TAITA TAVETA COUNTY IN KENYA
Taita Taveta county is previously known as Taita Taveta District but currently it is known as the county in Kenya, it lies approximately 14 km Northwest of Mombasa and 380 km Southeast of Nairobi. The county headquarters are located in Mwatate, which is central to the county. The population of the county was 340,671 people according to the 2019 national census, with population densities ranging from 14 persons per km2 to more than 117 persons per km2.This is due to the varied rainfall and terrain with the lower zones receiving an average of 440mm of rain per annum and the highland areas receiving up to 19,000 millimeters of rain.
The county ranges in altitude from 500 meters above sea level to 2,229 meters at the Vuria peak, which is the county’s highest point. Taita – Taveta county covers an area of 17,083.9km2, of which 62% or 11,100km2, is within the Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks, the remaining 5,876km2 consists of small scale farms, ranches, sisal estates, water bodies (such as the Lake Chala, Lake Jipe in Taveta and the Mzima springs), and the hilltop forests.
The lowland areas of the county outside the national parks are farms, ranches, estates and the wildlife sanctuaries, the county has approximately 25 ranches. The main land use in the ranches is cattle grazing. The three operating sisal estates in the county are Teita Sisal Estate, Voi Sisal Estate and the Taveta Sisal Estate, many ranches have ventured into wildlife tourism and conservation, the Taita Hills and the Saltlick lodges sanctuary is among the well-known tourism attractions in Taita Taveta.
There are 48 forests which have survived on hill tops in the county of which 28 are gazetted and are under government protection and management, they range in size from small 500 square metre patches with a few remnant trees to modestly vast 2 square kilometer indigenous and exotic forest mountains, these forests are part of the unique Eastern Arc of forests found mostly in eastern Tanzania with the Taita Hills forming the only Kenyan portion of that forest type. The Taita hills forest hold a unique biodiversity with 13 taxa of plants and 9 taxa of animals found only in the Taita Hills and now here else in the world, in addition 22 plant species are found in Taita Hills forests are typical of the Eastern Arc forests. Within these beautiful indigenous forests, bubbles clean water flowing to the lowland areas catering for both human economic activities and wildlife.
Attractions in Taita Taveta county in Kenya.
Lumo Community Wildlife Conservancy.
Lumo Community Wildlife Conservancy is a community owned wildlife sanctuary in Kenya, it is located near Mwatate in Taita-Taveta county in the former coast province approximately 220km from Mombasa. It covers an area of 48,000 acres. The sanctuary is formed by the Lualenyi, Mramba Communal Grazing area, and Oza Group Ranch, hence the acronym ‘LUMO’. LUMO Community Wildlife Sanctuary is adjacent to Tsavo West National Park and the Taita Hills Wildlife sanctuary. It hosts cape buffalo, elephant, leopard, masai lion, masai giraffe, zebra, hartebeest, impala, waterbuck, Thomson’s gazelle, lesser kudu, dik-dik and other smaller animals, including a great diversity of birdlife. The sanctuary has one community-owned tourist lodge, that is the Lion’s Bluff Lodge.
The Aruba dam is aman-made the world’s third largest nature conservation.
The dam is fed by the Voi River and covers marshy land measuring 85 acres, other wild life commonly spotted here includes elephants, giraffes and zebras and waterbucks whose habitation is near water bodies as they consume a lot of water. Aruba dam is a congregating point for over 50 different species of animals including birds which are over 170 different species of birds. The Aruba Dam is the best place where to take your pictures from during your visit in Kenya for unforgettable memories.
Shetani lava flow.
The flows were formed only a few hundred years ago and local people believed that it was the devil himself emerging from the earth, this vast expanse of folded black lava spreads for 50 sq. km across the savannah near the Chyulu Hills looking strangely as if Vesuvius dropped its comfort blanket. Nearby are he Shetani caves which are also a result of volcanic activity here you need flashlight if you want to explore, but you watch your footing on the razor sharp rocks and keep an eye out for the local fauna.
The rocks are found at the centre of the Tsavo East national park and its dominated by the yellow baboons and the black faced monkeys which are also called the vervet monkey, the rock also plays arole as water catchment areas where the animals come and quench their thirst especially during the dry seasons.
These falls are found at the great Galana river; the water falls is formed along the Galana River when it flows it intercepts by the rocky surfaces in the park. The powerful Lugard falls is a great sightseeing area; the travellers are allowed to hike to the top of the falls or view the falls from the bottom.
Ngutuni Wildlife conservancy.
The conservancy is located in Taita-Taveta county, it is situated on a 10,000 – acre private game sanctuary, its situated between Tsavo East and Tsavo West national parks and the conservancy is well known as a home for elephants.
Tsavo National Park
Tsavo National park is one of the oldest and largest park in Kenya at 13,747 square kilometres, situated in a semi-arid area previously known as the Taru Desert it was established in in April 1948, and is located near the town of Voi in the Taita-Taveta county of the former coast province with a variety of wildlife like animals and birds.
Activities done in Taita Taveta County.
Game drives in Taita Taveta.
Taita Taveta county has two national parks that is Tsavo East and Tsavo West national parks, here you spot a lot of animals, game driving is apparently the best time to go for a drive is either early morning or ate evening when it’s not too hot, game driving in these national parks is a great idea as you see wild animals in the wild, speaking of animals, seeing zebra’s hugging and spotting more animals and birds.
A guided trek to Mzima springs.
Mzima springs is the one of the most beautiful attraction in Tsavo West, the park is rather dry and Mzima springs is like an Oasis where you spot coloured fish there, in Mzima springs you can’t swim in there because of crocodiles and hippos.
A visit to Lake Jipe and border crossings to Tanzania.
Lake Jipe is on border of Kenya and Tanzania, if you take a boat ride on Lake Jipe and cross to Tanzania, if you love camping and nature, you can camp on the shores of Lake Jipe inside Tsavo West National park then you will have these mountains as your backdrop and you might see slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro from a distance.
A guided Visit to Lake Chala, Taita Taveta county.
Lake Chala is absolutely beautiful as in it is also a hiking place in the county as in to see the lake up close, the Lake Chala can be visited in the afternoon as I to identify some animal species around it. The lake is not mostly visited but finding a way to the lake is too touristy.
Catch the views of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Since Taita Taveta is near to Tanzania you will most likely spot Mount Kilimanjaro, staying in River Lumi resort, is the best place as you can see the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in the morning, though at times they cannot be identified. Other activities that you can do in the Taita Taveta conservancy includes the visiting Grogon castle, hiking the Taita Hills which includes the camping option, seeing the longest lava flow in the world that is the Yatta plateau.