The combined area of Tsavo West and Tsavo East national parks makes this by far the biggest wildlife reserve in Kenya, and one of the largest in the world, sprawling across 20,812 square kilometres of dry bush country. It’s the same area as Wales, and two-and-a-half times bigger than Yellowstone National Park in the USA.
Of the two Tsavos, Tsavo West, encircled by roads and encroaching human populations, is the most visited and the most developed. Yet within its vast 7000 square kilometre extent, the popular part that receives nearly all visitors is a “mere” 1000 square kilometres, known as the Developed Area, located between the Tsavo River and the Mombasa highway. Here, a combination of magnificent landscapes and good access and facilities (Kilaguni and Severin both welcome casual visitors, and Kilaguni has fuel supplies) attracts visitors in large numbers, while the well-watered, volcanic soils support wooded grasslands and a great quantity and diversity of animal life – though it’s not always easily seen.