The Red Elephants of Tsavo National Parks in Kenya
The elephants of Tsavo East National park are unique. They are brick red in color. These graceful and magnificent animals appear red due to constantly dust bathing and wallowing with the park’s fine red oxide volcanic soil.
The Tsavo elephants are fond of wallowing and dusting. They dust and wallow to keep cool and deter parasites. They seem to enjoy it and take every possible opportunity to do it. They are always ablaze when doing it, giving it their best. Watching them enthusiastically and energetically wallowing and spraying each other with water give a mental picture of the Garden of Eden.
The sight is equally magnificent as these red elephants majestically walk from the water holes, following the well trodden trails around the water hole, which look like a spoke of the wheel.
With over 10,000 of these elephants in the park, chances of seeing them are pretty high. On a good day, it is possible to see hundreds of these red jumbos, especially around water holes. Large herds are common in the bush along Galana River. During the dry season, they congregate at the dams; Aruba dam and at the natural dam at Mudanda rock.
With the railway line passing through some sections of the park, it is possible to have a glimpse of these massive beautiful creatures as one take the train from Nairobi to Mombasa or vice versa.
Tsavo East is one of the world’s leading biodiversity strongholds in Kenya and Africa. It offers miles of open plains, bushy grasslands and semi arid scrubs where once you depart from the beaten tracks that exist, you will explore one of the last remaining wildernesses on earth in almost primeval solitude.
The elephants are a keystone species in this arid ecosystem. Through their movement and feeding, they influence the shape and character of the vegetation, which in turn affects all other creatures. As they move and foliage, they knock over shrubs and trees. This creates open areas which are gradually colonised by grasses. The grazers and herbivores are attracted by the grasslands and the shrublands.