Mombasa is the perfect vacation destination thanks to its history, museums, local markets, and for being the largest coastal city in Kenya. The city offers the perfect blend of both local and international cultures – African, Indian, and Arabic. What is more, is the fact that the Kenya coast is pristine and the perfect starting point for a safari adventure.
From Mombasa, you can visit wildlife filled parks like the Tsavo, Amboseli, Lake Naivasha, Lake Nakuru and later into the Masai Mara. It all depends on how much time you have. If all you have is just one day to spare, you will not be left out. A one-day trip to Tsavo East will be worth it.
Day Trip Safari to Tsavo East
The Tsavo East is Kenya’s largest National Park best known for its delightful diversity of wildlife. It covers an area of 8,542 square miles (13,747 square kilometers). Named after the Tsavo River, the park is located in a semi-arid area close to Voi town. The A109 road seperates Tsavo East from Tsavo West.
Tsavo East Safari Wildlife
The main attractions in Tsavo East are the wildlife. The park is generally flat with dry plains. The park also features the Yatta Plateau and Lugard Falls. It is one of the world’s largest game reserves offering unspoiled wilderness to vast numbers of animals. The most famous mammals here are the Tsavo lions; a unique population in which the adult males often lack manes. There are approximately 675 lions in the Amboseli-Tsavo ecosystem.
Tsavo East Safari Highlights
The Mudanda Rock is a 1.6 kilometer monadnock or inselberg of stratified rock which serves as a water catchment that supplies a natural dam. This is an excellent spot in the park where you can view hundreds of elephants and other wildlife as they gather to drink water during the dry season.
The Yatta Plateau will also leave you amazed. It is the world’s largest lava flow that stretches across the western boundary of the park above Athi River. The 290-kilometer-long Yatta Plateau was formed by lava from Ol Doinyo Sabuk Mountain.
Other great attractions here include the Crocodile Point, Kanderi Swamp, Luard Falls which is a series of white water rapids on Galana River and the Aruba Dam which was built in 1952 on the Voi River. The water reservoir of the Aruba Dam attracts hundreds of animals and water birds. More than 500 bird species have been recorded here including ostriches, hornbills, kingfishers, secretary birds, kestrels, herons, buzzards and weaver birds.
Thanks to its many attractions, the Tsavo East National Park is the perfect choice for an action-packed one-day trip from dawn till dusk. You get to spend more than 6 hours viewing spectacular wildlife as well as colorful landscapes. The cost of the safari will depend on the date of travel, mode of transport, number of people and type of accommodation.
When is best for a Tsavo East safari?
The best time to take a trip to Tsavo East is from January to February and from June to September. This is when the conditions are drier and far more favorable for wildlife watching. At the peak of the short rains (November) and long rains (April and May) the conditions can be challenging. The vegetation is denser during the wet months and animals will be far spread out and harder to see.
Where to Stay in Tsavo East
Voi Safari Lodge
After an exciting day in Tsavo East National Park, one of the best lodges to help you unwind is the 3-star family-friendly Voi Safari Lodge. The lodge is 160 kilometers from Mombasa and is perched on top of a cliff-faced hill. It is uniquely built to offer striking views of the Tsavo East National Park plains. It is this vantage position that has made the lodge a top pick by safari adventurers, holiday makers and nature lovers. Here you will be assured of sampling wildlife attractions that constantly come to the water hole sunk by the lodge at the bottom of the cliff. In the dry seasons, the waterholes are the convergence of lots of wild animals.
At the Voi Safari Lodge you can either watch wild animals as they roam the ground beneath you or get closer on a game viewing drive that relies on a network of access roads reaching close to every corner of the vast national park. There are also special hiding spots within the lodge ideal for camera enthusiasts who are looking for amazing close-up photos of the wild animals.
There are a total of 53 guest rooms at the Voi Safari Lodge. Some rooms have twin beds while others have double beds with an additional single bed. The lodge can accommodate a total of125 guests. Guests also enjoy adequate non-frill meals that are served buffet-style in both the restaurant and bar.
Because it is easy to access from Mombasa, the Voi Safari Lodge is popular with holiday makers, honey mooners, incentive clients, business and conference clients.
Safari Destinations from Mombasa For Longer Trips
Tsavo West National Park
Located next to Tsavo East, everything about Tsavo West National Park is both striking and extreme. The park covers an area of 9,065 square kilometers. Together with the adjoining protected areas and ranches, they form the Tsavo Conservation Area. Tsavo West is a more popular destination thanks to its Mzima springs, amazing scenery and its rich and varied wildlife. There are also better road systems, rock climbing potential, a rhino reserve as well as guided walks on along the Tsavo River.
Tsavo West National park has a wide variety of wildlife which include the eastern black rhinoceros, Cape buffalo, hippopotamus, leopards, lions, and elephants. There are also so many smaller animals which can be spotted in the park. These include lesser kudu, hartebeest, bushbaby, and Masai giraffe.
While you can visit the park at any time of year, the best time to visit Tsavo West is in the dry months; from June to October and from January to February. November, April, and May are the worst months to visit.
Where to Stay in Tsavo West
If you are searching for the best places to stay while on a Tsavo West safari, here are the most recommended options.
Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge
Located in Tsavo West National Park, the lodge is a 30 minutes’ drive from Mtito Andei Gate. The local airstrip is about a kilometer away from the lodge. The best thing about this lodge is the magnificent views it commands. In addition to sweeping views of the park, the snowy dome of Mount Kilimanjaro forms the ultimate backdrop.
You get a private bathroom with free toiletries and slippers in every unit. Guests get to enjoy drinks at the rock-built bar as they observe wildlife at the waterhole from the viewing terrace. There is also a dedicated bush dining area, breakfast on the Lion Rock, sundowners on the Roaring Rocks, a gift shop, business center and a garden swimming pool. The lodge further offers three game drives daily.
Severin Safari Camp
The Severin Safari Camp offers an excellent combination of relaxation, wellness and adventure. The camp has 27 deluxe accommodations and 8 self-contained Kitani Bandas that are spread on a 25 hectares of bushland. The camp is not fenced which offers a perfect integration into the natural environment. The tents offer great views of both the landscape and the animals as they pass freely at the waterhole.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served. The Severin Safari Camp is the perfect place to discover nature while on guided game safaris in Tsavo West National Park.
Voyage Ziwani Camp
The Voyage Ziwani Camp has a total of 25 en suit tents with flush toilet, hot & cold shower and all rooms have a private veranda that faces the Asante River. This is an economy accommodation with panoramic views of the landscape, wildlife and Mount Kilimanjaro. The environs of the camp are home to hundreds of basking hippos. Day and night game drives are available while Maasai dancers provide entertainment in the evening.
Amboseli National Park
Formerly the Maasai Amboseli Game Reserve, the Amboseli National Park is a large park covering an area of 151 square miles (392 square kilometers). This is the second most popular national park in Kenya after The Mara. From Mombasa, you can access the national park through the Amboseli Airport or simply drive to the park.
Amboseli is famous for offering close to free-ranging elephants and is home to the most researched elephant; Echo. Since the vegetation is sparse, you get the best chance to view wildlife from the Amboseli. This protected area is home to Cape buffalo, African bush elephants, lions, spotted hyena, cheetah, Maasai giraffe, blue wildebeest, and Grant’s zebra among others. There is also a huge number of birds; both big and small.
The Amboseli National Park can be visited all year-round. The dry seasons are, however, the best times to visit. That is from January to February and again from June to October. Animals gather around water sources in the dry months and the grass is shorter making it easy to spot them.
Where to Stay in Amboseli
Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge
This is the most sought after lodging in the Amboseli. The lodge offers a graceful blend of lavish comfort and beauty in the Amboseli. Its location gives imposing views of Mount Kilimanjaro, acacia-specked savanna, and striking views of the animals.
The Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge is a 4-star hotel out in the wild. It offers the most memorable experiences during a holiday in the Amboseli.
If your final stop was not Nairobi or if you still have extra time, you can venture further into Lake Naivasha. This is a freshwater lake located outside Naivasha town; a two hours’ drive from Nairobi. Lake Naivasha is part of the Great Rift Valley. It is fed by Gilgil and Malewa rivers in addition to transient streams. The lake has a surface area of 54 square miles (139 square kilometers).
Thanks to its unique ecology, Lake Naivasha is home to several types of wildlife which include more than 400 different species of bird and a huge population of hippos. Lake Sonachi and Lake Oloiden are two small lakes within the vicinity of Lake Naivasha. The Crater Lake Game Sanctuary is also nearby.
Where to Stay in Lake Naivasha
Built during WW2, the Loldia House gives you the experience of Kenya’s early settlers. Accommodation is offered in the old family house or in the cottages. It is a perfect spot to relax and explore the Great Rift Valley. From here you get amazing views of Mount Longonot, wildlife that roam freely on the farm and a taste of the pleasures of the Kenyan life. The Loldia House is conveniently located for day trips to the Lake Nakuru National Park too.
Sarova Saltlick Game Lodge
Just a 30 minutes’ flight from Mombasa, The Sarova Saltlick Game Lodge is located in the private Taita Hills Sanctuary and boarders Tsavo West National Park. This is a unique lodge with 96 en suite rooms that are elevated on stilts so that animals, including elephants, can walk free below. Each room overlooks a waterhole. The waterholes are flood lit at night to give uninterrupted views of the animals.
There are several marked routes where guests can take guided or self-driven routes to view the wildlife in the Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary. The main animals here are the lions, giraffes, and buffalos. Over 300 bird species have been spotted here.
A terraced lounge and bar overlooks the main waterhole. Guests can gather here for local and international drinks. The restaurant serves amazing buffets with both local and international cuisines.
Located in south-west Kenya, The Mara is one of the Greatest Wildlife Reserves in Africa. It borders the Serengeti in Tanzania and together they form the most diverse and spectacular ecosystem in Africa. If you choose not to visit any of the aforementioned safari destinations, you should not miss the Masai Mara. This is the most popular tourist destination in Kenya and the perfect place for viewing wildebeest migration which involves more than 1.5 million animals.
There is no shortage of places to visit when on a safari from Mombasa. You will only be limited by your budget and the amount of time you have to spare. Before you get started, it is good to always have your safari book planned out. That way you will not be distracted by the other amazing tourist destinations in Kenya.