Our story is a rich history, which runs back to the days of Big Game hunting – when game was numerous and, it then seemed, inexhaustible. Before Tsavo Safari Camp was established, the area was famous – not only for hunting – but also the infamous Man eaters of Tsavo and British hunter, Lieutenant Colonel Patterson. These events date back to 1898, during the construction of the Kenya-Uganda railway, at the time being built by the British government to expand British domination in the area.


Many years later, in 1963, Glen Cottar based himself at Kitaani Kya Ndundu – “where the owl nests”, where he planned to build permanent tented camps. This is the site on which Tsavo Safari Camp now sits. By late 1964 Tsavo Safari Camp, or Cottar’s Tsavo – as it was then called, opened for business. It was the very first permanent tented tourist camp in Kenya, and probably Africa.


Throughout the 60s and early 70s Tsavo Safari Camp hosted thousands of visitors through the Lindblad explorer flying safaris – it was the first safari experience for many visitors, including many famous visitors from around the world, such as; photographer Peter Beard, Kuki Gallman of ‘I Dreamed of Africa’ fame, British royal family, and film stars.


The game was abundant, it was ‘the place’ to come and visit, and in the golden years it was not unusual to see hundreds of elephants, and rhino numbering in the thirties and forties in one day on a game drive. It was a place of adventure, with the river flooding frequently and pure wilderness stretching for hundreds of kilometres.

Trouble struck in the 1970s, however, and the combination of a terrible drought in 1971-1972, and a huge upsurge in poaching, led to the deaths of 45,000 elephants and many thousands of rhino.


Tsavo Safari Camp has now been in the Desai family for 30 years and has been re-established as a stunning wilderness retreat, reminiscent of the old days. We are truly proud of the history of the camp and all the stories that come with such a past. There are many fascinating tales to tell, and we are currently compiling some of the most amusing and interesting anecdotes to be published on this page in the near future.

But for the genuine experience, a visit to camp, in the footsteps of the travellers of old – and sat by a fire with a nightcap to hand – will instill in the visitor a feeling of how it once was; and a taste of what tales are yet to come.