I recently went to a place in Tsavo National Park that brings you close to wildlife without paying tons of money. It’s called Mzima Springs which are a series of four natural springs. It is a stream of crystal-clear water caused by the natural filtration process of the Chyulu Range. The spot was made famous by Alan Root’s 1983 film Mzima: Portrait of a Spring. He filmed crocodiles and hippos in their underwater lives. It’s a pleasant spot, but unfortunately you will not be alone so be there early. If you are lucky, some of the night’s animal visitors may still be around.
You can walk around freely as rangers are posted by the car park to look after you. Nevertheless make sure you’re not too close to the water’s edge, where large crocodiles and hippos lurk. If you are visiting with your kids or by yourself, make sure that none of you is between a hippo and the water since the hippos are easily irritable animals that can kill. Especially early or late in the day, or during wet weather when they are more active.
It is one of Tsavo’s most popular wildlife attractions. Mzima’s isolation makes many species dependent on its waters: crocodiles, hippos, monkeys and different fruiting trees such as date and raffia palms, water berries and figs. It is a complete ecological system as the hippos dung fertilizes the water which the fruiting trees absorb nutrients with their roots. Their fruits are a source of food for a variety of birds and the vervet monkeys. Below the water’s surface, the invertebrates which feed on the hippo dung are preyed on by fish and cormorants.
There’s an underwater viewing chamber, which gives a creepy view of thousands of primeval-looking fish. Be careful here though, as both hippos and crocs are potentially dangerous.
The walk through the springs is very tranquil and the only thing that disturbs the peace are the screeches from the baboons. Be sure not to carry any food or snacks since the baboons might attack.
If you love nature, then this would be a perfect place to either reflect, hangout with a friend or two, have a photo shoot (personal or even a wedding shoot), team building and if you can risk it get romantic and do a proposal here ;).
Let the soothing sound of nature take you away but be careful, do not feed the monkeys or irritate them. The situation might not end up well for you or your friends :D. You get the option of being guided by a ranger who is always available at the springs or you can walk yourself.
So if you are planning a getaway to Tsavo West especially this coming December holiday, Mzima Spring is a must visit for you and your loved ones to bond in nature.
How to get to the Mzima Springs
The Mzima Springs are a 5 1/2 hour drive from Nairobi over the road that connects Nairobi with Mombasa. It is best to combine it with a visit or safari in Tsavo or on your way to the coast.
Puriey is one of our bloggers from Kenya. She writes about the best places to sleep, eat and hangout in Africa. Want to see more of her stories, have a look at holidayinafrica.wordpress.com.