Taveta, Kenya

Coordinates: 03°23′44″S 37°40′34″E / 3.39556°S 37.67611°E / -3.39556; 37.67611
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Taveta is located in Kenya
Location of Taveta
Coordinates: 03°23′44″S 37°40′34″E / 3.39556°S 37.67611°E / -3.39556; 37.67611
CountyTaita-Taveta County
1,000 m (3,300 ft)
 • Total22,018
Time zoneUTC+3 (EAT)

Taveta is a town in the Taita-Taveta County, Kenya.


Taveta town is wedged into a projection of Kenyan territory bordered on the north and west by Tanzania.

The town lies at the border with Tanzania, directly across from the town of Holili. This is approximately 111 kilometres (69 mi), by road, west of Voi, the nearest large town, on the Arusha–Holili–Taveta–Voi Road.[2] This lies approximately 305 kilometres (190 mi), by road southeast of Nairobi, the capital and largest city in Kenya.[3] The coordinates of the town are:3°23'44.0"S, 37°40'34.0"E (Latitude:-3.395565; Longitude:37.676113).[4] In addition to Mount Kilimanjaro, Taveta also enjoys proximity to Lake Chala, a volcanic freshwater lake of extraordinary depth.

First World War[edit]

In 1914, Taveta was the scene of the first military action in East Africa between forces of the British and German empires. On 15 August, a German force of about 300 soldiers, led by Captain Tom von Prince, advanced across the border and seized the town of Taveta. The objective was both to strengthen the defence of German East Africa and to provide a base for attacks into British territory, especially on the Uganda Railway.[5]

Corporal Murimu Mwiti, leading the small group of police that were defending Tavita, stood his ground and was killed by the advancing German forces. A German officer, Friedrich Broeker, was also shot before the British force retreated. Taveta remained in German hands until it was recaptured by the British in March 1916.[6][7][8]


Taveta thrives as a point of commerce between Kenya and Tanzania, with a twice-weekly outdoor market especially large for a town of its size. The market is fueled in part by Taveta's rail connection through Voi with the Mombasa-Nairobi-Kampala line, built during the era of British Kenya. Large numbers of people walk across the border from Tanzania to buy and sell wares in Taveta; smuggled goods such as Tanzanian rubies and coffee are occasionally available there.

Taveta Town is a fast-growing town. The Town Council of Taveta has acquired a 20 square kilometres (4,900 acres) former sisal plantation for town expansion. All government border offices are located some 5 kilometres (3 mi), west of the central business district of the town, towards the border with Tanzania, with modern new office premises. The Holili/Taveta customs and immigration post is a One Stop Border Post.[9]

The current (2014) Member of Parliament for Taveta Constituency, which is largely the district and by extension the town, is Dr. Naomi Shaaban. She is a third term Member of Parliament.

At one time, Taveta has had several Members of Parliament from different tribes, namely Mwacharo Kubo a taita, Norman Lukindo a kamba, Jackson Mwalulu a kamba, Alex Dingiria, Othinel Mnene, Naomi Shaaban, all Tavetas, and even a Kenyan of Greek origin, Basil Criticos.


As of 2019, the urban center had a population of 22,018.[1] The main ethnicities in Taveta are the Taveta and Kamba tribes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "2019 Kenya Population and Housing Census Volume II: Distribution of Population by Administrative Units". Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  2. ^ GFC (29 March 2016). "Distance between Taveta, Taita Taveta, Kenya and Voi, Taita Taveta, Kenya". Globefeed.com (GFC). Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  3. ^ GFC (29 March 2016). "Distance between Nairobi, Kenya and Taveta, Taita Taveta, Kenya". Globefeed.com (GFC). Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  4. ^ Google (29 March 2016). "Location of Taveta Town, Taita-Taveta County, Kenya" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  5. ^ Paice, Edward (2007). Tip and Run: The Forgotten Tragedy of the Great War in Africa. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 19. ISBN 9-780297-847090.
  6. ^ "Our First World War centenary commemorations ignored something crucial – it hasn't quite passed yet in East Africa". Independent. 18 November 2018. Archived from the original on 26 May 2022. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  7. ^ "Taita Taveta County holds a remarkable place in World War history". Nation. Nation Media Group, Nairobi. 5 July 2020. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  8. ^ "Forgotten battlefields: Tracing First World War fighters in East Africa". The East African. Nation Media Group, Nairobi. 6 July 2020. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  9. ^ EAC (29 February 2016). "EAC launches first One Stop Border Post at Holili/Taveta". Arusha: East African Community (EAC). Retrieved 29 March 2016.

External links[edit]