Taita-Taveta County lies approximately 200 km northwest of Mombasa and 360 km southeast of Nairobi. The capital is Mwatate, which is the third-largest town in the county after Voi, Wundanyi and Taita in that order. Taita Taveta County boasts the expansive and world renowned Tsavo National Park and the picturesque Taita Hills –both spectacular tourist attractions in the coast region. Other attraction sites include lakes Challa and Jipe that straddle the Kenyan –Tanzanian boarder and Mzima springs
Tourist attractions and Heritage Sites
Covering 1,000km2, Taita Hills form the northern most par of the Eastern Arc Mountains. Vuria is the highest peak at 2,208 meters above sea level.
The Taita Hills forests have 13 taxa of plants and nine taxa of animals that are endemic. in addition 22 plant species found in the Taita Hills forests are typical of the Eastern Arc forests including the indigenous species of the African violet.
Mzima Springs are a series of four natural springs located in Tsavo west national park, around 48 km from Mtito Andei . The source of the springs is a natural reservoir under the Chyulu Hills to the north. The Chyulu range is composed of Volcanic lava rock and ash, which is too porous to allow rivers to flow. Instead, rain water percolates through the rock, and may spend 25 years underground before emerging 50 kilometers away at Mzima. Mzima is one of Tsavo’s most popular wildlife attractions owing to its resident populations of Hippos and Nile Crocodiles . Mzima Springs, Marere, and Tiwi in Kwale County are the other sources of water (after Baaricho which supply 90 million litres per day). They supply 20 million litres a day to Voi, Mariakani, and the South Coast.
World war I Battle field
These include the Kenyatta Caves, Wray Museum, Kasigau Fort, Mwashuma Fort and Salaita Hill, which was the battlefield for World War One.
Kasigau, Mwashuma and Mashoti Fort
An isolated mountain massif in the Taru Desert scrub land to the west of the Buchuma Gate to Tsavo East National Park. There was lightly held British position high up on a ridge as a heliograph signaling post and lightly protected. Scene of two skirmished between the British and Germans forces who wished to use the area as a base for their raids towards Mombasa and the Uganda Railway. Germans held the post for several months from 20th November 1915 until January 1916
Situated about 3 kilometers downhill north of Wundanyi town in Taita-Taveta County, Kino caves are believed to have played an important role to the entire nation during the independence struggle.The caves now dubbed Kenyatta caves are believed to have been the hideout for the founding father of the nation and his allies to evade arrested by the colonial administration at the height of struggle for independence.It is believed that Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and the other Kapenguria six visited the caves to seek refuge in a bid to escape the colonial dragnet.
The late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta together with other celebrated heroes such as Bildad Kaggia, Achieng Oneko, Ronald Ngala, Paul Ngei, and Tom Mboya, had sought refuge in these caves before their arrest in 1952.It is in these caves that the heroes of the nation plotted schemes on how to topple the British power way back in the 1950s.
The Wray Memorial museum is a historical building in the Sagalla area that has been converted into a museum and cultural center. This was an old church built over 108 years ago by Rev. Alfred Wray, a British Missionary. The objective of the museum is to preserve, protect and promote the heritage, culture, religious history and artifacts of the Sagalla people.The Old St. Mark Church building is an example of simple roman architecture that employed both local and western building materials. It has five wooden doors fixed with glass on both side and one at the rear. That it has withstood the ravages of nature and neglect for so long exemplifies the high quality materials that were used as well as the good workmanship.
Savannah plains between Mt Kilimanjaro and the Pare Mountains, Salaita was the gateway into Taveta and to German East Africa. Salaita was quickly occupied and made into a strong defensive position by the Germans after the 15th August 1914. The hill was attacked three times by the British who were beaten off with heavy loss twice, 29th March 1915 when 300 troops were involved and 12th February 1916 when 6,000 troops with 18 artillery guns and howitzers and 41 machine guns were repulsed by 1,200 soldiers of the Schutztruppe, before being finally liberated after a lengthy artillery bombardment on 8th Mach 1916, German forces having evacuated the hill the evening before.
Tsavo East and West National Park
The parks are Dubbed the “Theater of the wild’, Tsavo West and Tsavo East National Parks form one of the largest national parks in the world covering a massive four per cent of Kenya’s total land area. Tsavo East, the larger of the two, lies to the east of the Nairobi —Mombasa road, halfway between Nairobi and Mombasa. It is dominated by thorn bush land with the Galana River flowing through and bordered by the Yatta plateau, the longest lava flow in the world. The park is known for its large herds of the famous ‘red’ elephants. The park is accessible through Mtito Andei, Voi, Buchuma, Manyani, lthumba or Sala gates.
Tsavo East National Park
Major Attractions inside Tsavo East National Park
- Yatta Plateau.The longest lava flow in the world stretching 300km.
- Wild life -The Park is famous for its large animals such as vast herds of red dust-coated elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion, leopard, hippo, crocodile, water buck, Lesser kudu, gerenuk and hirola.
- Birds –The prolific bird life features 500 recorded species.
- Aruba Damon the northern banks of the seasonal Voi River, is a popular drinking hole for wildlife.
- Mudanda Rock.The enormous rock towers above a natural dam, which draws elephants and thousands of other animals to it.
- Lugard Falls.Named after Captain Lugard, the first proconsul to East Africa, the falls feature bizarrely eroded rocks through which the waters of the Galana River flow over foaming rapids and crocodile—infested pools.
How to Access Tsavo East National Park
- Roads:The Mtito Andei Gate is 233km south of Nairobi and 250km north of Mombasa on the main Nairobi-Mombasa road.
- From Malindi, take the western road (C103) and enter the park via Sala gate.
- Airstrips:Voi, Aruba, Satao, Sala, lthumba, Sangayaya, Mopeo, Bachuma, Cottars
Accommodation in Tsavo East National Park
- Voi Safari Lodge
- King ﬁsher Tented Camp
- Ndololo Tented camp.
- Tarhi Eco Camp
- Satao Camp
- Epiya Chapeya tented Camp
- Patterson’s Safari Camp
- Aruba Ashnil.
Out-side Park Accommodation
- Voi Wildlife Lodge
- Man Eaters
- Red Elephant lodge
- budget hotels
Tsavo West National Park
The park is in southeast Kenya, 240 km from Nairobi along the western side of the Mombasa-Nairobi highway. Tsavo west is dubbed as Land of Lava, Springs and Man-eaters. The savannah land has wide grasslands, scrub-lands, acacia woodlands, belts of riverine vegetation and rocky ridges. The wildlife attractions are elephant, rhino, hippos, lions, cheetah, leopards, buffalos, diverse plant and bird species including the threatened corncrake and the Basra Reed Warbler.
Means of getting to Tsavo West National Park
- 240km from Nairobi, 250km from Mombasa- Mtito Andei Gate
- There are three airstrips in the park- Kamboyo, Kilaguni, Tsavo Gate, Jipe, Kasigau, Finch Hattons, Ziwani and Maktau.
- Gates:Tsavo, Lake Jipe, Mtito Andei (Kamboyo HQ), Chyulu, Maktau and Ziwani.
- Roads:The main access routes are through Chyulu Gate from Amboseli and Mtito Andei Gate from Nairobi.
- Visitors from Mombasa can use Tsavo Gate near Manyani.
- The Park can be reached via Taveta —Voi road through Maktau,Ziwani and Jipe Gates.
Major Attractions in Tsavo West National Park
- Cave exploration at the Shetani caves- Shetani lava flow and underground caves with potential for geological and cave exploration and hiking.
- Game drives- Leopard, cheetah, wild dogs, buffalo, rhino, elephant, giraffe, zebra, lion, crocodile, mongoose, hyrax, dik- dik, Lesser kudu and about 600 species of birds.
- World War 1 sites
- Recent Volcanoes, volcanic Chaimu hill, Roaring rocks, Poacher’s outlook
- Mzima Springs, rhino sanctuary and underwater hippo and fish observatory room.
Accommodation in Tsavo West National Park
- Ngulia Safari Lodge
- Kilaguni Safari Serena Lodge
- Kitani Severin Safari Camp/ Lodge
- Finch Hattons Tented Lodge
- Voyager Safari camp.
Self — Catering in Tsavo West National Park
- Kamboyo Guest House
- Lake Jipe Bandas
Camping sites in Tsavo West National Park
- Campsite- 8km from Mtito Andei Gate
- Chulu Campsite- 1 km from Chyulu Gate
- Lake Jipe Campsite- on the lake shore
Taita Taveta County has a lot to offer to tourists, nature lovers and people looking to quench their wanderlust. The county can simply be described as “Land of Lava, Springs & Man-Eaters”.
From the the Historical World War 1 sites, the sight of fifty million gallons of crystal clear water gushing out of from the under parched lava rock that is the Mzima Springs to the Shetani lava flows, this County is a beautiful, rugged Destination. The Savannah ecosystem in Both Tsavo East and West comprises of open grasslands, scrub lands, and Acacia woodlands, belts of riverine vegetation and rocky ridges including the Poacher’s Lookout where visitors can see the teeming herds in the plains below. These Parks t offers some of the most magnificent game viewing in the world and attractions include elephant, rhino, Hippos, lions, cheetah, leopards, Buffalo’s, diverse plant and bird species including the threatened corncrake and near threatened Basra Reed Warbler.