Taita Taveta county – New Road, New Game


(Posted 23rd November 2013)

The planned new highway between the border town of Taveta and Voi will open up the area to more tourist visitors when complete, allowing easier access to the more remote parts of Tsavo West and of course the Taita Hills Game Reserve, a 28.000+ acres private sanctuary owned and operated alongside the Taita Hills Lodge and the Salt Lick Lodge. The present road, arguably one of Kenya’s worst in an area of such importance to tourism and trade – this is the missing link between Arusha and Mombasa, where all other sections are now on first rate tarmac – has in the past often been cited as the key obstacle to bring more tourists into the Lake Jipe or Lake Chala area, allow visitors to pay their respects at the Commonwealth War Cemeteries at Maktau and Taveta, see the remnants of the great East African battlefields of World War I and generally stimulate economic growth and bringing in more investments into the area.

In coming days will the selected contractor be announced and it is then only a matter of time before the official ground breaking will take place, launching the construction of a modern road costing around 10 billion Kenya Shillings, which will connect the two East African neighbours of Kenya and Tanzania will go underway. Once complete the new highway link will permit the opening of a new safari circuit which includes Tsavo East, Tsavo West, the Taita Hills game sanctuary and the Wundanyi Hills, Lakes Jipe and Chala and on the other side of the border Mt. Kilimanjaro National Park and of course the little explored hills and mountains of Pare, Usambara and the hardly visited Mkomazi National Park. Trade too is thought to benefit as Tanzanian farmers will be able to ship their produce to the key market of Mombasa at a fraction of the time required now, due to the often nearly impassable dirt track, on the maps shown however as a major road to the rude awakening of foreign travellers on self drive.

The area has a lot to offer’ said a regular Mombasa based source from the safari operations side of things before adding ‘Tsavo East and West, and the Taita Hills, are an important destination for tourists from the coast. We would be happy to add for instance Lake Chala or Lake Jipe, where there are even lodges and camps, but the road right now is a real torture, for our tourists and for our cars. It is not worth breaking shocks [shockabsorbers] and springs or have the tourists disgruntled because they have to travel on such bad roads. When the new highway is ready it will be a walk in the park so to speak to send our tourists there too but for now, it is far too costly considering the damage to our cars this road does’.

Meanwhile has the Taita Taveta County also participated in the 2013 Miss Tourism Kenya event to publicize the wide range of tourism attractions in this region to the rest of the country and the wider world. With the new road coming, there is no doubt that this part of Kenya is destined for greater visibility and definitely a lot more visitors, especially as the world moves towards the centenary commemoration of World War I, and the anticipated renewed interest among war buffs to see the Battlefields East Africa. For more details on this see http://atcnews.org/2012/06/24/battlefield-east-africa/ and http://atcnews.org/2013/08/04/99-and-counting-battlefield-east-africa/. Watch this space.

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