Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary is a privately owned park on the edge of Tsavo West National Park. Its green mountain range and open grassy plains filled with wildlife definitely make it worth a visit. Belonging to the beautiful Eastern Arc Mountain Range, Taita Hills is among the oldest mountain ranges in Africa.
The Eastern Arc Mountain Range runs from Kenya and into neighbouring Tanzania. About thirty million years ago, this entire area was a rainforest. About ten million years ago, the lowland forests slowly converted to savannah. This turned the mountain ranges into “islands” where tropical forests continued to flourish. As a result, each has its own variety of endemic animals and plants. Nowadays, the Eastern Arc is one of the world’s top twenty biodiversity hotspots.
Besides the usual suspects of wildlife, many endemic species populate the 110 square kilometers of Taita Hills. Kenya’s rarest (and most threatened) birds live here: the Taita apalis and Taita thrush. But also the Taita Hills purple-glossed snake, the Taita blade-horned chameleon, the Taita falcon, the Taita white-eye and the Southern banded snake-eagle have their home here. Lovers of larger wildlife can look for African bush elephants, lions, cheetahs, buffalos, leopards, hyenas, giraffes and zebras.
Taita Hills is also home to areas of cloud forests – forests that usually have a layer of clouds hanging above. These forests are home to some very old indigenous trees, that can reach a diameter of ten people holding hands.