Tsavo Lions Make A Kill

Safari Location: Tsavo National Park, Kenya
Duration: 3 days
Traveller Details: David Gardener, UK - 9 people in the group
Rates & Availability: Want to go on safari yourself? Make an enquiry

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Wildlife Highlights
Safari Trip Rating
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Where did you go on safari, which national parks did you visit, and how long for?

Tsavo, we went from I think it was a 3-day trip with two nights and a couple of 1-day trips, because we were based in Mombasa. The one I’m really looking at is the 2-night trip where we stay in two different lodges.

The food was pretty good. There were about 8 or 9 of us that went. Obviously not everyone came in and out with us, some people decided to stay where they were. It was excellent, it was very good value for money, I enjoyed it.

What was your wildlife spotting highlight?

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We stayed in I think it was Elephant Salt Lick Hotel and we went out before breakfast for a drive to see what we could see and we were going past one of the waterholes, it was an artificial waterhole, we found a pride of about 20 Tsavo lions, lying on the dam, sort of on the side. Didn’t see any large male lions, they was basically females and cubs. Anyway, the driver took us back for breakfast and after breakfast we went out to try and find them again and they had moved.

They were in a bunch of trees just by the side of the waterhole, while we stood to watch them. We knew where they were because of the noise of the baboons in the trees warning us there were Tsavo lions around. A lone buffalo appeared at the water hole and then the large lionesses, I guess it was the eldest statesmen of the pride, started to stalk the buffalo. One or two others started to move towards it but the lioness was out in the open. The buffalo didn’t run away really, he stood his ground. The lion attacked, got on its back, and then the other Tsavo lions joined in.

We saw it from the beginning of the stalking and I think the buffalo took ten, fifteen minutes before it was dead, you know its legs were kicking. When we left the scene the whole pride of lions were around this buffalo, licking its skin. They hadn’t sort of got into the buffalo at the time. But what surprised me was that there wasn’t a large male lion anywhere, certainly not while we were there, we didn’t see one.

There were probably some of the Tsavo lions were male, but there wasn’t one with a full mane, as you see, at all, which I found surprising. Maybe he waited till they started to dig in and did all the hard work and then climb in.

Were there many people on safari in the park while you were there?

We were 8 or 9 in our party, the hotel I would say was fairly full, so therefore a number of minibuses going round. In fact we were the first one that saw the stalking, by the time the Tsavo lions kill had finished there were probably half a dozen minibuses. We were, I reckon we were about 50, 60 metres from the kill, by a group of trees and then there was open plains leading down to the waterhole, so we had quite a good view but you couldn’t get very close. So the only bad thing was obviously the only negative thing was the amount of minibuses by the end of the hunt.

Are there any tips or advice you can give to people planning a similar safari?

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People must take binoculars, and a good camera with extra batteries – my camera batteries went flat along the way.

Did you book the safari before you went, or when you got there?

We booked it when I got there. But the holiday was booked through the internet, where we stayed in Mombasa and knew that we wanted to go a safari and I decided I’d wait till I get there as you could probably get a better deal locally, and locally there you could talk to some of the people in the hotel who may have gone the week before, and see what were the better trips to go on. I’ve been out on the little trips and I’ve actually taken my 2 sons who’ve never been to Africa before. So I’ve been a number of times.

How would you rate this last Tsavo lions safari that you went on?

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I think it was excellent, I think it helped by actually seeing the animals. Unfortunately I don’t think on that trip I saw a rhino. Certainly saw Tsavo lions, saw cheetah, no leopard. Can’t remember what the big 5 is now… lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino. Oh yes elephant. We saw elephant. We saw 3 of the big 5.

What I say to people if you're going from Mombasa, the trouble is it's a fair drive - about 3 or 4 hours. If I was to do it again, I think I might do a week on safari and then a maybe a week on the coast rather than staying on the coast and travelling, because it takes a bit of time getting from the coast to the park, especially with the awful roads. The roads were in really bad condition.

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