(This week is a guest post from my friend Jess. She gives an account of her visit to the Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary).
Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary is a privately owned sanctuary, located in Taita-Taveta in the south west region of Kenya.
The sanctuary is majorly savanna with some few areas covered with bushes and thicket. As the name suggests the sanctuary offers panoramic views of the neighboring Taita hills.
View of the Taita Hills
During my recent visit to the sanctuary I noticed that the number of animals seemed fewer. Our tour guide mentioned that since the sanctuary borders another conservancy and also is near Tsavo West National Park the animals randomly traverse the vast savanna in search of food and water.
The numbers not withstanding we were able to sight the magnificent jumbos in their herds. Elephants are quite common in this sanctuary and can be easily spotted having a drink at the watering holes or busy browsing for food.
One thing I have observed during any game drive is the search of the king of the jungle -the lion. Actually to some people no game drive is complete until a lion is sighted. On this particular game drive we privileged to locate two lions- a lion and a lioness.
The excitement of spotting a lion is always preceded by the sight of many tour vehicles congregating in one single area.
Our convoy lion chasing
The thing is that if the lions are busy taking a siesta one can easily drive past them since the grasslands serves as a camouflage.
The savanna discreetly conceals the sleeping cats.
It so happened that this ‘couple’ was on ‘honeymoon’. During mating season, lions normally retreat to a secluded area. Our guide mentioned that the mating season normally lasts several days and the mating is pretty intense as lions copulate for about twenty to forty times in a day! talk of stamina. All the while having foregone food for that duration..
On a clear day one can also spot the snow capped Mt. Kilimanjaro in neighboring Tanzania.
For bird watchers, the park also hosts various species of birds from the largest birds on land, the ostriches to the scavenging vultures)
The male ostriches have black feathers while the female ostriches have brown feathers. Ostriches are pretty fierce birds and very protective over their eggs. We also learnt that the male and female take turns to sit on the eggs as the other keeps watch.
We also spotted the helmeted guinea fowls, which apparently can only be found south of the equator, the guinea fowls north of the equator have no helmets.
A vulture probably looking for his next carcass
the beautiful African sky
The sanctuary is home to different types of antelopes and gazelles. Did you know in the antelope family only the males have horns?
Cape buffaloes can also be spotted in large herds.
While visiting the sanctuary you can either chose to stay at the Sarova Taita Hills Game Lodge or at the Sarova Salt Lick Lodge. Both lodges are near watering holes which make for excellent wildlife viewing.
The Sarova Salt Lick game lodge is unique in that the rooms are built on stilts and thus offer amazing views of wildlife and the sanctuary. The lobby, restaurant and terraced bar all provide excellent views and photographic opportunities, while an underground tunnel and bunker with ground level windows provides unbelievably close yet safe access to a variety of wildlife as they drink.
The sanctuary is easily accessible via the Nairobi – Mombasa highway and then branching off at the Taita -Taveta road. It is advisable to use of a travel company for both the hotel booking and easy facilitation of the tour in the Sanctuary.
What do you think of the Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary? Please share in the comments …
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