After the New Year’s Eve, we woke up very early at 1 January. Southern Cross tour bus picked us at 7AM (we had even breakfast before that) and our first real safari began. This was quite long drive. Driver said that the drive on the Mombasa-Nairobi highway, the biggest highway in Kenya. The road was not in good quality and neither was the bus, driving was quite shaky.
Tsavo East National Park is one of the oldest and largest national parks in Kenya at almost 12 thousand square kilometers of pure wilderness, incorporating savanna, ranges and hills, acacia forest and an extensive river system. The park was open already in 1948. The park can be accessed by three main gates, we entered from Bachuma gate. At the gate we were supposed to buy safari hats. At gates we also changed the vehicle. Now our happy group of eight people drove at Range Rover, real safari vehicle.
At first we drove towards Satao Camp. The drive was over bumpy, brick red, dirt roads. On the way we saw already so many animals. First were zebras and then antelopes. Also, we saw several interesting birds, as Tsavo is a birdwatcher’s paradise with numerous species of weavers, hornbills, sunbirds, rollers, and raptors. In addition to animals and birds we really enjoyed the smell and sound of savanna in our open safari car.
Arrival in Satao Camp was very pleasant. The host Bob welcomed us with fresh juice and wet towels, both were refreshing. After that we were guided to the tents. Those there most luxurious tents we have ever seen – quite large with a thatched roof overhead and a veranda. Inside the tent we had lovely beds and also carpets on the floor. There was also a bathroom at the back with stone flooring, a wonderful stone sink, big towels and lovely soaps. The shower area was simply gorgeous. In shower it was possible to use solar heated water at 6PM each night. The shower head just sprayed water to the floor which then drained out. This was interesting experience.
After checking in to the tents we had a lunch outside, under the tree in the middle of savanna. It is impossible to describe the smell and the voices we experienced in the camp or at the safari, it was magnificent!
Late afternoon we went to game drive, with a visit to Aruba Dam and its surroundings. We drove about two and half hours. It was really beautiful to see the elephant family walking at sunset towards Mount Kenya in savanna.
In the evening we had a dinner and then just sat outside the tent and had some wine. At one point we realized that cattle of antelopes is just 10 meters from us, they have came there to be protected from lions.
We stayed in Satao camp for a night and also had a game drive in the early morning. During that drive our safari vehicle broke down in the middle of savanna. Our driver called for help and went along with another driver. We were left alone in savanna with a broken vehicle for half a hour.
During all the safaris in Tsavo we saw so many animals, that it is difficult to remember all the names—elephants, gazelles, impalas, hippos, cheetahs, dik diks, zebras, giraffes, many different kinds of birds including ostriches and others. It was so fabulous to see the animals in their natural habitat, grazing, drinking at the waterhole, dusting them and just being free and natural.
Tsavo is the largest park in Kenya, it seemed that we covered only a small corner of it. Our trip to East Tsavo Park was really perfect in the every way, may be it was a bit too short. The whole safari to Tsavo East was an amazing experience - we hardly believed what we saw and smell during those two days.