List Of Best Places To Visit In Taita Taveta County

Taita-Taveta County is located in the coastal region of Kenya. The county headquarters are located in Mwatate, which is central to the county. Taita Taveta holds a special place in the First World War East African campaign, as it was one of the scenes of clashes between the British and Germans in the region. Many of the battlefields, such as Salaita Hill, remain largely undisturbed, with bunkers and trenches still visible.

The county ranges in altitude from 500 metres above sea level to 2,229 metres at the Vuria peak, which is the county’s highest point. Taita-Taveta County covers an area of 17,083.9 km2, of which 62% or 11,100 km2, is within the Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks. The remaining 5,876 km2 consists of small-scale farms, ranches, sisal estates, water bodies (such as Lake Chala, Lake Jipe in Taveta and the Mzima springs), and hilltop forests. Here is a list of the best places to visit in Taita Taveta County.

Best Places To Visit In Taita Taveta County

1. Lake Jipe

Lake Jipe stretches across the borders of both Kenya and Tanzania. If you take a boat ride on Lake Jipe, you can cross into Tanzania without having your passport stamped. Enjoy the stunning views of the Usambara Block Mountains and other surrounding landscapes. The cost of the boat ride is Ksh 300 per person.

The road to Lake Jipe is red, sandy, and in terrible condition. Having a 4WD vehicle can be very useful in such circumstances. Alternatively, if you enjoy camping and being in nature, you can do so on the shores of Lake Jipe in Tsavo West National Park. You will have the magnificent mountains as your backdrop and you may even catch a glimpse of the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro from a distance.

2. Lake Chala

Photo Credit: @Sun_Chaser_KE I Twitter (X)

Lake Chala is a stunning crater lake that is shared between Kenya and Tanzania, just like Lake Jipe. Although it is not yet a popular tourist destination, it offers breathtaking views that are worth seeing. To avoid the crowds, it is recommended to visit the lake before it becomes a popular tourist attraction. You can hike down to the lake to get a closer look, but please be careful, as a few people have tripped and fallen before. It is advisable to trek carefully to avoid accidents. It is best to visit Lake Chala an hour before sunset to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Lake Chala Entrance Fees

  • Ksh 50 per Person
  • Ksh 200 per Vehicle

3. Mzima Springs

One of the most stunning sights in Tsavo West is Mzima Springs. The park is typically arid, but Mzima Springs is like a refreshing oasis where you can observe colourful fish. However, swimming in the springs is not recommended due to the presence of crocodiles and hippos.

4. Ngangao Forest

Ngangao Forest is situated on a rock amidst several villages, namely Makandenyi, Maghimbinyi, Mgambonyi, and Kitumbi in Taita Hills. It is one of the rare indigenous cloud forests in the region that serves as a shelter for many plant and animal species. The forest is home to three endemic bird species: Taita thrush, Taita Apalis, and Taita white eye, in large numbers. Additionally, some plants, like Zimmermannia ovata, are found in the dryer parts of Ngangao Forest.

4. Mwachora Rock

Mwachora Rock, which stands on the right of Josa Hill as you cruise up to Wundanyi town from Mwatate, harbours a rich and interesting history about Taita’s past. The long cliff was among a series of rocks in Taita that were used as execution chambers for suspected witch doctors. The rock also harbours an interesting myth about a woman identified as Ms. Ngulu, who purportedly tamed a snake called Mwamlalu many years ago.

It is alleged that Mwamlalu would help Ms. Ngulu look after her herd of cattle while she was away and in return, she would feed the snake to her satisfaction.

5. Mwangeka Caves

The Mwangeka Caves, located in the Vuria Hills of Mwanda Village, have a rich history that dates back to the 1890s. The drive to the Mwangeka caves, located in the Vuria Hills, is an amazing experience. Taita Taveta County is unique due to its stunning views and vegetation. The roads along the hills are good, providing tourists with a perfect opportunity to witness the hillside and people farming on the top of the hills.

The road trip itself is also an exceptional experience, with sharp corners and high altitudes that offer breathtaking views of the lowland below. However, the most impressive experience is at Vuria Hills, where you can climb over 1,800 feet above sea level at the highest point in the Coast region.

According to history, the caves were used in 1892 by a famous chief to fight against oppression from the Arabs and British. The caves were used as training grounds for the warriors of the renowned Mwangeka, and they have a rich history that can serve as a tourism venture for hikers and adventure lovers.

6. Lumo Community Wildlife Conservancy

The Lumo Community Wildlife Conservancy is a wildlife sanctuary situated near Mwatate in Taita-Taveta County. It is owned by the community and covers an area of 48,000 acres. The sanctuary is formed by the Lualenyi, Mramba Communal Grazing Area, and Oza Group Ranch, hence the name ‘LUMO’.

The LUMO Community Wildlife Sanctuary is located adjacent to Tsavo West National Park and the Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary. It is home to a variety of wildlife, including cape buffalo, elephant, leopard, Masai lion, Masai giraffe, zebra, hartebeest, impala, waterbuck, Thomson’s gazelle, lesser kudu, dik-dik and other smaller animals. The sanctuary is also a habitat for a diverse range of bird species. The Lion’s Bluff Lodge is the only community-owned tourist lodge in the sanctuary.

7. Aruba Dam

The Aruba Dam is a man-made structure and the third-largest nature conservation project in the world. It is fed by the Voi River and covers an area of 85 acres of marshy land. The wild animals that can be easily spotted here include elephants, giraffes, zebras, and waterbucks, as they prefer to live near water bodies. The Aruba Dam attracts over 50 different species of animals, including more than 170 species of birds.

8. Shetani Lava Flow

The lava flow, which is the largest in Kenya, is nothing compared to the mysterious Shetani Caves. Shetani is Devil in Swahili. 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 square kilometres across the savannah near the Chyulu Hills, looking strangely as if Vesuvius had dropped its comfort blanket. Nearby are the Shetani caves, which are also a result of volcanic activity. Here, you need a 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.

9. Mudanda Rock

The rocks are found at the centre of Tsavo East National Park and are dominated by the yellow baboons and the black-faced monkeys, which are also called the vervet monkeys. The rocks also play a role as water catchment areas where the animals come and quench their thirst, especially during the dry seasons.

10. Lugard Falls

These falls are found along the great Galana River; the waterfalls are formed along the Galana River when it flows, intercepted by the rocky surfaces in the park. The powerful Lugard Falls is a great sightseeing area; travellers are allowed to hike to the top of the falls or view the falls from the bottom.

11. Ngutuni Wildlife Conservancy

The conservancy is located in Taita-Taveta County; it is situated on a 10,000-acre private game sanctuary, situated between Tsavo East and Tsavo West national parks and the conservancy is well known as a home for elephants.

12. Catch the views of Mount Kilimanjaro

Since Taita Taveta is near Tanzania, you will most likely spot Mount Kilimanjaro, Staying at 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 include visiting Grogon Castle, hiking the Taita Hills, which includes the camping option, and seeing the longest lava flow in the world, which is the Yatta Plateau.

13. Taita Taveta Hills Wildlife Sanctuary

Have you been to the Saltlick Lodge, the most photographed lodge in the world? If not, you have yet to experience the bliss of serenity coupled with picturesque views. The Saltlick Lodge is a special highlight in the Taita Taveta Hills Wildlife Sanctuary. The Lodge offers luxury and an exquisite Safari experience.

This Sanctuary is also home to the Big Five animals and unique bird species. You will wake up to a herd of elephants enjoying a drink at a watering hole. The hilly landscape is breathtaking, especially the vast Tsavo Plains that spill across the sanctuary.

14. Taita Hills

Photo Credit: @Sun_Chaser_KE I Twitter (X)

Taita-Taveta County is known for its many tourist attractions. In the picturesque and breathtaking Taita Hills, lies Ngangao Forest, which has a giant tree popularly known as the “mother tree.” The tree has a perimeter equal to 10 grown-up people holding each other’s hands around it. Arborists say the oldest indigenous trees are more than 200 years old.

The tree is of immense benefit to the local community as it assists in weather forecasts. Local old men tell us that when it produces some green flowers during prolonged drought, it only takes about one week to rain heavily

15. Voi Commonwealth War Graves

Voi town has the most important archaeological sites commemorating the 1916 World War. Whether you are seeking adventure or researching the events from a century ago, you will get ample illustrations of what occurred during World War I between the British and the Germans.

On top of that, Voi Town was a hospital centre in 1916. It was an accessible location to bury over 100 people in the sub-Saharan country during the war, making it a top UNESCO World Heritage Site. Approximately 137 Commonwealth burials from World War I have been held at this site.

16. Maktau Railway Station

In the Mwatate division in Taita Taveta, Maktau railway station was a resting point for early settlers who wanted to explore Kenya’s interior. You should add to one of the things to see when visiting Voi. The entire area was the base of the Anglo-German war. Being the only military line, the railway station provided a passage for Commonwealth forces during the First World War.

The history of this station runs more profoundly and longer than gauges, from wars to survivors to natives. It would be an injustice to the lives lost and affected to fit all its history in one paragraph.

17. Grogan Castle

Photo Credit: @Sun_Chaser_KE I Twitter (X)

Ewart Scott Grogan constructed a castle in Taita Taveta County, intending to establish an agricultural college. However, before we delve into that, it’s worth noting that he was a hopeless romantic. He embarked on a two-and-a-half-year journey from Capetown to Cairo to prove his love for Gertrude Edith Watt, to convince her father that he was not a gold digger.

The young 24-year-old was successful in winning Gertrude’s heart and moving her to Kenya. They were a true Romeo and Juliet story. Returning to the castle, other white people did not approve of his idea of establishing a college to promote farming in the area. They particularly detested his idea of modernising the irrigation system. Nonetheless, he went ahead with his plan. Don’t forget to check out his original and preserved bed; you might just relive chivalry at its finest.

18. Salaita Hills

Salaita Hills is located in Taveta County and borders Tanzania and Kenya. The name of the “mound” comes from February 1916, when several Brits were slaughtered.  Salaita was a perfect off-the-beaten-path for Germans to spy on the Brits by monitoring any movement on the gauge. This, of course, was frowned upon by our colonizers. So, a battle ensued to keep the Germans away from the hill. Ultimately, the Germans won after slaughtering 172 Brits.

19. Tsavo West National Park

The park is located in Taita Taveta and Makueni counties, covering an area of 9,065 square kilometres. It is the second-largest park in Kenya. Tsavo West National Park is mountainous and wetter than its counterpart, Tsavo East, with swamps, Lake Jipe and the Mzima Springs.

Tsavo West National Park is more popular due to its scenic beauty, which is characterised by the wide range of vegetation. The park adjoins the great wildlife ranches where the black and white rhinos are found. The park is covered by open savannah grassland dotted with Acacia woodlands, Scrublands, Rocky ridges and Riverine vegetation. It’s the home of all African big animals, especially the African big five, which include: lions, elephants, buffalo, Rhinos and shy leopards. The other big game found at the park are giraffes, zebras, hyenas, cheetahs, Maasai giraffes, hippos, crocodiles, Gerenuk, Lesser Kudu, waterbucks, wildebeests and others. The parks also host a good number of bird species, especially rare birds like the corncrake, Basra reed warbler, secretary bird and many others.

Tsavo East can be accessed through Manyani Gate, Voi Gate, Buchuma Gate and Sala Gate. The best part is that it is just 5 hours away from English Point Marina Hotel & Spa.

20. Tsavo East National Park

Sala Gate of Tsavo East National Park

Tsavo East National Park is located near Voi town in Taita Taveta county. It is the largest National Park in Kenya (13,747 sq. km) and is home to many large animals like rhinos, buffalos, lions, leopards, pods of hippos, crocodiles, and more. The park also supports a thriving 500 species of birds. It is the best national park in Kenya.

The Tsavo East National Park is a charmer. The wildlife, the scenery, the vibe, the pristineness—all of it is so charming and pure in ways other parks cannot compare. The park boasts Kenya’s largest elephant population, 40 different wildlife species, 500 bird species, and countless recreational activities. It lies 423km from Nairobi and is often dubbed the ‘theatre of the wild.’ The sight of dust-red elephants wallowing in the mud is commonplace here, with Tsavo boasting the highest population of elephants in Kenya.

There’s striking scenery to match, featuring beauties such as the River Galana, the Yatta Plateau, Lugard Falls, Aruba Dam, Kanderi Swamp, Mubanda Rock, and the Tsavo River. The park also brims with experiences to look back on. Some are as simple as nature walks, and some are as soul-filling as game drives, bush dinners and lunches, and camping.

Leave a Comment