The northern half of Tsavo West is the most developed, with a number of excellent lodges, and the landscape is also striking and is largely comprised of volcanic hills and sweeping expanses of savannah. The southern part of the park, on the far side of the dirt road between Voi and Taveta on the Tanzanian border, is rarely visited.
Chyulu Gate & the West
The plains, rocky outcrops and light woodland between Kilaguni Serena Lodge and the Chyulu Gate are good for zebras and other herbivores, and sustain a healthy population of lions, leopards and spotted hyenas – the epic battle between rival hyena clans that we witnessed here on our last visit remains a favourite Tsavo memory.
This is a highly recommended area for wildlife watching, with plenty of antelope species keeping a careful eye out for the resident lions, leopards and cheetahs. You’ll also see elephants, giraffes and, if you’re lucky, black rhinos. Birdlife is also particularly diverse here. The signposted ‘Rhino Valley Circuit’ is a good place to start, and anywhere along the Mukui River’s ponds and puddles is a place to watch and wait.
Tsavo Gate & the East
Many visitors heading for Tsavo East National Park or Mombasa use this gate. Wildlife spotting in this eastern section of the park is challenging due to the quite dense foliage, but both leopards and lions are known to frequent the area.
Tsavo River & the South
Running west–east through the park, this lovely year-round river is green-shaded and surrounded for much of its path by doum palms. Along with Mzima Springs, the river provides aesthetic relief from the vast semi-arid habitats that dominate the park. The trees all along the river are known to shelter leopards.
South of the river, running down to the Ziwani and Maktau gates, the foliage is less dense, with cheetah sightings a possibility. This area has seen problems with poaching and the encroachment into the park by local herders – the further south you go, the less you're likely to see.