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Tsavo National Park, Kenya

Tsavo National Park is divided into two sections by the road and the railway which lead from Nairobi to Mombasa.
The larger, less developed area, much of which is closed to visitors, north-east of the divide is known as Tsavo East. It is usually visited on safaris taken out of Mombasa. We spent two nights there in 1999.
Although an interesting park, with large numbers of Elephants (and conversely, Kirk's Dikdik), there did not seem to be the concentrations of game which are found in some of the other parks. We stayed at Voi Safari Lodge, which is built into a cliff which the overlooks the vast semi-desert, thornbush plains. There are two waterholes, and a walkway takes you down to a semi-underground hide at the side of the waterhole.
Duncan went down to the waterhole late at night and eyeballed a female Leopard.
I went down for some time both before and after breakfast. The waterhole was very quiet. By the time I had climbed back up to the lodge, hundreds of buffalo were filing in to the waterholes - a real sight to behold.
Outlook from the veranda at Voi Lodge (17k*)
Hundreds of Buffalo filing towards the waterholes.
Waterhole at Voi Lodge (16k*)
Having forced two small groups of Elephants to retreat, the Buffalo enjoy the water.
Yellow Baboon (18k)
Yellow Baboon
The baboon of Tsavo East is the Yellow Baboon. In contrast with the Olive Baboon, it is paler in colour, with off-white underparts and much rangier in build. The males lack the Olive Baboon's 'mane'. It particularly feeds on the seeds, flesh and pods of leguminous trees, and has developed special digestive adaptations. Plains Zebras, Tsavo (25k*)
A characteristic behaviour of zebras is standing in pairs, often head-to-tail. This position has two advantages - the pair can swish flies off each other's faces, and when their heads are up, they can check all around for possible danger.

We have twice stayed at Kilaguni Lodge in Tsavo West, in 1994 and 1999. This Lodge also overlooks a waterhole, and you can spend lots of time in the lounge watching the animals coming and going, and seeing the different species interacting.
Even the dining room is a wildlife experience, with starlings, hornbills and hyraxes wandering through. There is a little platform favoured by a lucky Marabou just outside.
Interestingly, it is the only place we have seen Civet - and we saw one on both visits.
Marabou storks are easy to see at Kilaguni Lodge (13k*)
Kilaguni Marabou:
the face only a mother could love.
Rosy Shrike, fka Rosy-patched Bush-Shrike (16k*)
Rosy Shrike is said to be 'common in arid bush and semi-desert areas', but we've only seen it in Tsavo West
Two-banded courser: a fast runner and a strong flyer (11k*)
Two-banded Courser
Banded Mongoose
Banded Mongoose, star of Sir David's classic, 'Band on the Run'.
Male Agama Lizard (13k*)
Kilaguni Agama
Vervets grooming (15k*)
Adult Vervet grooming a youngster
Black-faced Vervet (16k*)
No problem in knowing which Vervets are male!
A trip which is usually made on visits to Tsavo West is to Mzima Springs, a spring of clear water, 50 million gallons a day, which has filtered down from the Chyulu hills through volcanic soils.
There is an underwater observation chamber, left by filmmaker Alan Root after he made his documentary, Mzima: Portrait of a Spring.
Shoals of barbels with other fish swim around the chamber, and in the morning, if you're lucky, you may see a hippo swim past at close quarters. The Black-faced Vervets on the path here are very tame - you should beware of them, and not give into the temptation to offer them tidbits.
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