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Patterson's Safari Camp - Tsavo East, Kenya

Tsavo East National Park - Kenya

A tented camp located in Tsavo East, Patterson's Safari Camp is built on the site of one of the most famous occurrences in Tsavo East's long history. It was here, in 1898, that Col. John Henry Patterson shot the notorious ‘man-eater' nine-foot long lions of Tsavo. The camp and the road leading to it also featured in the recent film ‘The Ghost and the Darkness'. For more information on the man-eating lions of Tsavo visit our General Information section.

Hundreds of men fell victim to these savage creatures, whose very jaws were steeped in blood. Bones, flesh, skin and blood, they devoured all, and left not a trace behind them. (Extracts from a Hindustani poem about the man-eaters).

Location
Tsavo East National Park is easily accessible by air and road, and is approximately 160 kilometers from Mombasa, and 326 kilometers from Nairobi.

Kenya hotels and accommodation
Amongst the wide range of Kenya hotels, some make the ideal Kenya safari destination. Choose a safari lodge, safari hotel, bush camp, luxury lodge, safari camp, tented camp or bush lodge. National park accommodation usually takes the form of a traditional safari lodge or tented camp, but numerous other options exist on the park boundaries. Luxury lodges and luxury camp options are also offered in the private wildlife conservancies.

The Background
The joint mass of Tsavo West and Tsavo East National Parks forms one of the largest national parks in the world and covers a massive 4% of Kenya's total land area. Tsavo East, the larger of the two, lies equidistant between Nairobi and Mombasa and is one of the last great wilderness landscapes on Earth.

A dramatically presented theatre of the wild, Tsavo East offers a vast arena of parched scrub and heat-shimmering bush which is washed by the azure waters and emerald-fringed meanderings of the Galana River, guarded by the limitless lava reaches of the Yatta Plateau and patrolled by some of the largest elephant herds in the world. Tsavo achieved notoriety in the 1900's when ‘the Man-eaters of Tsavo', a pair of rogue man-eating lions, preyed gruesomely on the builders of the Uganda Railway.

Wildlife highlights: Larger mammals include lion, leopard, elephant, black rhino, hippo, giraffe, lesser kudu, oryx, Cape buffalo, zebra, yellow baboon, waterbuck, gemsbok, Coke's hartebeest, gerenuk, and gazelle. Birds: The prolific bird life features 500 recorded species.

Accommodation
The camp, which stands on the banks of the Athi River, offers 20 tents (accommodating 1-4 people). Each tent has its own bathroom (with hold and cold running water), and a private veranda.

Dining and bars
Meals are served in the dining hall, where international and local buffet selections are offered.

Child-friendly
The lodge welcomes children.

What to see and do
Aruba Dam

Aruba Dam is an 85-hectare man-made dam built by the Parks authorities in 1952 to staunch the waters of the seasonal Voi River, which flows down from the Taita Hills in the southwest. It usually holds water throughout the year and is frequented by huge numbers of ibis, many grey heron and a kaleidoscope of other water birds.
It is also part of the territory of a large pride of lion, which can often be seen in the dam's vicinity.

Kanderi Swamp
The Kanderi Swamp lies near Voi Gate and during the dry months provides one of only two drinking areas in Tsavo East, thus attracting large herds of buffalo, impala and antelopes as well as yellow baboons and lion.

Mudanda Rock
Kenya's answer to Ayer's Rock of Australia is called Mudanda Rock, a massive 1.5km whale-backed rock which rears out of the shrub between Manyani Gate and Voi and is famous for its photo-opportunities, offering marvellous light, panoramic vistas and an excellent chance of prime wildlife shots. It is also an excellent vantage point from which to look down on the natural dam below, which can at times attract hundreds of elephant. This area is also known as a favourite leopard haunt, though daytime sightings are rare.

The Galana River
The Tsavo and Athi Rivers join above Lugard's Falls to form the Galana River, which then flows down to the Indian Ocean. A major feature of the park, the serpentine reaches of this river are fringed by riverine forests dominated by Acacia elatior, the Doum Palm Hyphaene compressa and the shrub Suaeda monoica.

Lugard's Falls
Named after Britain's first proconsul in East Africa, Captain (later Lord) Lugard, the falls are better described as rapids than falls progressing from foaming cataracts to narrow cascades that gouge deep into the gneiss bedrock creating fantastic shapes that have been surreally rounded by thousands of years of rushing water.
Mighty when in full spate, the falls gush through a small fissure, narrow enough for the foolhardy to leap across, before plunging to the pool below, where massive crocodiles bask motionless in the sun. There is a parking area at the falls and visitors either climb around the bizarrely eroded rocks or walk down the river to view the rapids. 1km east of the falls another short diversion takes you to Crocodile Point where hippos and buffalo wallow and zip-jawed crocodile grin.

The Yatta Plateau, an ancient valley frozen in time
The Yatta plateau is a ridge or tongue of lava about 300km long and a maximum of 10km wide, which forms a seemingly never-ending backdrop to Tsavo East. One of the longest lava flows in the world, the Yatta affords fabulous views across the rolling reaches of the Park, is an ornithological paradise and makes a peerless sundowner or picnic spot. It is made up of a form of lava known as phonolite, which is between 11 and 13.6 million years old. Current thought suggests that the Yatta Plateau was formed when a stream of lava flowed across the land until it found its way into an ancient river valley. The lava then flowed down the valley; taking on the shape of its contours, until eventually it cooled and solidified. Thereafter the surrounding land was gradually lowered by erosion leaving the frozen river of lava standing up as a ridge.

Highlights and special features
Game Drives, nature walks and medicinal plant discovery

Tsavo East offers miles of open plains, bushy grassland and semi-arid scrub. What is more, once you depart off the few ‘beaten tracks' that exist, you can explore one of the last remaining wildernesses on earth in almost primeval solitude. Experience the real safari - morning and afternoon game drives through the park with our trained driver-guides. Picnic lunches and sundowners can be provided.


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