Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary

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Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary

Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary is a privately owned wildlife sanctuary and national park in Kenya, established in 1972 by Hilton International. It is located in Taita-Taveta County approximately 220 kilometers from Mombasa and 360 km south of Nairobi. The sanctuary covers an area of 28,000 acres (110 km2) and is adjacent to Tsavo West National Park and the LUMO Community Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary(THWS) derives its name from the surrounding clusters of hills and is an integral part of the Eastern Arc forests classified as a biodiversity hotspot. Before the establishment of THWS on Bura Block along Mwatate-Taveta Road, the land was used as a game hunting ground. THWS was established in 1970 to make the area more attractive to wildlife and tourists, allow conservation, and promote wildlife viewing.

The vegetation formation is usually dense, stratified, and always dominated by Acacia /Commiphora trees and may appear to be evergreen in wet areas such as in the central lowlands of the sanctuary.

The sanctuary straddles the Southern Tsavo West National Park. It is an important dispersal area and migrating corridor for wildlife between Tsavo East National Park and Tsavo West National Park making it a highly valued tourism recreational area and of ecological importance.

The topography is generally mountainous and offers breathtaking landscape views of the Kilimanjaro, Pare, and Uluguru mountains and the clusters of Taita Hills with a seasonal river dividing the sanctuary into valleys and lowland plains.

How do I get to Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary?

By Road: The closest gateway to Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary is the city of Mombasa, a journey of 125 miles or three hours and forty minutes. Driving from Nairobi will take approximately six hours.

By Air: The nearest airport to Taita Hills Wildlife Conservancy is in Mombasa. Visitors will most likely fly into Mombasa, a journey of just over one hour. Transfer from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Mombasa usually takes just over an hour, then additional travel by road of 125 miles to get to the conservancy. This trip will take around three hours and forty-five minutes.

When is the best time to visit Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary?

The best time to visit Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary is during the dry season, from June to October, when wildlife viewing is at its peak. However, the sanctuary can be visited year-round, and each season offers its unique experiences.

What animals and birds can be viewed in Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary?

Among the sanctuary’s most notable residents are over 50 mammal species, including some of Africa’s most iconic animals. Striped zebras graze peacefully alongside towering giraffes, while formidable cape buffaloes form formidable herds, evoking images of the African wilderness at its most pristine.

The sanctuary’s predators, including lions, leopards, and cheetahs, add an element of excitement and intrigue to wildlife encounters, their stealth and prowess symbolizing the raw power of nature. Additionally, various species of antelope, such as impalas, gazelles, and kudus, dot the landscape.

In addition to its impressive mammalian inhabitants, Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary is a paradise for birdwatchers, boasting a staggering diversity of avian species. With over 390 bird species recorded within its boundaries, the sanctuary offers endless opportunities for birdwatching enthusiasts to observe and appreciate the region’s avian wonders.

What activities are available in Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary?

Day and Night Game Drives are among the highlights of a visit to the sanctuary, offering the opportunity to explore its varied landscapes and encounter its abundant wildlife. Led by experienced guides in safari vehicles equipped with open roofs for optimal viewing, these excursions provide thrilling opportunities to observe iconic African species such as elephants, lions, giraffes, zebras, and more in their natural habitat.

Guided Nature Walks offer a more intimate and immersive way to experience the sanctuary’s wilderness, allowing visitors to explore on foot accompanied by knowledgeable guides. These leisurely strolls through the bush provide opportunities to learn about the flora and fauna of the region, observe tracks and signs left by passing animals, and appreciate the smaller wonders of the ecosystem, from colorful birds to fascinating insects.

Birdwatching enthusiasts will delight in the sanctuary’s rich avian diversity, with over 300 species recorded within its boundaries. Guided birdwatching excursions offer the chance to spot a variety of resident and migratory birds, from majestic raptors soaring overhead to colorful songbirds flitting among the trees.

Cultural visits to local communities provide a window into the traditional way of life of the indigenous Taita people, offering opportunities to interact with community members, learn about their customs and traditions, and gain insight into their relationship with the land.

Are there accommodations available in Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary?

Accommodation within Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary promises a blend of comfort, luxury, and immersion in the natural beauty of the surroundings. The two prominent lodges within the sanctuary, Salt Lick Safari Lodge and Taita Hills Safari Resort & Spa offer distinct experiences tailored to the preferences of discerning travelers.

Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary

Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary Wildlife | Mammals & Birds

Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary is situated amidst the breathtaking landscapes of Kenya and encompasses an extinct volcanic crater known as the Taita Hills. Cloaked in verdant vegetation, the sanctuary is home to an impressive diversity of mammalian and avian species, offering visitors a captivating glimpse into Africa’s natural wonders.

Within the sanctuary’s boundaries, a total of over 50 mammal species have been documented, ranging from iconic elephants and buffalo herds to smaller inhabitants such as warthogs, giraffes, and gazelles. Exploring the sanctuary on foot presents opportunities to encounter these majestic creatures, as they graze and roam amidst the dense vegetation that blankets the crater’s slopes.

For those seeking nocturnal adventures, night game drives provide thrilling encounters with elusive species such as hyenas, leopards, honey badgers, genets, and white-tailed mongooses. Under the cover of darkness, these secretive creatures emerge from their hiding places, offering rare glimpses into their nocturnal lives.

Antelopes also find sanctuary within the dense vegetation of the Taita Hills, with species like Kirk’s dik-dik, steinboks, and elands seeking refuge amidst the lush foliage. Meanwhile, the sanctuary’s skies teem with avian life, with over 300 bird species recorded within its confines. From majestic raptors like the Taita Falcon to colorful songbirds like the Taita White-eye, the sanctuary offers a paradise for birdwatchers seeking to explore its diverse habitats.

Whether traversing the sanctuary’s winding trails or embarking on guided game drives, visitors to Taita Wildlife Sanctuary are immersed in a world of natural splendor, where every turn reveals new and captivating wildlife encounters.

What to See | Attractions

Taita Hills World War One Museum

Within the confines of the Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary itself, lies the Taita Hills WW1 Museum, a poignant reminder of the region’s historical significance. This museum commemorates the contributions of the Taita people during World War I and showcases a fascinating array of artifacts, photographs, and exhibits.

Through immersive displays and informative narratives, visitors gain insight into the cultural heritage and wartime experiences of the Taita community, underscoring the region’s rich history and resilience.

The museum serves as a testament to the enduring spirit of the Taita Hills region, bridging the past with the present and inspiring future generations to cherish and preserve their heritage.


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, which is the Lion’s Bluff Lodge.


Mzima Springs

Located about 66 kilometers from the Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, Mzima Springs is a natural wonder. The springs are home to a large population of hippos and crocodiles, and you can also see a variety of birds and other wildlife. Mzima Springs is usually included as part of a package visit to Tsavo West National Park, which also makes for a great day trip.


Tsavo East National Park

Tsavo East National Park, neighboring the Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary epitomizes the raw, untamed beauty of the African wilderness. Spanning vast expanses of savannahs, scrublands, and acacia woodlands, this sprawling park is renowned for its diverse wildlife and dramatic landscapes.

Visitors to Tsavo East can embark on exhilarating game drives across its rugged terrain, encountering a plethora of iconic African species, including the famous red elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, and giraffes.

The park’s expansive vistas, punctuated by ancient baobab trees and winding rivers, offer a captivating backdrop for unforgettable safari experiences, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and wildlife photographers alike.


Tsavo West National Park

Tsavo West National Park, adjacent to its eastern counterpart, presents a starkly contrasting landscape characterized by volcanic hills, lush oases, and crystalline springs. Among its most notable attractions is the enchanting Mzima Springs, where underground rivers gush to the surface, creating a haven for hippos, crocodiles, and an array of bird species.

Visitors to Tsavo West can explore its diverse ecosystems through guided game drives, nature walks, and visits to iconic landmarks such as the Shetani Lava Flows and the Roaring Rocks. The park’s scenic beauty, coupled with its rich biodiversity, offers a captivating retreat for wildlife enthusiasts seeking to immerse themselves in the wonders of the African wilderness.

Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary Activities

Game Drives

Game drives in Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary offer an exhilarating opportunity to explore the sanctuary’s diverse landscapes and encounter its abundant wildlife. Led by experienced guides, these safari excursions traverse the sanctuary’s winding trails and open plains, providing thrilling sightings of iconic African species such as elephants, giraffes, zebras, and lions.

With the option of either a 2-day or 3-day safari, visitors have the flexibility to tailor their experience to suit their preferences and schedule. During the safari, guests can embark on multiple game drives, each offering unique sightings and experiences, from sunrise safaris to sunset adventures.

Whether exploring the sanctuary’s vast savannahs or venturing into its dense woodlands, game drives promise unforgettable encounters with Africa’s magnificent wildlife, making for a truly immersive safari experience in the heart of Kenya’s wilderness.


Walking Safaris

It is an opportunity to experience the unique flora, fauna, and dynamism of this fascinating ecosystem. Take a nature walk with an experienced ranger guide, learning the intricacies and connectivity of an enabling environment immersing in the solace and tranquility of the wilderness. The nature walk provides an opportunity to deepen the connection with the natural world.


Bird Watching

Over 350 bird species including resident and migrant bird species have been recorded and documented in the sanctuary. Three endemic bird species can also be viewed at the nearby Taita hills; i.e. the Taita thrush. Taita Apalis and Taita white eye.


Community Visits

Immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting a nearby Taita village. Learn about their way of life, traditions, and how they live in harmony with the environment. You may even get to see some traditional dances and crafts.


Wildlife Conservation Activities

Participate in habitat restoration and reforestation efforts by planting Indigenous trees during your stay and, attend informative wildlife presentations by qualified ecologists or rangers to learn about conservation efforts in the sanctuary. You can also visit the Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary to learn about the efforts to conserve the declining rhino population in Tsavo.

Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary Accommodation

Accommodation options within Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary offer a blend of comfort, luxury, and immersion in the natural beauty of the surroundings, ensuring a memorable safari experience for visitors. The two prominent lodges situated within the sanctuary, Salt Lick Game Lodge and Taita Hills Safari Resort and Spa, each provide unique offerings tailored to the preferences of discerning travelers.

Salt Lick Game Lodge stands as an architectural marvel, elevated on stilts overlooking a bustling waterhole frequented by a variety of wildlife. The lodge’s unique design allows guests to observe wildlife from the comfort of their rooms or the communal areas, offering uninterrupted views of elephants, giraffes, zebras, and other animals as they quench their thirst or graze nearby.

Accommodations at Salt Lick Game Lodge consist of spacious rooms and suites, exquisitely appointed with modern amenities and adorned with locally inspired decor, ensuring a comfortable and memorable stay amidst the wilderness.

Taita Hills Safari Resort and Spa, nestled amidst lush gardens and scenic vistas, offers a tranquil retreat for guests seeking relaxation and rejuvenation. The resort’s elegant accommodations, ranging from cozy rooms to luxurious suites, provide a peaceful sanctuary after a day of exploration in the sanctuary.

Guests can unwind by the poolside, indulge in pampering spa treatments, or savor delectable cuisine showcasing the flavors of Kenya and beyond. With its serene ambiance and attentive service, Taita Hills Safari Resort and Spa offers a luxurious oasis in the heart of the wilderness, where guests can immerse themselves in nature’s beauty while enjoying the comforts of modern amenities.

Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary Conservation Fees

2024 Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary Conservation Fees;

Non-Residents

East African Residents

Adult

35 US Dollars 500 Kenya Shillings

Child (4-11) Years

20 US Dollars

250 Kenya Shillings

* The Sanctuary gate opens at 0600 hours and closes at 1800 hours
* The sanctuary entry fee are applicable to persons aged 4 years and above

Booking & Reservations Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary Contact

Mobile: +254-721-242-711
WhatsApp: +254-721-242-711
Reservations: +254 718-179-967
Email: info@africanspicesafaris.com
Website: https://africanspicesafaris.com

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