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Tsavo East National Park




Best Time To Visit

Weather & Climate

Getting There

Malaria & Safety

Tsavo East National Park is an exceptional spot for wildlife watching. This vast, semi-arid wilderness is teeming with elephants, often seen in large herds covered in the distinctive red Tsavo dust, and unique maneless lions. The park’s wild, sun-drenched plains are home to other fascinating highlights, including cheetahs on the hunt and rare species such as the gerenuk and Somali ostrich, which are seldom seen this far south. Exploring beyond the main track offers a genuine sense of adventure.
Tsavo East National ParkTsavo East National Park
Best Time To Go
June to October and January to February (Best for general wildlife viewing; little rainfall)
High Season
December to March and July to October (Not busy)
13,747km² / 5,308mi²
171-845m / 561-2,772ft
Pros & Cons
Great wildlife sightings with four of the Big Five present.
Superb birdwatching with numerous dry-country species.
Incredible wilderness appeal with secluded, off-the-beaten-path experiences.
Beautiful landscapes featuring landmarks like the Galana River and Taita Hills.
Wildlife densities may be low.
Temperatures can be extremely hot for much of the year.
Tsavo East hosts four of the Big Five: elephants, lions, leopards, and buffalo. While rhinos are listed among the park’s inhabitants, they haven’t been spotted in years. The park is a haven for elephants, frequently seen with a reddish tint from the area’s characteristic red soil. Additionally, Tsavo is known for its unique maneless lions.

In Tsavo East National Park, the only two permitted activities are wildlife viewing and birding, typically enjoyed on guided game drives. Although self-guided game drives are theoretically possible, they are not very common in Kenya.
Staying near the park’s main road, you’ll traverse barren plains, grasslands, and semi-arid shrubland. The plains around Aruba Dam are prime cheetah territory. A short detour leads to Kanderi Swamp, favored by elephants, and the Voi River, lined with lush riverine forests. Nearby, the towering Mudanda Rock provides sweeping views from its summit. In the north, the wild, crocodile-infested Galana River winds through the landscape.
Weather & Climate
Tsavo East experiences hot and dry conditions throughout the year, except at higher altitudes where temperatures cool as you ascend. The Wet season (November to May) is especially hot, particularly during the break between the short rains at the end of the year and the long rains later on. The Dry season (June to October) provides some relief from the intense heat.
Best Time To Visit
Tsavo East may not appear at its finest during the Dry season (June to October), when the sky can be hazy with dust, but this is the optimal time for wildlife spotting. The dry, hot months of January and February are also favorable. During these periods, the grass is much shorter compared to the Wet season (November to May), making it easier to see the wildlife. Additionally, rain is not a concern.
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Tsavo East National Park boasts superb wildlife viewing in a pristine wilderness setting. The park is home to four of the Big Five, with no rhinos present. Elephants are plentiful and often seen covered in red dust, which contrasts with the arid landscape. Among the big cats, lions are the easiest to spot, while cheetahs can occasionally be found on the plains. Additionally, you can expect to see buffalo, zebra, and many Masai giraffes.

White Rhino
Black Rhino
Wildlife Highlights

Tsavo East features a variety of unique antelope species. It is one of the rare locations to see the fringe-eared oryx. While the elusive lesser kudu is often seen darting into the bushes, the long-necked gerenuk can be spotted standing on its hind legs to reach high foliage. With a bit of luck, you might also encounter the critically endangered Hunter’s hartebeest (hirola) in the remote eastern regions of the park.

Best Time for Wildlife Viewing

Tsavo East is accessible year-round, but the optimal time for wildlife viewing is during the Dry season, from June to October. During these months, the vegetation is sparser, and animals congregate around reliable water sources. The dry period between January and February, situated between the short and long rains, also offers excellent wildlife viewing opportunities.

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Wildlife Photos
Tsavo East National ParkTsavo East National Park
Tsavo East National Park boasts an impressive list of over 500 bird species. The park is home to many dry-country specialties, such as the stunning golden-breasted starling, golden pipit, and vulturine guineafowl. It also serves as the southernmost stronghold for the Somali ostrich. Additionally, Tsavo East is a significant wintering ground for migratory species from Europe, with migrant birds present from November to April.
Secretary bird
Eastern chanting goshawk
Vulturine guineafowl
Red-winged lark
Rosy-patched bush-shrike
Best Time for Bird Watching

Tsavo East is an excellent destination for birdwatching throughout the year. Many rare species reside here, allowing for consistent sightings. Migratory birds are present from November to April. Though heavy rain can occasionally occur in November and April, possibly affecting birdwatching, it is not guaranteed.

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Facts & Figures

Bird Species


Migratory Birds

Nov to Apr













The best times to visit Tsavo East National Park for wildlife watching are from June to October and January to February, when conditions are most favorable. During the peak of the short rains in November and the long rains in April, conditions can become more challenging. With abundant water and food, animals tend to spread out over a larger area, making them more difficult to spot.
Best Time
June to October and January to February (Ideal for general wildlife viewing; minimal rainfall)
High Season
December to March and July to October (The reserve remains uncrowded)
Low Season
April to June (Possible low-season rates)
Best Weather
June to September and January to February (Minimal rainfall)
Worst Weather
April and November to December (Wettest months)
June to October – Dry Season
Enhanced wildlife viewing as animals gather around water sources
Mostly sunny days with minimal rainfall
Reduced risk of malaria
Dry and dusty environment
Hazy skies, resulting in less scenic beauty
November to May – Wet Season
The park is stunning with lush scenery.
April to June is low season, potentially offering lower rates.
While wildlife viewing is best during the Dry season, there is still abundant wildlife to see.
Ideal time for bird-watchers.
Roads can deteriorate due to increased rainfall in April and May.
January and February can be extremely hot.
Rain, especially in April and November, can disrupt planned activities.
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Wildlife Photos
Tsavo East National ParkTsavo East National Park
Visitors to Tsavo East National Park can anticipate a hot and dry climate. Daytime temperatures typically average around 31°C (88°F), while nighttime temperatures drop to around 20°C (68°F). Rainfall usually peaks in April and November, coinciding with the long and short rainy seasons. Rain generally falls as brief, heavy showers.
Dry Season – June to October

The Dry season months are the coolest, characterized by sunny days and minimal rainfall.


>June & July: Days are typically sunny with average afternoon temperatures around 29°C (84°F).


> August & September: temperatures average 29°C (84°F) but can get significantly hotter.


> October is hot and humid, with temperatures rising before the rains begin.

Wet Season – November to May

The short rains and long rains are separated by a drier, hotter period in January and February. Road conditions are at their worst in April and May.


> November & December – ‘Short rains’: November is one of the wettest months of the year. Rain typically doesn’t last all day but expect afternoon storms. The average daytime temperature is 31°C (88°F)


> January & February: These months provide a break between the rains. The exact length of this dry period is unpredictable. February is consistently the hottest month, with average afternoon temperatures reaching 32°C (90°F) and higher peaks.


> March, April & May – ‘Long rains’: The long rains usually start in late March. While it rarely rains all day, brief afternoon showers are common. April receives the most rainfall during this period. Afternoon temperatures average around 32°C (90°F).

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Tsavo East National Park
Tsavo East National ParkTsavo East National Park

The two primary international airports in Kenya are Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO), located 15km (9mi) southeast of Nairobi, and the smaller Moi International Airport (MBA), situated 9km (6mi) west of Mombasa.

Tsavo East National Park is located in southeast Kenya, 325km (200mi) from Nairobi, with the Buchuma Gate situated 123km (76mi) from Mombasa. You can drive to the park from Nairobi (6 to 8 hours*), Mombasa (2 to 4 hours*), or other parks depending on your itinerary.

There are no scheduled flights to Tsavo East, but several airstrips are available for charter flights. If you are on an organized tour with us, your Bush 2 City Safari expert will arrange charter flights between parks.

Driving times are approximate and should be taken as rough estimates. Always account for the possibility of significant delays.
Main Park Map
Airlines & Ticket Prices

This is a suggestion only. Alternatively, you can book your flight from any source and ensure you share the details with us before finalizing your itinerary. Please check Skyscanner to find airlines that fly to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) and their ticket prices.

Domestic Flights
Passport, Visa & Other Entry Requirements

Please visit our FAQ – Kenya page for information on passport, visa, vaccination, and other entry requirements.

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We consider Tsavo East National Park to be a very safe destination. In general, Kenyan parks and reserves experience very little crime. While there is some crime in towns and cities, normal precautions should be taken when visiting urban centers (refer to ‘Cities & Urban Areas: Safety Precautions’ below). Most visitors do not encounter any incidents during their trip.

For the latest safety information in Kenya, please refer to the government travel advisories (see the ‘Safety & Security – Kenya’ link below).

Malaria & Vaccinations

Before traveling to Kenya, consult your doctor about necessary vaccinations. Most of the country, including Tsavo East, is in a malaria-prone area. While taking antimalarials is recommended, additional precautions such as covering up at dusk and using mosquito repellent containing DEET offer good protection against malaria. The risk of contracting malaria is highest during the peak rainy seasons from March to May and November to December.

Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife viewing in Tsavo East is very safe as long as you follow your guide’s instructions. Additionally, please review the information provided in the ‘Wildlife Viewing Safety Precautions’ section below.

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Photo Gallery of Tsavo East National Park

Map of Tsavo East National Park

Photo Gallery of Tsavo East National Park

Main Park Map

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