Valentine Weekend

It’s here again! Stretch it into a weekend celebration dedicated to love

Above: Kitich Forest Camp Mathews Range- Dinner under the stars with a herd of elephants.

Published: 8 February 2020 Nation Saturday magazine

Stretch Friday 14 into a Valentine weekend and l’ve got some great places to safari to that are unique. So get your map out and start mapping your Valentine weekend.

Tip: You can fly to any destination in the country including Lake Turkana for the weekend.

The Little-Known Secrets

Mathews Range. Copyright Luca Borghesio
Island forests on Mathews Range in the drylands of northern Kenya. Copyright Luca Borghesio

Settle into the little known secrets in the far-flung mountains of the north like the Mathews Range or Mount Nyiro where crystal clear streams gush from ancient forests little touched by humans. Explore the forests and swim in the fresh pools from Kitich Camp in Mathews Range or Desert Rose on Mount Nyiro. There’s plenty of wildlife around and ancient plants like the cycad from the time of the dinosaur. Small and exclusive, you’ll love these little known havens.

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A Cliff with a macabre tale in the Taita Hills

Above: Plains of Tsavo from the Mwachora Hill. Copyright Rupi Mangat

Published: 15 June 2019

The road from the peak of Ngangao that is part of the magical Taita Hills loops steep into the plains of Tsavo with amazing views of the solitary massifs of Sagalla and Kasigau. I’m taking a break from hiking to discovering the tastes and tales of Taita.

I’m full of respect for the pikipiki having reached Mwatate safely. It’s the town on the flat lands at the junction of the historical road that was action-packed during the WW1 fought between British East Africa (Kenya) and German East Africa (Tanzania).

Kasigau mountain from Mwachora Hill. Copyright Rupi Mangat (800x450) (800x450)
Kasigau mountain from Mwachora Hill. The area was a battlefield during WW1. Copyright Rupi Mangat

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Wandering in Vuria and Iyale on the Mist Mountains of the Taita Hills

Above: Tree Fern Forest in Vuria. Copyright Rupi Mangat

Published: 29 December 2018

Giant lobelias in Vuria. Copyright Rupi Mangat
Giant lobelias in Vuria. Copyright Rupi Mangat

It’s a hide-and-seek game with the mist and the mountains. Standing at the base of Vuria, the rock peaks vanish in the white mist only to reappear and vanish time and again.  Vuria is the highest hill of the Taita Hills. The hill tops are draped in ancient forest surrounded by local homesteads and farms of the Taita people.

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Terrific Time in the Mist-Clad Taita Hills

Part 1 of 2

Above: Ngangao Cliff face that is part of the Taita Hills. Copyright Rupi Mangat

Published: 22 December 2018

Nestled in Ngangao on the ancient hills of the Easter Arc Mountains

I love the forests of the Taita Hills because they are one of the most amazing places on earth. Rising from the plains, the massifs of the magical mist mountains straddle the skyline near Voi and are the northern extreme of the Eastern Arc Mountains. Like beads on a string the first to show by the side of the road is the single massif of Mbololo, followed by the Dabida cache of hills and then the Sagalla Hill that frames the town of Voi surrounded by sisal plantations on red soils.

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Held in the Rain in Ngangao

On the magical mist mountains of Taita Hills

Above: The ancient crystalline rock face of Ngangao some 260 million years old in Taita Hills – during the time of the dinosaurs.
Copyright Rupi Mangat

Published: Saturday magazine, Nation newspaper, 19 May 2018



Taita Thrush in neighbouring Yale forest where there are 2 pairs - copyright Luca Borghesio
Taita Thrush in neighbouring Yale forest where there are 2 pairs in 2015 – copyright Luca Borghesio

“It’s the nest of Taita thrush,” whispers Handrison Mwameso, the guide from Dawida Biodiversity Conservation group (DABICO). We’re inside Ngangao forest on the high peaks of the magical Taita Hills in southeast Kenya. We’ve walked a few metres from our campsite into the forest entering though a narrow path shaded by a bunch of Phoenix reclinata, a common palm tree here.

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