Taita Taveta County


It lies approximately 200 km northwest of Mombasa and 360 km southeast of Nairobi.

The capital is Mwatate, although it is the fourth largest town in the county after Voi, Wundanyi and Taveta in that order.

The population of the county 30 years ago was approximately 45, 000 persons but this has shot up to well over 250, 000 persons with population densities ranging from 3 persons per km2 to more than 800 persons per km2.

This is due to the varied rainfall and terrain with the lower zones receiving an average 440 mm of rain per annum and the highland areas receiving up to 1900 mm of rain. The district ranges in altitude from 500 m above sea level to 2, 228 m at Vuria Peak, which is the district's highest point.


  1. Taveta Constituency
  2. Wundanyi Constituency
  3. Mwatate Constituency
  4. Voi Constituency

Physical features 


  • River Njoro


  • Lake jipe
  • Lake Chala


  • Kisigau Mountain


  • Taita Hills
  • Shomoto Hill


  • Tsavo plains.


  • Paranga Valley
  • Bura Valley

Importance of physical features

  • Tourist attraction, source of revenue through tourist attraction.
  • The lakes provide water to the people.
  • The forest provides natural habitat to animals and birds.

The main types of natural vegetation

  • Ngangao Forest

Importance of vegetation

  • The forests are water catchment areas
  • It also provides food and a home to most domestic and wild animals and birds.

Map of distribution of the physical features.

People and population

Language groups

  • The Taita people (the Wataita or Wadawida) are a Kenyan ethnic group located here. They speak Kidawida which belongs to the Bantu languages.

Areas of high population density

  • Mwatate
  • Voi

Areas of low population density

  • Wundanyi
  • Taveta

Social relations and cultural activities

Traditional way of life of the people


  • The traditional diet of the Taita consisted of bananas, pumpkins, cassava, beans, sweet potatoes, cowpeas, and millet. Occasionally, this diet would be supplemented with game meat hunted from the plains. However, once the Taita started growing maize (corn), and after the government restricted hunting, ugali and green cooked vegetables, especially became their staple food.


  • Sometimes back ancestors (living dead) used to wear skins from goats or sheep. They were used to cover the lower part of body. Some used to wear the barks of big trees. Most woman used banana leaves as a woman respective attire. There is also a mode of dressing meant for woman called mahando. This was worn during traditional dances and it is made from sisal.

Songs and dances

  • The traditional dance is called Kirindi in Taita language. They used instruments, live horns (nderera), whistle (firimbi), jingles (njuga), mwazindika (a drum made with a hollow trunk of tree covered with skin on top and bottom.

Traditional medical practices

  • They used traditional herbs to treat diseases .


  • Birth and naming

The birth of the child was considered a major event. People come with gifts to see the newborn baby and special food and drinks are made and this child is blessed. The children are named after their dead relatives, naming after relatives, according to season depending on when the time the child is born – like Mwanjala (born during drought), Wamvua (born during rainy season), Tabu (born during troubles), Mwashimba (born when lions were seen).

  • Initiation

Initiation is a right of passage from childhood to adulthood. After circumcision one starts being treated as an adult and one had to change his or her behaviour completely. Mostly they learn how to behave as responsible members of the community. Both boys and girls were circumcised using knives, we call it Kuchwa in Taita language


  • Harvest

They were held after something special has taken place like a good harvest/music competition

  • Music

The Taita are very much into their music and have many rituals and traditions based off music and dance. The most common dance of the Taita people is the pepo, the spirit possession dance. This dance is not only performed on national holidays.

 Resources and economic activities


Main cash crops and food crops grown

  • Maize, peas, cowpeas, green grams, cassava, sweet potatoes, yams, millet, orange trees, passion fruit.

The areas where the cash crops are grown

  • Zare
  • Bura
  • Mwatate
  • Voi
  • Wundanyi
  • Taveta

Types of livestock kept

  • Cows
  • Goats
  • Sheep
  • Camels
  • Donkey


Areas where fishing is practiced

  • Lake Jipe
  • Lake Chala


Major forests 

  • Taita hills forests

Wildlife and Tourism

Type’s of wildlife

  • Elephant
  • Rhinos
  • Zebras
  • Antelopes
  • Cheetah

The game parks and reserves

  • Tsavo National Park

The major tourist attractions 

  • Aruba Dam
  • Mudanda Rock
  • Yatta plateau
  • Lugard falls


Taditional industries and the products of traditional industries.

  • Trade
  • Agriculture


The major trading centres include

  • Voi
  • Bura
  • Mlengwa
  • Kajire
  • Majengo
  • Mktau
  • Ziwani