Kuku & Kimana Group Ranches
These ranches at the eastern end of the Amboseli ecosystem are crucially important corridors for wildlife moving between Tsavo West and Amboseli National Parks. Wildlife can be quite plentiful in this area, especially at the Tsavo West end of the corridor. Kuku in particular is the base for the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (www.maasaiwilderness.
Chyulu Hills National Park
One of Kenya’s least-visited parks, Chyulu Hills National Park is an oasis of green rising above the arid plains of southern Kenya. The park, just northwest of Tsavo West National Park, is dominated by extinct volcanoes that rank among the world’s youngest range of mountains – some of the mountains here were formed perhaps no more than 500 years ago.
Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary
The Taita Hills, a fertile area of verdant hills and scrub forest, is a far cry from the semi-arid landscape of Tsavo. Within the hills is the private wildlife sanctuary, covering an area of 100 sq km – the landscape is dramatic and all the plains wildlife is here in abundance.
Voi is a key service town at the intersection of the Nairobi–Mombasa road, the road to Moshi in Tanzania and the access road to the main Voi gate of Tsavo East National Park. As such, much of its activity is designed around trying to catch the monetary crumbs that fall from the pockets of those changing transport, on safari or simply passing through.
South of Voi and signposted west off the Nairobi–Mombasa Highway, Kasigau is the epicentre of some pretty innovative conservation and community development work. The Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary, at the heart of the project, is reliable elephant country – Kasigau lies along a migration corridor between Tsavos East and West.
Far removed from the tourist lodges in the park itself, the deliciously remote Porini Amboseli Camp inhabits the 748-sq-km Selenkay Conservancy (also known as Eselenkei Group Ranch) north of the national park. The tents are semi-luxurious without taking away from the remote feel.
Mbirikani Group Ranch
Mibirikani has been the centre for some excellent conservation work over the years. It began in 2004 (when lions were being killed in record numbers) with the Predator Compensation Fund (PCF), a scheme run by the Masailand Preservation Trust (maasailand.wildlifedirect.org).
The provincial capital of Wundanyi is set high in the Taita Hills. Numerous trails criss-cross the cultivated terraced slopes around town, leading to dramatic gorges, waterfalls, cliffs and jagged outcrops. It’s easy to find someone to act as a guide, but stout walking boots and a head for heights are essential.
The Road to Moshi
Heading west from Voi, the A23 runs straight to the Tanzanian border en route to the city of Moshi, Tanzania's gateway to Mount Kilimanjaro. On the way, there’s a worthwhile detour to the rarely visited Lake Chala, a deep, spooky crater lake about 10km north of the town.
Welcome to one of the most exciting things to happen in the Tsavo area for years. The 12,000-acre Mbulia Conservancy, which borders the extreme southeastern corner of Tsavo West National Park, close to the Nairobi–Mombasa Highway, inhabits what was, until recently, a major hideout for poachers.