Tsavo is the largest National Park in Kenya, located in the southern part of the country, covering an area of 22.000 square kilometres.The Park’s environs are made up of livestock ranches, seasonal small-scale agricultural farms and community
wildlife reserves. Therefore, the entire area that wild animals can roam freely upon – the “Tsavo Eco System” – is realistically larger and covers an area of approx. 35.000 square kilometres.
The Tsavo Parks were gazetted in April 1948 from an area of seemingly no importance to any form of human requirement, being mainly dry, uninhabited, badly watered and with a low and unreliable rainfall.Due to the conservation area’s immense size, the park was divided into East and West in 1949 for administrative purposes, and the Eastern part further split up into the Northern and Southern Area.

Tsavo was famous for its large Elephant and Rhino concentrations, which were estimated at 40.000 Elephants and 6.000 Rhinos in the 60’s. It was also the famous hunting area for Baron Blixen and Finch Hatton! Tsavo then became known for the extensive Elephant and Rhino die-off because of the 1960’s drought and the subsequent debate between scientists and park managers about the ethics of culling Elephants. Then followed twenty years of large scale poaching, mainly due to the phenomenal rise in price of Rhino horn and ivory on the international market.

Tsavo National Park

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Leopard Tsavo National Park Kenya Safari Africa
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Red elephants in Tsavo National Park

Nature Africa Wildlife Kenya Lions Lion Cubs
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Tsavo’s importance
To quote Noel Simon (Board of Trustees for National Parks): “Although there are several areas in Kenya possessing greater densities of wildlife, particularly the plains game, the exceptional importance of the Tsavo Park lies in the fact that it is by far the largest region in Kenya with National Park status and therefore devoted exclusively to wildlife. Its strength and importance lie in its size and status. For this reason it is by far the most important permanent wildlife sanctuary in the country.

Bill Woodley (one of the first game wardens of the country and one of the founder pioneers of National Parks in Kenya): “Because of its immense size, Tsavo must be the only park in the country that can beconsidered ecologically workable in that the conservation of wildlife can be contained within its boundaries. Most of the other parks in the country are small, being approximately 400 square miles or less, and,therefore dependent on adjoining areas for the survival of the wildlife they contain, with the result that they are exposed to external pressure.”

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