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Countryside at Tsavo, early 1950s

Tsavo is a region of Kenya located at the crossing of the Uganda Railway over the Tsavo River, close to where it meets the Athi-Galana-Sabaki River.[1] Two national parks, Tsavo East and Tsavo West are located in the area.

The meaning of the word Tsavo is still unclear, but because of tribal conflicts, the Kamba people used to refer to the region as the place of "slaughter". Until the British put an end to the slave trade in the late 19th century, Tsavo was continually crossed by caravans of trans-Saharan slave traders and their captives.


Typical flora of the region includes:

Typical fauna of the region includes:

Native human inhabitants:

  • The Waata, a bow-hunting people

In popular culture[edit]

The place achieved fame in The Man-eaters of Tsavo by John Henry Patterson (author), a 1907 book about the eponymous pair of lions who attacked workers building the railroad bridge. The book has been made into several films; most famously The Ghost and the Darkness, starring Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas, which, in spite of mostly “mixed or average” reviews, won an Academy Award for sound editing in 1997.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Patterson, B. D. (2004). The Lions of Tsavo: Exploring the Legacy of Africa's Notorious Man-Eaters. McGraw-Hill. p. 29. ISBN 0-07-136333-5.

Coordinates: 02°58′00″S 38°28′00″E / 2.96667°S 38.46667°E / -2.96667; 38.46667