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 neighbour 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 in plenty. Elephant and lion are resident and buffalo and cheetah are easily found. It is near to 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 which all come from the Taita Hills and the Nguru mountains in Tanzania.