Taita Taveta County is one of the 47 counties of Kenya. It is located approximately 340 km southeast of the capital city of Nairobi and about 170 km northwest of Mombasa. It is about 100km from the Tanzanian border making it a major gateway to the United Republic of Tanzania through Taveta town. The County’s administrative headquarter is in Mwatate sub-county. The other three sub-counties are Voi, Taveta and Wundanyi.
Taita Taveta County is home to two major tourist destinations – Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks – which cover 62% of the County’s landmass which is about 17,084.1 km2. The water bodies within the county occupy 106 km2 and the largest water bodies include Lake Jipe and Lake Chala both in Taveta sub-county. The rest of the landmass is classed as public and private land including ranches, sisal estates and hilltop forests which occupy less than 100 km2
Taita Taveta County remains the largest producer of gemstones in Kenya. The mining of these high and middle value gemstones primarily occurs in diverse topography mostly in the arid and semi-arid parts of the county. The expansive mining regions include Mkuki, Chungaunga, Kamtonga, Mgama, Lwalenyi, Alia, Chawia, Mwachabo, Sangenyi, Kishushe, Kasighau, Mgeno, Mangare, Mgongonyi, and Kuranze.
Taita Taveta County is one of the six counties in the Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani (JKP) regional economic bloc. Mining is one of the major economic activities in Taita-Taveta county offering employment and income to hundreds of locals who live around gemstone-rich areas. Since 2013, gemstones sales have accounted for USD 30m (3 Billion Kshs). However, these figures may not capture the sales from artisanal gemstones which make it to the export market in rough form and mostly through informal channels.
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