Tsavo East National Park is the one place I would love to go back and visit. Oh the memories. It was a perfect combination of sun & beauty. The sun bit we can discuss though. The great memory of the place never quite left me.
The quiet famous town of Voi leads to the park gate, and already baboons came to welcome us. Fees paid, we proceeded to the amazing, ever so unexplored experience ahead. It was so surreal, it was like checking into another world. It was a vast sea of red soil, red coated elephants, scattered trees & occasional dik diks. The earth was a red canvas that stretched as far as the eye could see. Clear blue skies. Dust everywhere, we had to keep the windows closed.
Our gracious host was Ashnil Aruba, with arguably the best pancakes I have tasted. The rooms opened to the wild and a watering hole close to the pool.
The most amazing thing about elephants, is how huge they are, yet are so quiet. The silent giants. One minute you see them, then next you can’t tell when they left.
Our morning game drive let us see the sun kissed plains, so quiet, already hot at 6 am. Tsavo East National Park is the home of birds of different kinds, elephants and at the time we were there (June) it was incredibly dry. Bone dry.
Later during the day we drove towards Galana River, where we passed an initiative that KWS & David Sheldrick Trust have been setting up & maintaining some windmills in the park that once turned pump water from the earth into troughs for the animals to drink. Being so dry I could see why they came all the way. This tackles the wildlife pressure seeking water. You can read more about it here.
By now I am sure you know we are talking about Tsavo East National Park.
Galana River is almost impossible to see from the road, though as you approach Lugard Falls, a series of short falls and steep rapids on the Galana River, is surrounded by relatively hard rock.
Lots of beautifully grained rock, with shiny sparkled specks. June was dry, so we had the opportunity to walk in and explore the nooks and crevices.
It is a testament that water had cut such hard rock through its persistence and viciousness slowly over the years.
The rocks have formed over time and are a sight to behold. I know several Architectural students who’ve been here from UoN to study its formation. The sun here is so hot, it literally burns. Cuts into your skin. Taking photos here was quite a challenge as the sun was overhead seeking to eliminate all below it. The caves formed are so big, about two people could stand in them.
We soon left for the famous Mudanda Rock which acts as a water catchment that supplies a natural dam below. It offers an excellent place for the hundreds of elephants and other wildlife that come to drink during the dry season. It is a towering rock, spanning 1.5km overlooking a pool of water providing a great hunting spot for leopards as it grants them the perfect vantage point as the animals come to drink water.
One of the must go to’s is Voi Safari Lodge, constructed to blend with the surrounding environment. Its highlight was the tunnel they have designed leading to the watering hole at the bottom of the hill. They have steps in place lined with carpet designed to make your walk down as quiet as possible to avoid disturbing the animals. The viewing area is caged partially to allow viewing. This is one of the closest you will get to the animals, it is simply an amazing experience. You get so close you could touch the animals. I know I would like to touch that elephant skin! My closest experience was walking down the steps and looking through the window on my right and meeting a large, brown, gentle eye surrounded by folded skin, red kind wrinkles that have stood the test of time in the harsh savanna. I could not wait to see more. At the watering hole, a herd of buffalos was pushing against the elephants for water. Clearly might spoke loudest here. Yet the watering hole was so dry.
Young ones got caught up in the melee, as the giants battled for water. Soon realizing there was not much water, the slowly shifted their weight towards the neighbouring hills to search for it. Some elephants were in luck as they could access the small square holes of water with their trunks.
I could not help but have an overwhelming feeling of helplessness. Who knew how far they had to go to find water. All in all it is an experience you would not want to miss! See more of our galleries here ?
Tsavo East National Park is a beautiful canvas, the sun, plains and elephants make for a great story and memories. It is clear to see where the passionate plea to keep
#HandsOffOurElephants comes from. Right behind you Paula Kahumbu!