Safari in Tsavo East

You simply cannot visit Kenya without at least one day of safari. I wish I had saved up for at least two-three days in the bush, but instead I had an amazing one-day safari in Tsavo East with lots of cool birds, elephants and antelopes en mass.

Since I did not stay inside the park I did not see the animals at sunrise or sunset, which is where you would normally have much more animal activity. I was on a budget and stayed at a hotel in Voi for two nights. My friend and I rented a car to drive around Tsavo on our own, without a guide and just going with the flow.

The sign at the Voi entrance to Tsavo East

A few minutes into the park, hundreds of Impalas crossed the road. A mere fifteen minutes drive into the park gave big flocks of elephants. Seeing elephants in their natural habitat is always fascinating, especially watching the young elephants interacting with the other members of the herd.

An African elephant crossing the road – notice the safari vehicle coming towards us! Probably the most used transport on a safari

You might also come across a lone bull elephant, they are enormous and gentle at the same time.

One of the disadvantages of driving on your own and not staying at a lodge in the park is that you drive around midday in the heat for hours without encountering much wildlife. Due to the heat, many animals relax in the shade to avoid losing too much water.

We saw a vast variety of wildlife including this Yellow-necked Spurfowl

We left the park in a rush, as we had to return the car to its owner by 7 pm. At 6 pm we were heading for the entrance, but were blocked by a bunch of young bulls playing in the road! We barely made it out and was one hell of an experience richer.

A Haartebeest, one of the many antelope species you can find on safari

A day of pure relaxation by the pool at the Voi Wildlife Lodge

Due to bad planning, I was forced to stay another day in Voi since all buses back to Nairobi had sold out (I was traveling at the beginning of the school year in Kenya!). I almost panicked, but then I read that I could enter the Voi Wildlife Lodge for just a day, to spend some hours by their pools with a view over a small pond where animals would likely pass by for a drink.

You pay a reasonable price for a day well spent at the lodge including access to showers, a lunch buffet and a perfect view of the pond and by-passing wildlife.

Soak in the pool and watch wildlife appear at the lake in search of water

I had an amazing day in the sun, spotting birds and several elephants and antelopes passing by, all while relaxing in my sunbed by the pool taking occasional dips in the cool and clean water.

Several elephants turned up by the pool including a Gray Crowned crane!

Where to next?

After your safari you might yearn for some big-city vibes, or you have already planned to see the Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi. Wether you are heading for the coast or Nairobi, either place will give you amazing experiences. You could also choose something different and head for the Taita Hills, the mountain range south-west of Voi. I spent almost two months in the Taita Hills, and it was a very interesting experience with lots of endemic species and calm local life.

// Rie

© All photos are my own and may not be used without permission.

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