Mzima Springs in Tsavo West National Park : Mzima Springs is one of the major tourist attractions of Tsavo West National Park. Located on the coastal region of Kenya and covers an area of 9, 065 Square kilometres, Tsavo West National Park is 240 kilometres (150 miles) from Nairobi one of the premier wildlife destinations in Kenya. It lies on one of the largest wildlife conservation areas in the world, the Tsavo conservation area which comprises Tsavo East National Park and the adjoining ranches. It is one of the popular safari destinations in Kenya the other being Maasai Mara National Reserve and the Amboseli National Park among other world class safari tour destination in Kenya.
Mzima Spring is made up of four natural Springs located on the western part of Tsavo West National Park. It is about 48 kilometres from Mtito Andei with its source emerging from Chyulu Hills on the North. Chyulu range is made up of volcanic lava rocks and Ash, which allow river to flow through the rock and it is estimated that it can take up to 25 years underground before re-emerging 50 kilometers away forming the Mzima Springs. The rainwater are collected deep down the porous volcanic rocks and travel through the porous rock, the water are purified clear and clean water which is the essential source of water to the abundant wildlife in the Tsavo West National Park.
The Mzima Springs is one of the fantastic wildlife viewing spot in Tsavo West as it attracts diverse wildlife visiting the Springs to quench their thirst. Some of the notable species that are likely to be seen around Mzima Springs are Hippos, crocodiles, zebras, lesser kudu, Dik-dik , Giraffes, buffaloes, antelopes, Rhinos, Elephants among other animals and variety of birds.
Mzima Springs is a major contributor to ecological balance in the Tsavo West ecosystem, it provides a natural habitat and home to Hippos and Nile crocodiles. The Hippos spend the day partially submerged in the water at the Springs and at night they roam around the surrounding savannah. The hippos help with spreading some seeds through their dungs and it fertilises the water, which leads to the growth of trees such as dates and raffia palms, Waterberry’s and fig trees that grow around the Mzima pool. The fruits from the trees are the source of food to vervet monkeys and a variety of birds. Inside the spring waters there are several invertebrates which are being preyed on by fish and various cormorants.
Mzima Spring in Tsavo West National Park got famous by being captured by wildlife film-maker known as Alan and Joan Roots in 1969 nature documentary Mzima “portrait of a spring” which captured underground footage of the Hippos and crocodiles.
Mzima Spring is one of the many fascinating places to visit on a safari tour to the Tsavo West National Park for a perfect wildlife viewing experience. This is because of the amazing displays of the submerged presence of a large number of Hippopotamus, the Springs is also home to crocodiles which are frequently seen basking in the sun along the shores of the Springs and slowly gliding into the water. In the spring also there are a number of fish species, the crystal clear water provide the excellent chance to view the fish in their natural habitat. Other than Amboseli National Park, Tsavo is also known for its large population of elephants; the largest animal on the planet. There is no better place to observe these majestic creatures other than on the region around Mzima Springs where they are seen wondering and feeding on the vegetation around the Mzima Springs. Another wildlife most likely to be seen around Mzima Springs are the Zebras and various types of Antelopes from the smallest the dik-diks, impalas, gazelles to the biggest the Eland spotted feeding on the green grasses around the Mzima Springs.
Tsavo West National Park is also home to over 600 bird species and for that reason it is one of the best safari tour destination for bird watchers. Mzima Springs is a bird watching haven with plenty of the total birds species found in Tsavo west national park being spotted here such as: plied kingfisher, sacred ibis, African spoonbill, African jacana, Goliath herons, Helmeted guineafowl, vulturine guineafowl, Kori Bustard, secretary birds, marabou stork, Red-billed hornbill, von der Decken’s Hornbill, Northern carmine bee-eater, Lilac – breasted Roller, Nubian woodpecker, Black -bellied sunbird, Yellow- necked Spurfowl, African paradise Flycatcher, African mourning Dove, Red-eyed Dove , Superb starling, Crested Francolin among other variety of birds.
Other tourist attractions at Tsavo West National Park
Tsavo West National Park is a beautiful wildlife rich National Park in Kenya in which it has a Highway ( Nairobi-Mombasa Highway) separating Tsavo East National Park and Tsavo West National Park. In addition to the presence of Mzima Springs, Tsavo west National park has other popular tourist attractions in the park such as:
Shetani Lava Flow: Shetani lava flows derived its name from the swahili word “Shetani” which mean Devil in English. It is located 4 kilometres in the western part of Tsavo West National Park near the Chyulu Gate.
The Shetani Lava Flow are believed to be formed about 500 years ago. It is one of the best spots to see some of the big cats such as the lion, cheetahs and wild dogs. It is an awe-inspiring safari places to visit with the nearby Shetani caves which are explored with a flashlights and one has to be extra vigilant as the caves are sometimes inhabited by predators such as Hyena and some of the dangerous animals. On a Kenyan safari tour visit to Tsavo West National Park, Shetani lava Flow is a must visit place.
Lake Jipe: This a lake that lies across the border of Kenya and Tanzania, where most of it lies in the kilimanjaro region in Mwanga District Tanzania. The lake is fed by Lumi River which has its origin at Mount Kilimanjaro. The northern part of the Lake is being protected by Tsavo west National park in Kenya while the rest is being protected by the nearby Mkomazi Game Reserve.
Lake Jipe covers an area of 30 square kilometres (12square miles). This part of the Lake is bird watchers paradise with plenty of avian species available here some of which include: pelicans, storks , Egrets, spur-winged plovers, ducks, Egyptian geese, lesser Jacana, Madagascar Squacco heron, black heron, African darter, African skimmers are some of the common species.
First World War site: In addition to its abundant wildlife Tsavo west National park, host the monuments of the first world War. The military museum which is located on the reception area of the Taita Hills Wildlife Safari Lodge. It captures the memorable stories of the first world War. The lodge has been built to look like a German fortress to commemorate an epic battle that took place here .
The monument hosts several items and artefacts belonging to both British and German soldiers. There are evidences of a mixture of pictures , a collection of brass mountain gun shell cases, a breech bolt from a German Mauser rifle others include the tailfin from a British 20lb Hales Bomb, the imperial German Army flag and British Army flags among other items on display.