Domestic tourism has a lot of potential in Kenya. In 2019, this niche generated direct earnings of about USD 3 billion. Surprisingly, domestic tourists spent more on road transport services (about USD 1.3 billion) than international tourists. However, domestic tourism is more than just an economic benefit for the country. It allows Kenyans to discover the beauty of their own land. Kenya has a lot to offer for all types of tourists. To promote the country’s lesser-known destinations, the Kenya Domestic Tourism Office will be launched in Voi this May.

We are pleased to announce the official opening of the headquarters for the Domestic Tourism Office in Voi, Taita Taveta County. The organisation, chaired by Dr Livingstone Mghenyi, aims to support various types of domestic tourism products. The Domestic Tourism Association (DTA) plans to achieve this goal by raising awareness and collaborating with other stakeholders. 

Diversification for the Benefit of All 

With other key stakeholders, the DTA and Taita Taveta County government have organised a three-day event (starting May 28th). It will feature tourism, culture, and sports and aim to show the hidden gems in Taita Taveta. 

The DTA comprises experts, tourism professionals, and associations from 47 counties. Each member is dedicated to promoting responsible tourism. The organization is structured around a committee of experts, which focuses on one of the three pillars of Sustainable Development: economic and fair, social and cultural, or ecology and biodiversity. One of the associations that is a member of DTA is the Mlilo Community-Based Tourism Association, which is led by Dr Livingstone. The association works to develop community destinations outside of Kenya’s traditional game-viewing circuits. Their goal is to package pristine locations and promote sustainable tourism.

The goal is to reduce the strain on traditional tourist destinations, such as the overly crowded Voi River Tourism Circuit, which puts too much pressure on the fragile ecosystem. To achieve this, Mlilo, in conjunction with DTA, aims to market other pristine attractions situated outside the national parks. The two main objectives are to alleviate the pressure on the Tsavo Conservation Area and ensure that the local community benefits from the tourism revenue previously reserved only for the government.

A Glimpse of Taita Taveta 

Taita Taveta County is an excellent destination for rock or mountain climbing, paragliding, and other adventure activities. Have you scaled the Lyale Peak?

Taita Taveta County offers diverse tourism activities besides the Big Five wildlife. Visitors can enjoy agrotourism, battlefield, cultural, and rock tourism. The county is an excellent destination for rock or mountain climbing, paragliding, and other adventure activities. Nature lovers can explore serene campsites and nature trails. Taita Taveta is famous for its cave exploration, including the Kenyatta Caves.

During the struggle for freedom in East Africa, these caves were a hiding place for the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Milton Obote, and others who hid from the British. The Sagalla people used the Mwanakaviri caves for their Maasai rustling missions and as a hideout during World War II. Young Sagalla men would guard the caves from the top to protect women, children, and older people. The cave is also an excellent picnic site. 

Taita has several rock outcrops, including Kasighau, Wesu, Iyale, Vuria, and Goe.

Taita has several rock outcrops, including Kasighau, Wesu, Iyale, Vuria, and Goe. Hiking Kasighau Hill offers you the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the closed canopy of the indigenous Ngangao cloud forest. Wesu Hill is another popular site in the Taita circuit. Located in Wundanyi town, Wesu is a stunning hill often covered in fog. The hill is home to Skull Cave, where the indigenous community would place the skulls of their deceased to unify them with their ancestors. 

Vuria Hill is situated in Njawuli Sub in Mwanda. It is the highest peak in the coastal province, with an elevation of 2,228 metres. The hill also boasts Taita’s largest cave/rock shelter, which served as a hideout for Mwangeka Wa Malowa (Mwangeka The Magnificent) and his fighters during their battle against the British soldiers. 

Goe is an impressive rock formation in Taita that you can’t miss. This enormous rock boasts several heritage sites, including a unique architectural structure built by the Anglican Church in 1883. Archaeologists believe that the Neolithic Kettles on Goe rock are over 8,000 years old. If you enter the cave, you will observe that the builders used sticks to partition the “rooms” of the church. 

Taita boasts hills, caves, rock formations, and indigenous forests home to species such as the Taita Apalis, which exists nowhere else on earth.

If you're planning a trip to Taita, you should definitely visit the Maramunyi Cultural Center.

Taita is a cultural hub with a rich tapestry of history and culture. Covering this aspect of the county would require more than just one blog article. The county’s identity is based on its cultures, history, and traditions. If you’re planning a trip to Taita, you should definitely visit the Maramunyi Cultural Center. The centre covers around 200 acres of eroded land with gullies as deep as 5 feet in some places.

The soils contain traces of iron ore, and there is very little vegetation on the surface. Someone burnt down Maramunyi, which used to be a village. This is where the Wambisha people lived 800 years ago. They were descendants of Queen Sheba and coexisted with the Taita people. At present, the eighth generation of Wambisha still resides there.

The Taita Battlefields evoke a unique feeling. As you visit, you will witness the British gun camps situated on Kasigau Hill, which was a crucial location during the war. Interact with the locals, savour a local meal, and see the handcrafted baskets woven by the women.

Taita County offers much to discover, making it a must-visit destination for avid travellers. The humble town of Voi will host the launch of the DTA headquarters, bringing benefits to Taita County and other counties in Kenya.