​Overview – Taita Hills WS

Anthony Ham
Expert
By Anthony Ham

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guide to Kenya.

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Anthony is the author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary is a compact park in Kenya’s southeast with excellent birding and beautiful scenery. Compared to the arid Tsavo nearby, Taita Hills is relatively lush and perfectly suited to game drives looking for lions, elephants and more across the grassy plains. Taita Hills has a fascinating history, having played a role in WWI. There is a museum that tells the story.

Best Time To Go June to October (Wildlife), November to April (Birding)
High Season June to September
Size 113km² / 44mi²
Altitude 851-1,192m / 2,792-3,911ft

Pros & Cons

  • Beautiful scenery with grasslands and distant hills
  • Good birding
  • Rarely crowded, except on high-season weekends
  • Interesting history
  • Not many big safari animals present
  • Small game-drive circuit

Taita Hills WS Safari Reviews

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Wildlife

For such a small sanctuary, Taita Hills has surprisingly diverse wildlife populations. Of the predators, lion are sometimes seen and, if you’re lucky, you might even spot cheetah. Elephant is also possible. Commonly seen prey species include buffalo, Grant’s gazelle, impala, zebra, Masai giraffe and Coke’s hartebeest. Watch also for klipspringer around Lion Rock in the south of the sanctuary.

Scenery

Taita Hills occupies one of the greenest corners of southeastern Kenya. Acacias dot the rolling grasslands, and everything is particularly green along the main river valley. Away to the south and west, purple hills and mountains rise above the plains. Beyond the ridges lies Tanzania.

Activities

Guided game drives are the main activity in Taita Hills: as you drive around, you’ll be looking for wildlife and birds. Self-guided game drives are possible if you have your own vehicle. You can also visit the WWI Museum while you’re here.

Weather & Climate

The weather and climate of Taita Hills is similar to that of southeastern Kenya in general. More info:

Best Time To Visit

The best months for wildlife viewing in Taita Hills are during the Dry season (June to October). Toward the end of that time, animals are more concentrated around water sources. Migrating birds begin arriving around November and stay until April. The peak rainy periods are November and March to April (the Wet season runs from November to May).

Getting There

Taita Hills is close to Kenya’s southeastern border with Tanzania. The nearest main town is Voi (43km/27mi), and it makes a convenient stopover between Tsavo and northeastern Tanzania. Otherwise, it’s 201km/125mi by road from Mombasa and 371km/231mi from Nairobi. It can take 6 to 7 hours* to reach here from Nairobi, or 3 to 5 hours* from Mombasa.
*Driving times are only a rough indication. You should always consider the possibility of significant delays.

Health & Safety

Please read our malaria and vaccinations page for Kenya and our general ‘Wildlife Viewing Safety Precautions’ for more info:

Want To Visit Taita Hills WS?

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Taita Hills WS Safari Reviews

  • Expert Rating
    0.0/5
    0 Reviews
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Latest User Review
PG  –  
United Kingdom UK
Reviewed: Jan 15, 2024
4/5

Due to heavy rains before our visit most animals were hidden away so spotting was not that easy.

Full Review