Shetani Caves

Useful Information

Location: 240 km from Nairobi, 250km from Mombasa. By plane.
(-2.603120, 37.881290)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: Foreigners: Adults USD 52, Children USD 35.
Residents: Adults KSH 515, Children KSH 215.
Citizens: Adults KSH 515, Children KSH 215.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: bring torch
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Tsavo West National Park, P.O. Box 71-90128, Mtito Andei, Kenya, Tel: +254-20-2384417, Cell: +254-720-968527. E-mail:
KWS Reservations, Tel: +254-20-2379407. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


2010 inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.


The Shetani Caves are located in a very young lava flow, which is 500 years old. The locals actually still tell stories how the lava erupted and the land started to burn, which were told by their ancestors. They called the event Shetani, which means Devil or Evil in Kiswahili. When the locals first saw fire erupting and flowing down the hillside believed that it was the devil himself emerging from hell. The Shetani Lava Flow is located about 4 km west of the Chyulu gate of Tsavo West National Park. The lava flow covers an area of 50 km². It is 8 km long, 1.6 km wide and 5 m thick. The volcano erupted again afterwards, but has now been quiet for 200 years.

As far as we understand its possible to visit the caves unguided. However, this is a park with large predators and so it is necessary to hire an armed guard against the wild animals from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). They also offer rangers who guide through the cave. Tsavo West lodges charge USD 50 per person for guided excursions to the park, including the caves. Like always with undeveloped caves, good shoes and enough lamps are essential, we recommend helmet with headlamp and gloves. The lava tubes often have black walls and are trhus darker than other caves so more light is required. Also, the lava is often sharp, so sturdy boots are essential. The caves are sometimes inhabited by hyenas, which do not take kindly to be disturbed.

There is also a small cave which is named Man-Eaters Cave. When the railroad was built two man eater lions started to kill workers and the construction was stopped for nine months. British hunters tried to kill the lions. One of them, Lt. Col. John H. Patterson discovered human bones in this cave and proposed that the lions had used this cave as a hideout and den.