A major road in Kenya, important for both trade and tourism between Kenya and Tanzania, is now reportedly 80 percent completed and will be ready by March next year.
The stretch of road between Voi and Taveta at the Tanzanian border must have been one of the worst in the country and hampered access of tourists to key conservation areas like Lake Jipe, Grogan’s Castle but also to Lake Chala and the more remote parts of Tsavo West.
Passing through the Taita Hills, where Sarova Hotels’ two lodges Taita Hills and Salt Lick sit pretty on a 28.000+ acres private game reserve, is this part of Kenya rich in not only game but also history as manifested by several Commonwealth War Cemeteries where remains of the fallen from World War One are honored.
It was here that German troops for a prolonged period of time until late 1915 occupied Kenyan territory, having crossed over from then Tanganyika. Kenya Author and former General Manager of the then Hilton Lodges Mr. James Willson, in fact wrote a book about the World War One battles fought in this part of Kenya and the wider Eastern African region, titled ‘Guerillas of Tsavo’
Taita Hills and Salt Lick General Manager Mr. Willie Mwadilo was among the field team which went to discover the 100 year old trenches and fortifications, not only on the German occupied Salaita Hill but in the entire area and many finds have been conserved in a little museum established by Mr. Mwadilo at the Taita Hills Lodge, where tourists can also see maps and illustrations of the century old battlegrounds.
The new highway will open up the entire area as the state of the former road put off many from travelling on it for fear of wrecking their cars. Once crossing from Taveta to Holili will the new highway then also give easy access to two major national parks, the better known Mt. Kilimanjaro National Park and the lesser known Mkomanzi National Park, besides opening up travel to the Usambara and Pare Mountains.
When the 7+ billion Kenya Shillings new road is ready will the options widen for tourist itineraries in both Kenya and Tanzania, as a new highway is also under construction connecting Arusha to the border town of Holili and linking the two new roads.
Good news for tourists also come from the Kenyan coast where construction has started on a new 3.5 billion Kenya Shillings tarmac road from the coastal town of Malindi to the Sala gate of Tsavo East National Park. Here too is the present road seen as a deterrent especially in the rainy season and the investment will no doubt pay off by increasing tourist visits to this section of the Tsavo East National Park.