Mt Kasigau together with two other massifs (the Dawida massif and the Sagalla massif) are known as Taita hills. A mountain range located in the Taita-Taveta County in south-eastern Kenya. Taita Hills, are part of the Eastern Arc Mountains and one of the Biodiversity Hot Spot areas of the world.
Just like the other Eastern Arc mountains, Taita hills were formed one hundred million years ago. These hills were once an extensive lush rainforest but during the cooler and drier period, some ten million years ago the lowland forests converted to savanna leaving the mountain ranges as “islands” where the tropical forests continued to flourish to date.
Hiking Mt Kasigau
Steeply rising to an elevation of 1,640 meters above the Taru desert, mount Kasigau makes for a fulfilling moderate hike that can be conquered in about 6-8 hours, depending on the hiker’s fitness level.
The mountain has two peaks – the lower peak and the upper peak. Both peaks offer stunning views of the surrounding areas, including Mt Kilimanjaro at a distance and Tsavo west
The Ecology of Kasigau
As the paths slope up, you’ll pass through scrambling hills with large gneiss stones scattered all over. You’ll also notice the environmental and vegetation changes with the rise of altitude. At the bottom, the vegetation is of dry woodland with several trees scattered around and gets scarcer up to about 1000 meters. From there, the vegetation gets greener and denser while the trees get smaller in size. After 1300 meters the trees start getting taller as you go up. You’ll also notice the abundance of ferns, moss, and thick tall trees. Towards the peak, the trees get smaller and quickly change to conifers.
Floral & Fauna
The hills are home to various floral and fauna species some of which are endemic to Taita hills.
Endemic species include birds:(the Taita Thrush, Taita Apalis, Taita falcon, The Taita White-eye and Taita fiscal) amphibians:(Sagala caecilian)
Non-bird biodiversity: The tree Memecylon greenwayi is endemic to Mt Kasigau.
The Roads to Mt Kasigau
Though not tarmacked the roads to the Kasigau are very accessible. It’s advisable to use a well-raised 4WD vehicle.