The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Fostering Map click
Click on a pin to learn more about the place a particular orphan was
found and the plight of elephants in that area.
Buchuma - Tsavo East National Park
There is a place on the infamous Nairobi - Mombasa road, not far from the Buchuma waterholes of Slave Caravan fame in Tsavo East National Park, which is known as "Mackinnon Road", "Mackinnon" being the name of the man who laid the first strip of tar on what was then just a dusty, rutted track linking the capital city of Nairobi with the Coastal Port of Mombasa. This road marked the venue for a British Army Staging Camp during the Second World War, remembered by old-timers because a naïve soldier offered a passing wild elephant a bun, and got killed for his pains" Today, this point on the main highway is marked by a small roadside settlement sporting a mosque and some shops.
Today, the Tsavo National Park, which came into being in 1949, encompasses an area of 8,000 square miles (the size of Michigan State, Israel or Wales) and is cut by the main Nairobi - Mombasa road, linking the hinterland of Kenya to the Coast. However, there was a time when this giant Park belonged only to the elephants and other wild species that inhabited and could survive in that harsh, vast tract of arid semi-desert country.
Before the days of light aircraft in Kenya, and in order to familarise himself with the task allotted him, Tsavo’s first pioneer Warden, the late David Sheldrick took two full years walking the area under his jurisdiction on foot with Porters carrying food and water and a light fly camp. One of his most memorable days was discovering Mudanda Rock, an enormous out-thrust of ancient rock which today is one of Tsavo’s main tourism features. At the base of this ancient rock outcrop is a natural depression that holds rainwater well into the long dry season and having climbed the rock way back in 1949, an unforgettable sight met David’s eyes – some 700 elephants of all sizes bathing and romping in the pool below with gay abandon. From the top of Mudanda rock David surveyed his new domain which was elephant country devoid of human habitation right to where the horizon met the sky. To his right was the thin ribbon of riverine trees demarcating the dry Mobolo watercourse which, during the wet seasons carried run-off flood waters to the main Galana River, one of only two permanent sources of water within the Tsavo National Park.
There is a wide variety of animals to be seen in Tsavo East National Park: lion, leopard, cheetah, zebras, giraffes, serval cats, antelopes, kongoni, lesser kudu, oryx, klipspringer, impala, stripped hyena, gazelles, buffalos and elephants. Some 500 bird species have been recorded in the area, including ostrich and some migratory kestrels, while buzzards stop at Tsavo-East during their long flight South.
Famous and home to some of the largest herds of elephant in Kenya, the elephants glow red after dust baths, blowing the vivid red dust through their trunks over their bodies, large prides of lion are sighted regularly and another great sight is the spectacular herds of up to 1000 buffalo.
The rolling scrub-covered hills of the park have a very remote feel, with only one lodge and four camps within Tsavo East, you are offered a very novel, exclusive and unique experience. Across the river is the incredible 300 kilometer long (186 mile) Yatta Plateau, one of the world’s largest lave flows. Midway the Galana river cascades down Lugard Falls, named after Lord Lugard, who volunteered for the British Diplomatic Services in East Africa, the falls are renowned for the remarkable shaped water-worn rocks.