Tsavo West National Park is located in the Coast Province of Kenya. The park covers an area of 9,065 square kilometers. The A109 road Nairobi-Mombasa and a railway divides it from the adjoining Tsavo East National Park. Together with adjoining ranches and protected areas, they comprise the Tsavo Conservation Area. Tsavo West is a popular wildlife tourism destination on account of its magnificent scenery, Mzima Springs, rich and varied wildlife, good road system, rhino reserve, rock climbing potential, and guided walks along the Tsavo River. The park is operated by Kenya Wildlife Service.
Although a few Early Stone Age and Middle Stone Age archaeological sites are recorded from ground surface finds in Tsavo, there is much evidence for the thriving Late Stone Age economy from 6,000 to 1,300 years ago. Research has shown that Late Stone Age archaeological sites are found close to the Galana River in high numbers. The inhabitants of these sites hunted wild animals, fished and kept domesticated animals. Because of the sparse availability of water away from the Galana River, human settlement in Tsavo focused on the riparian areas and in rock shelters as one moves west.
Swahili merchants traded with the inhabitants of Tsavo for ivory, catskins, and probably slaves as early as 700 AD (and probably earlier). There is no evidence for direct Swahili “colonization” of Tsavo. Instead, trade was probably accomplished by moving goods to and from the Swahili Coast via extended kin-networks. Trade goods such as cowry shells and beads have been recovered from archaeological sites dating to the early Swahili period
Tsavo remained the homeland for Orma and Maasai pastoralists and Waata hunter-gatherers until 1948 when it was gazetted a national park. At that time, the indigenous populations were relocated to Voi and Mtito Andei as well as other locations within the nearby Taita Hills. Hunting mainly at night, a pair of maneless male lions stalked and killed at least 28 Indian and African workers – although some accounts put the number of victims as high as 135. The lions, dubbed “the Maneaters of Tsavo,” were eventually shot and killed by the bridge construction supervisor, Lt.-Col. John Henry Patterson.
Tsavo West National Park has a variety of wildlife, such as eastern black rhinoceros, hippopotamus, Cape buffalo, elephant, leopard and lion. There are also other smaller animals that can be spotted in the park, such as the bushbaby, hartebeest, lesser kudu, and Masai giraffe.
Over 600 bird species have been recorded in the area.