southern border with Tanzania, located about 200km south east of Nairobi. Combined with Tsavo East, this park forms one of the world's largest game sanctuaries. The East and West parks are separated by the Mombasa/Nairobi road, and both work nicely on a circuit with Mombasa.
Tsavo West has a variety of landscapes, from swamps and natural springs to rocky peaks, extinct volcanic cones, to rolling plains and sharp reddish outcrops. Wildlife can be difficult to spot because of the dense scrubs. In May 1948, a month after its conception Tsavo National Park was divided into East and West for administrative purposes. At 21 812 square km, Tsavo National Park is the largest park in Kenya. Named after the Tsavo River which flows from west to east, the park is considered one of the world's biodiversity strongholds. It is the only Kenyan park that permits night drives and also allows off-road driving so one can see the wildlife close up.
Tsavo West National Park offers a variety of wildlife and birdlife. More than 600 species of birds have been recorded. Animals to be spotted include the leopard, cheetah, buffalo, rhino, elephant, giraffe, zebra, duiker, waterbuck, lion, crocodile, mongoose, warthog, hyrax, dik dik and porcupine. Another attraction is the Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary at the base of Ngulia Hills. The sanctuary is part of the Rhino Ark Programme, which protects Tsavo West's precious population of black rhinos. The Shetani flow, a black lava flow of 8km long, 1.6km wide and 5m deep, is the remains of volcanic eruptions. There is a cave located near the centre of the outflow, which is only a few metres long, but the exit is not accessible as it is too narrow. In the far south western corner of the park is Lake Jipe, which is fed by runoff from Mount Kilimanjaro and the northern Pare mountains. It is a wonderful attraction to visit.