Lumo Community Wildlife Sanctuary - Taita Hills, Kenya
An ecological oasis
An exclusive eco-lodge, conceived, built and run by the local Taita community, Lions Bluff Lodge stands high on a rocky bluff looking towards the North Pare Mountains, Kilimanjaro, the West Usambara Mountains and the Taita Hills.
The 125,000-acre community-owned Lumo Community Wildlife Sanctuary lies at the heart of the Tsavo eco system, surrounded by Tsavo East and West National parks and the Taita Game Sanctuary. It is composed of three group ranches (Lualenyi, Mramba and Oza), all of whom have elected to pool their natural resources in the interests of sustaining this unique wilderness area.
The area is a vital wildlife corridor for the animals of Tsavo East and west, it is also an ancient elephant migratory route and important breeding sites for lion.
Kenya hotels and accommodation
Amongst the wide range of Kenya hotels, some make the ideal Kenya safari destination. Choose a safari lodge, safari hotel, bush camp, luxury lodge, safari camp, tented camp or bush lodge. National park accommodation usually takes the form of a traditional safari lodge or tented camp, but numerous other options exist on the park boundaries. Luxury lodges and luxury camp options are also offered in the private wildlife conservancies.
Immediately adjacent to Tsavo West, the Lodge also serves as a gateway to both Lake Jipe and Lake Challa as well as to the Shetani Lava Flows, Mizima Springs Hippo Pools, and rhinoceros sanctuary of Tsavo West.
How to get there
From Voi, take the Taveta road for 48 kms. Turn left at the Lumo Community Wildlife Sanctuary signboard. The sanctuary gate is 1km from the main road. Lions Bluff is 5km from the gate.
The picturesquely verdant Taita Hills lie to the south and west of Voi town and rise abruptly above the plains of Tsavo West National park. The highest point in the Taitas is Vuria (2,209m), from which there are stunning views of Kasigau, Mawenzi, Kibo, Ngulia and the Chyulus.
Wundanyi is the Taita district capital where you can also see one of the many ancestor shrines of the Taita, The cave of skulls . This cave, just outside the town, shelters the exhumed skulls of 32 Taita ancestors and remains a traditional advice and guidance centre wherein the Taita people may consult with their dead.
The forgotten world of the Taitas
Because the forests that cap the Taita Hills have been isolated from the other Kenyan forests for many centuries, they shelter unusually high levels of endemic species. Bird species include the Taita Thrush, the Taita White-eye and the Taita Apalis. The Taitas also host a unique rear-fanged snake, Amblyodipsas teitana, an endemic toad, Bufo Teitensis, and three butterflies, the Taita Glider, Taita Charaxes and Taita Swallowtail found only in the Taitas. At least nine plant species are found nowhere else on earth whilst the African violet (extensively sold as a pot plant in Europe and America) grows well on their moist slopes.
Highlights of the birdlife include extremes such as ostrich and golden pipit, while perhaps the most conspicuous are the white-headed buffalo weaver and the brilliantly plumaged golden-breasted starling. Raucous hornbill are also prevalent as are such hole-nesting birds as parrot, barbet and roller.
Coke's hartebeest, bush, duiker, klipspringer, suni, Bohor reedbuck, impala, Grant's gazelle, fringe-eared oryx, bush buck, lesser kudu, eland, steenbok, Kirk's dik-dik, waterbuck, vervet and Syke's monkey, yellow baboon, golden, black-backed and side-striped jackal, mongoose, squirrel, cheetah, caracal, serval, African wild cat, lion, leopard, African civet, elephant, Burchells zebra, buffalo, Maasai giraffe, African hare, ant bear, aardwolf, bush baby, bat-eared fox, porcupine, genet, zorilla, honey badger, tortoise, hedgehogs, hyrax, spotted and striped hyena, otter, terrapin and monitor lizard.
Surrounded by the smoke-grey peaks of the Pare Mountains, with views of the snows of Kilimanjaro, the ensuite rooms have little need of decoration. The twelve Rondavel-styled rooms are simplicity incarnate; featuring hand-made four-poster beds, crisp white linen and locally-made wildwood furniture. Each room is ensuite and features a viewing deck and wildwood bridge leading from the bluff.
Dining and bars
The central dining room has open sides, allowing for long views across the plains. An integral part of the surrounding community, the professionally-trained chef sources all his produce from the local farmers, many of whom are shareholders in the conservancy. International and local buffet selections are offered.
The lodge welcomes children and can provide; children's menus, mealtimes, baby-sitting, guided nature walks, and family game drives.
Simply built from sustainable timber, the lodge features a panoramic bar, viewing terrace and community handicrafts boutique.
What to see and do
A traditional breeding ground for the legendary lions of Tsavo, Lions Bluff has its own waterhole, which attracts great herds of elephants, buffalos and plains game.
Day and night game drives.
Unlike the national parks, the Lumo Community Wildlife Sanctuary permits both day and night game drives.
‘Sun-downer' cocktails, bush suppers, picnic lunches, guided nature walks and ornithological tours are also offered.
A key arena of war in the East African campaign of World War I, the lodge also hosts a series of utterly unique ‘battle field tours'; which rediscover the battle lines, infantry trenches and discarded shell cases left behind by one of the most bizarre military encounters between the German and British colonialists.
Lions Bluff Lodge - Taita Hills • Exclusive Safari Lodge • Kenya Hotels, Safari Lodges, Tented Camps
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