One place attracting major tourist traffic in this district, particularly visitors on fleeting air safaris from the coast, is Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, which isn’t in the Taita Hills at all, but in the hillocky lowlands west of Mwatate. Set up in 1973 by the Hilton hotel chain, the sanctuary is now owned and managed by Sarova Hotels, who successfully balance wildlife and human needs in an environment that, while not being fully natural, seems to work well for both.

For most of the year, the sanctuary is full of wildlife. There are more than fifty species of large mammals and three hundred species of birds here, and the sanctuary’s small size means the rangers always have a good idea of where the key animals can be seen. It’s not uncommon to spot two dozen species in a morning game drive, among them lions, cheetahs, large herds of elephant and buffalo, and all the other southern plains grazers. During the drier times of the year, when the animals are not dispersed, the water sources beneath Salt Lick Lodge, on the southern side of the sanctuary, provide waterhole game-viewing, including a very good ground-level hide, far better than you could hope to experience at Treetops or The Ark.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Kenya features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
Dhows, donkeys and sundowners: why it's time to return to Lamu, Kenya

Dhows, donkeys and sundowners: why it's time to return to Lamu, Kenya

Lamu was once an essential stop during any trip to Kenya. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this historic Swahili town is home to wandering donkeys and lazy dhow…

09 Oct 2017 • Harriet Constable insert_drive_file Article
Saving the elephants: on the poaching frontline in Kenya

Saving the elephants: on the poaching frontline in Kenya

The African elephant is under constant threat from poachers, and numbers have fallen by one third in seven years. Joe Minihane journeyed to the Samburu reserv…

31 Jul 2017 • Joe Minihane local_activity Special feature
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook