After all the beautiful things we saw in Tsavo West it was yet again time for a new game park which we haven’t visited before: Tsavo East. We got up early and we soon noticed it was a bit of a drizzly day in Tsavo West. It did make the park look stunning and even a bit mystical. While we were mainly looking at beautiful landscapes in the past few days today animals seemed to appear everywhere we drove.
With our perfectly welded car, we went for a small morning drive while driving towards the gates of the park. Elephants, hartebeests and zebras all came to say goodbye before we took the last road towards the exit. That turned out to be quite a spectacular road! First, we had to get through a deep puddle of mud which we barely went through without getting stuck. Minutes later we saw this beautiful cheetah walking in the dense bushes next to the road. We were the only ones there and could spend some time with this magnificent animal before he disappeared into the bushes. Wonderful!
A decent place to stay near the Mombasa Road
Tsavo West and East are separated by the hideous Nairobi-Mombasa Road. The trucks keep coming but luckily you don’t really notice that once you’re inside one of the parks. Once we left Tsavo West we had to take this road as well. After about half an hour we got to our place to stay for that night: Man Eaters Camp. How this camp got its name is quite interesting. In the nineteenth century, a number of construction workers that were working on the Kenya-Uganda Railway were killed by a pair of man-eating lions. They were of course working in prima lion territory so those circumstances were indeed quite challenging to say the least… Although the name of the camp can be scary, the place itself is pretty decent for a stopover when you’re traveling between the two parks.
Exploring Tsavo East
Since we wanted to have as much ‘game time’ (time in a park) as we could we decided to do an afternoon drive in the Tsavo East. This afternoon once again showed that it’s useless to do too much planning in Africa.
Tsavo East is the biggest National Park in Kenya. It’s an enormous park and quite flat compared to Tsavo West. Since we entered the park in one of its most Northern gates we thought it would be a good idea to do a roundtrip along the Galana River. At the gate we soon found out however that this area was a no go due to the recent rains. The ranger advised us to follow another road and Joshua, the ranger from a local tour operator, also advised us to go South, “you should be able to drive there” is what he said.
Joshua turned out to be quite the talker and shared a nice story with us about the common corrugated roads in Africa. He said that you would have to in the air 60% of the time when driving on these roads. When he did that he once had an older passenger in his car who lost their false teeth due to all the movement of the car. Only in Africa…
Into the park
With all the administrative procedures wrapped up, we finally got into the park. The travel guides were right: this park is definitely huge! When it came to the wildlife we didn’t see that much since we were driving away from the Galana River in the direction of the Voi River. Just before we got to the Voi River we thought it would be a good idea to take a small detour. The first 800 meters or so went perfectly fine. It was when a small blackish patch of mud showed up in front of us that I stopped the car. Some people in our car thought it would be a good idea to go right across. That turned out to be a bad plan: we were stuck in the ‘black cotton soil’.
We got out and even our feet were stuck in this horrible type of mud. Luckily there were a lot of flat stones right beside the road. We placed them under our tires and with a lot of hard work we got the car out of the mid. Covered in the mud we were able to continue our journey.
It took us a couple of kilometers to get back on the main road and near the Voi River. All of a sudden we saw wildlife appearing from all directions. Elephants, oryxes, zebras and a number of other beautiful creatures made their appearance. While we did reach the Voi River we were done with all those slippery roads and decided to make our way back home using the Mombasa Road. When we got back to our camp the staff started laughing since both our car and clothes were muddy as hell. They’re not that used to self-drivers (who get stuck probably). After a small drink before a lovely buffet with a really nice waiting staff we could soon laugh about all the adventures ourselves as well. We were ready for another day in Tsavo East!