Are you in Kenya or Indonesia?
The landscape is evergreen, with moist soils and shrubs, which you’ll work your way through with trees towering high above the land. For a split second, you might think you have arrived in Indonesia. As soon as you walk around the corner, you spot the rice fields and women with large baskets on their backs. Nothing could be further from the truth! You are still on the African soil!
Hiking to viewpoints
The Taita Hills are a series of mountains in Taita-Taveta. These hills are part of the Eastern Arc Mountains, which extend to Tanzania and stand above the landscape. Whether you are hiking or cycling, we guarantee you a spectacular African view. Strangely enough, hardly anyone knows about this striking, green gem and because of this, you will hardly see any tourists. Make sure you make your stop for the scenic view!
A unique homestay
In addition to flabbergasting views and local hospitality you can say hello to, you can also find two unforgettable (sweet and true) accommodation options in the Taita Hills. For instance, at the foot of the hills lies the home of Mama Rose. This is a real Kenyan power woman who opens up her household as a homestay especially for Charlie’s Travellers. Partnering with locals is very important to us, as it contributes to the social and economic well-being of the community. Besides, it is a mega authentic experience: cooking together, hiking on her shamba, chatting in the kitchen with the whole family and waking up with Kilimanjaro on the horizon. Who is going to bivouac in a thirteen-in-a-dozen hotel when there is such a pure Africa experience to choose from?
But that’s not all. If you are really looking for next-level sustainability, we have a very special accommodation for you: the Taita eco-house. The ‘Biogas Taita Project’ was set up in 2009 by German Qui, who was looking for an alternative source of energy for the local community. Super advanced energy methods in the middle of nowhere in Kenya, who would have thought! And the best part: you can stay there through Charlie’s Travels and experience life in an eco-house for yourself. Solar energy, biogas, special compost gardens: sustainability at its best! Who knows, you might even learn something for your own little Dutch home.
Fifty shades of green in Kenya!
Ever heard of Taita? No? We don’t blame you, even most Kenyans will look at you questioningly when you mention this mountain range. Totally off-the-beaten-track, in other words! Bizarrely, hardly anyone knows this emerald green gem, even though it is absolutely worth a visit. Besides, it is also a stop that lies on the brand new train route between Nairobi and Mombasa. Do we need to say more? The Taita people are mega friendly, you are most likely the only tourist and nature is out of this world. Green hills stretching into the far distance – you almost imagine yourself in Indonesia – and completely different ecosystems on your doorstep. This is fifty shades of green in Kenya!
All nice and well, but what can you do there?
That we call this place a hidden green pearl is not for nothing, as you can go on magical hikes here. Who would have thought Africa could be so green! Climb the hills, visit the cute villages on the way and celebrate your arrival on the hill (or mountain, by our Dutch standards) with an ice-cold Tusker. Nothing tastes as good as a beer after a diligent effort.
So… you’ve reached the top. Now what? You can whet your appetite for adventure by abseiling down one of the Taita hills with Charlie’s Travels. Endless green landscapes plus screaming adrenaline at high altitude: hurtling down really doesn’t get much better than this. After this retreating activity, hop on the back of a boda and moped through the authentic villages of Taita-Taveta. Have a delicious local lunch (a plate of sukuma wiki with kachumbari and chapatis) and sniff some culture along the way. You will find the special Kenyatta caves, the caves where the father of the current president was in hiding during the Mau Mau uprising. Exciting! Still not tired? Then hop on a mountain bike and explore the green surroundings by bike like a true Dutchman.
How to get there?
Since 2017, instead of a polluting domestic flight, you can take the express train between Nairobi and Mombasa. Nice and sustainable, we love that! This train departs punctually and you can rest assured that you will be taken to your destination as efficiently as possible. Not for nothing, as this project is funded and run by the Chinese. You get off at the small town of Voi, from where you can reach the verdant Taita Hills within an hour. Of course, it is also possible to drive to this hidden green gem on your own initiative.
Combine this destination with booming Nairobi, the vast savannah of Lumo and tropical coastal city Mombasa: a super diverse trip through Kenya. We would know…backpack on, board the train and go with the flow!