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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 River.[1] Tsavo means "slaughter" in the language of the Kamba people. Until the British put an end to the slave trade in the late 19th century, Tsavo was continually crossed by caravans of Arab slavers and their captives. Two national parks, Tsavo East and Tsavo West, are nearby.


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; mostly famously The Ghost and the Darkness, starring Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas, which, in spite of mostly poor reviews, won an Academy Award for editing in 1997.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Patterson, Bruce 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