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Taita Hills

The Taita Hills, sometimes also spelled as Teita Hills, are a precambrian mountain range in the south-west of Kenya in Taita-Taveta District. The hills consist of three massifs namely Dabida, Sagalla in the southern side of Voi township and Kasigau in the south near the border of Tanzania. The Dawida massif is the largest and tallest of the three, with an altitude of 2,228 meters above sea level at its highest peak, Vuria. Dabida has three other main peaks: Iyale, Wesu, and Susu.

Ecology of the hills

The hills are known for their moist forests with a unique fauna and flora. More than 20 endemic species of African violets (e.g. Saintpaulia teitensis) occur exclusively in that region and known endemic bird species are the Taita Thrush (Turdus helleri) and the Taita Apalis (Apalis fascigularis). The Taita Falcon (Falco fasciinucha) and the Taita Fiscal (Lanius dorsalis) were first discovered at the hills but occur elsewhere too. Also an amphibian genus Boulengerula occurs only at the Taita Hills. The Sagala Caecilian (Boulengerula niedeni) is a critically endangered worm-like amphibian that also lives in the Taita Hills. The native Taita people are living at the edge of the forests and develop the soil which is very productive. The region was severely logged in the past and the remaining indigenous forest is now part of a nature reserve.

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