The first acquaintance with Tsavo East National Park was quite slippery and muddy. Today however was going to be the day where we would really get to know this magnificent park. Tsavo East is huge, it’s the biggest game park in Kenya. The northern section of the park is largely closed so as a regular tourist you can visit everything south of the Galana River.

The Manyani Gate was our entry point to the park. We followed our way down south towards the Voi river. The endless grasses and small bushes make it easier to spot animals compared to Tsavo West. Especially when you get close to the river it’s a wonderful place to be. The countless loops along the Voi river are spectacular and a couple of muddy sections on the road just add to the adventure.

Lions en route!

While we were having a great time along the river banks admiring all the beautiful trees and animals we were halted by a ranger from a local tour operator. Sometimes, especially in the Serengeti, the rangers really don’t like self-drivers. Throughout Kenya, it’s totally different. Almost every single ranger stops their car to have a small chat and ask if you need any help or assistance. They’re also more than happy to share their latest sightings. This morning one of the rangers told us that a huge pride of lions was spotted near the Aruba Dam, in the central part of the park.

Of course, you can’t say no to that so we headed over to the Aruba Dam. A couple of kilometers down the (pretty corrugated) road we saw these big cats hanging around the remains of two freshly killed zebras. The lions must have thought that this would be enough for three males, countless females and even more cubs. As we were watching them they came closer and closer so we could observe them perfectly.

Satao Camp in Tsavo East National Park

After such a great start of the day, we headed East towards the Satao Camp. From the moment we set foot in this camp we felt welcome. Based near a water pool overlooking a minor hill this was a perfect place to spend a couple of days. At the reception we got a couple of chilled mini towels to cool off and after some formalities they showed us our fancy tents. We then booked a game drive for the next morning and after lunch we enjoyed ourselves with the tranquility of the watchtower overlooking the water pool. I could get old doing this…

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Cheetahs and even more lions

Just before the sun started to set we decided to go on a late afternoon drive. The light started to become even prettier the later it got. We had a drink and some chips when another car pointed us in the direction of something spectacular. Four cheetahs were wandering around near our camp! How cool is that? After spending some time with them yet another ranger said that there were five lions with cubs were hanging out in a dry riverbed!

Although we had to take quite a steep dip into the riverbed with our car it surely was rewarding. Africa is such an amazing and addictive continent…

Chill mode: On

Isaak was our ranger the next day. We enjoyed his expertise and driving skills. Really convenient that you don’t have to drive every single day and just sit back and relax. Once again we were lucky; not far from our camp we saw a bat-eared fox. The bat-eared fox is predominantly an insectivore that uses its large ears to locate its prey. This individual was merely focussed on doing as little as possible. This gave us an excellent opportunity to admire and photograph the bat-eared fox, awesome!

We didn’t see only this interesting animal. The game drive resulted in encounters with the same lions with their dead zebras, big herds of elephants covered in red dust and we even saw two more cheetahs near a water pool. After this great morning drive, we went back to camp and chilled a bit on our last afternoon in the bush.

At sunset we went back to the same water pool where we saw the cheetahs. Although we didn’t see any cheetahs we did enjoy a lovely sunset overlooking the plains of Tsavo East National Park. With some cold beers out of our own fridge it was a perfect end of our bush experience in Kenya.

Vamos a la playa

Although we could have stayed in the bush forever sometimes it is a good idea to indulge yourself a little bit. Kenya’s beaches were waiting for us. Before we could sip on some cocktails however we still had to drive a lot of kilometers. On our last morning drive in the park we enjoyed the company of the lions which apparently were still sated of the zebras. We opened up the top of our Land Cruiser one last time so we really felt like a couple of rangers on safari and then exited at the Buchamu Gate in the southern section of Tsavo East National Park. We’ll be back (once again)…

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