Shimba Hills national reserve Kenya is found 33km south the Mombasa Kenya coast. The reserve is a rich eco-system holding another of the largest coastal rain forests after Arabuko Sokoke forest National Park. Part of the reserve is under steep valleys and slopes, scrubs, grasslands and exotic plantations. ba Hills became set put like a National Forest during 1903, grassland areas became integrated in 1924 and many subsequent extensions happened to come up with the reserve to its present overal size. Around 1968 most of the reserve was finally double gazetted into Shimba Hills National Reserve.
Two smaller sized regions on the western side adjoining the reserve while nearly totally forested persist as Forest Reserves; Mkongani North and Mkongani West Forest reserve. A fenced off elephant path joins the Shimba Hills together with Mwaluganje Forest reserve in the North.
The Shimba Hills are mostly a dissected plateau which raises considerably over the coastal plains, 30 km south west of Mombasa at the same time to the south of Kwale town. Nearby escarpment soars from around 120 metres to 300 metres on the bulk of the plateau in addition to being as high as 450 metres for Marare and even Pengo hills.
The local weather is actually scorching and moist however cooler than the coastline with robust sea breezes and typical misting and fog up within the morning hours. Annual rainfall is 855-1,682 mm. Average yearly temperatures is normally 24.2°C.
Major attractions continue to be spectacular landscape composed of hills and valleys stretching past the Reserve edges, coastal rainforest and Sheldrick’s Falls. Animals includes the Sable, elephant, buffalo, waterbuck, reedbuck, hyena, warthog and bush pig, giraffe, leopard, baboon plus Sykes’, black-faced vervet monkey and Angola colobus monkey, serval, Harvey’s duiker as well as the suni. Introduced species comprise of Maasai giraffe as well as the ostrich.
The Reserve’s main access is through Diani – 56 km from Mombasa by road. Using air, make use of regular flights at Ukunda airstrip found at Diani Beach and at Moi International Airport in Mombasa.
Accommodation and Lodges are by KWS Self-Catering Accommodation: Sable Bandas
Adventures – Game viewing, chance of birding outside the reserve, trekking safaris. There is no distinctive period to visit the reserve but anytime.
Attractions within the reserve
Pengo hill standing at 1476m above sea level offers splendid views of the reserve with sights like the Tsavo plains, Mount Kilimanjaro under clear skies and the ocean.
Shimba Hills Kenya game reserve is home to the amazing Sheldrick Falls reached using a small 2km long foot path. The water falls flow on a 82feet high escarpments and plunge to make a beautiful calm pool below, ideal for swimming and picnics.
Game viewing is also good in this coastal park; more than 500 elephants are found in this park with an elephant sanctuary locted at Mwaluganje Forest. Buffalos, waterbucks, hyenas, leopards, buffalos, giraffe, warthog, bush-tailed mongoose, suni shrew and the fruit bats, duiker, bush baby and bush pig among other animals are found within the park. Primates within the reserve include galago, vervet monkeys, sykes monkeys, coastal colobus monkeys, baboons,
The forest also boasts as home to many coastal birds including the ostrich, red-necked-Spurfowl, Croaking Cisticola, crested honey guide, guinea fowl, African hawk, eagle, falcon, hornbill, sun bird, Uluguru and the Zanzibar Red Bishop. There also several species of snakes, insects and butterflies within the forests.
How to get there
Access by road is via Diani, 56 km from Mombasa, and there is an airstrip at the reserve and regular charter flights are handled at Ukunda on Diani Beach and from Moi International Airport in Mombasa.
There is accommodation from Shimba Hills Lodge, Shimba Hills Shimoni Reef lodge, self catering accommodation from the 2 KWS campsites- one located 2km from the main gate with 4 units and a fully furnished kitchen. 4 public campsites are found within the park namely, Professional, Makadara, Ocean View and Sheldrick Falls Walk camp. Plenty of luxury Kenya safari accommodation is available from Mombasa hotels.