Taita Hills Sanctuary


The Taita Hills Sanctuary is a privately owned game ranch operated by the Hilton Hotels International, who own and manage two game lodges within the sanctuary. In relation to its giant neighbor Tsavo, the sanctuary is tiny, only 11,330 ha, but it is a model conservation area with its own warden and rangers and at times has wildlife aplenty. Elephant and lion are resident and buffalo and cheetah are easily found. It is near Lake Jipe, which can be approached from the sanctuary. It is also possible, from this location, to visit the Taita Hills. A switchback tarmac road makes the ascent into a fertile and very beautiful landscape and the contrast with the scrubland below is remarkable. The hills are densely populated but small pockets of isolated forest are retained. The hills are sufficiently isolated to develop endemic forms and birders come from afar to see the Taita Olive Thrush and the Taita White-eye. Some of the well-known house plants—African violets—have their origins in these hills; there are twenty species that all come from the Taita Hills and the Nguru mountains in Tanzania.

Lake Chala, like Lake Jipe shared with Tanzania, is a gem of a freshwater lake hidden in its own crater and whose outstanding beauty is therefore easily missed, although only a short distance from the Taveta to Amboseli road. If you feel inclined to take a walk, give yourself about four hours to complete a circuit of the crater. There are crocodiles in the lake.

Special thanks to the Kenya Association of Tour Operators for helping GORP develop Kenya parks information.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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