By Allan Olingo
|The famous Salt Lick Lodge [PHOTO: Mohammed Maarufu/ Standard]|
Voi is the largest town in Taita Taveta County, lying on the edge of the Tsavo National Park, one of Kenya’s oldest and largest African safari parks. One can get to Voi either by road, air or even train from both Nairobi and Mombasa.
But if you want to get to the Tsavo National Park, through Nairobi, you will use the Voi Gate or Manyani Gate, while from Mombasa you will use the Bachuma Gate. You can also enter this park from Malindi through the Sala Gate.
There are chartered flights from Nairobi, Mombasa, Ukunda and Malindi that you can use to get to Voi. These flights are allowed to land at any of the six airstrips in the southern part of Tsavo National Park or any of the 13 airstrips in the northern part of the park.
There is also the railway line, with a train station in Voi and the main Nairobi-Mombasa highway, where you can use a bus or a self drive vehicle.
Voi has a range of accommodation to suit all budgets, tastes and interests. Within Voi, there are very basic campsites where you can pitch a tent and sleep under canvas in the wild; well appointed safari lodges or small private camps. Most of the tourists who prefer staying within Voi stay in Lion Hill Lodge, Voi Safari Lodge or Voi Wildlife Lodge.
These lodges are popular with travellers due to their close proximity to the Nairobi-Mombasa highway. Other popular lodges that are within the Tsavo ecosystem include Kilaguni Serena, Sarova Salt Lick Lodge, Severin and Voyager Ziwani Safari camp. There are various tented camps, which include the Galdessa, Epiya Chapeyu, Tsavo Safari, Rockside, Satao, Sobo and Patterson Safari Camp.
There are various camping sites around here and they include Ndololo, Kandri and Main Gate campsites. Beyond on the Chyulu and Taita hills are the Sarova Salt Lick, Sarova Taita Hills, Ol Donyo Waus and Cambi ya Kanzi.
The accommodation costs will vary with the establishment but on average, it is about Sh17,000 per night within the lodges in Tsavo.
Bird watching activity is best between October and January, with many migratory birds including the African skimmers, red and yellow bishops, goshawks, buffalo weavers and palm nut vultures migrating.
On a visit to Tsavo National Park, some of the animals you could expect to come across include Cape buffalo, cheetahs, duikers, elephants, gazelles, gerenuks, giraffes, hares, hyenas, impalas, leopards, lions, mongoose, black faced vervet monkeys, Sykes’ monkeys, giant rats, black rhinoceros, warthogs, waterbucks and zebras.