Shimba hills national reserve

Shimba hills national reserve is a small national park found in Kenya and situated in the coastal province with Mombasa as the nearest city, the reserve is situated approximately 33 kilometres south of Mombasa in Kwale district covering an area of 192.51 square kilometres and it is under the management of Kenya wildlife services. Shimba hills national reserve is a great ecological systems and an important area for plant biodiversity, the reserves consists of coastal rain forest, woodland and grassland. The reserve is an excellent habitant for plant biodiversity with over 159 rare plants found in the whole of Kenya and they include endangered species of cycad and orchids, climate wise Shimba hills national reserve mostly hot and moist but cooler than the coast and it receives average temperature of 24.2 degrees Celsius.

Shimba hills national reserve consists of Shimba hills which are dissected plateau ascending steeply from the coastal plains 30 kilometers south west of Mombasa and south of Kwale town, the hills are surrounded by escarpments rising from 120 meters to 300 meters across the plateau which rises as high as 450 meters at marare and pengo hills.

 Shimba hills national reserve was gazetted in 1903 as a national forest, in 1924 grassland and several areas were added to the area to form area of the present reserve, in 1968 the area was gazetted as Shimba hills national reserve. The reserve is a fascinating tourist destination with many tourist attractions and these include

View points

Shimba hills national reserve has many view points where you get great views of the park and its animals, one of the amazing view points is elephant hill view point which the best hill for sighting elephants and scenic views out over the valley towards the ocean.

Sheldrick falls

Sheldrick falls is a magnificent 21 meters high falls dotted with lianas and green vegetation, the falls has a natural plunge pool which creates a scenic view and the falls is visited on a 2 kilometers nature walk which starts from the Sheldrick falls ranger post

Mwaluganje forest

Mwaluganje forest in Shimba hills national reserve is one of the largest coastal forest in East Africa, the dense forest is an excellent home for butterflies, birds brown breasted barbet, crested guinea fowl, crowned hornbill, eastern violet-backed sunbird, green barbet, green tinker bird such as and primates such as coastal black and white colobus, skyes monkey, vervet monkey, smaller-eared galago, greater galago, tiny Zanzibar galago, yellow baboon and Angolan colobus monkey.

Wildlife   

Shimba hills national reserve is a great wildlife habitat in Kenya recognized for hosting huge population of elephants with approximately 500 individuals, the park is also famous for hosting a huge and only population of the endangered sable antelopes  in Kenya and this explains why the reserve is referred to as the paradise of the sable antelope.

The huge population of elephants has created both nature and human conflicts, the elephants have been noticed to be a threat to plant life as they cause a huge damage to vegetation. Elephants conflicts with the humans is severe in the northern region of the reserve as they cross over and destroy human farms and their crops, this led to the creation of Mwaluganje elephant sanctuary to create a route for elephants to leave the park and the park boundary was fenced to prevent elephants from invading the local’s farmlands.

Other animals in Shimba hills national reserve include bushy tailed mongoose, fruit baits, giraffes, leopards, genet, civet cat, hyenas, waterbuck, bush pig, buffalo, African bushy baby, bushbuck, blue duiker, bush duiker, red duiker, serval cat, red shrew and many more. In the forest around in the park there are primates such as coastal black and white colobus, skyes monkey, vervet monkey, smaller-eared galago, greater galago, tiny Zanzibar galago, yellow baboon and Angolan colobus monkey

Shimba hill national reserve is also a habitant for reptiles such as python, cobra, Lizard and geckos.

Birdlife  

Shimba hills national reserve is an excellent birding destination, the park is dominated by thick forests and savannah vegetation which create a comfortable home for over 200 bird species. The reserve is a habitat to several coastal endemics, species restricted to the park, such as east coast akalat and migratory bird species. Bird species in Shimba hills national park include red-necked spur fowl, croaking cisticola, Zanzibar red bishop, African palm swift, brown breasted barbet, crested guinea fowl, crowned hornbill, eastern violet-backed sunbird, green barbet, green tinker bird, mottled swift, narina trogon, plain-backed sunbird, pangani long claw, sokokoe pipit, spotted ground thrush, trumpeter hornbill, yellow-throated long claw and many more.

Migratory bird species are present in Shimba hills national reserve in the period of November to April.

Safari activities offered in Shimba hills national reserve

Game viewing

As a tourist visiting Shimba hills national reserve be ready to have a great game viewing safari experience, Shimba hill national reserve is a remarkable home for a number of wildlife species which are easily seen as they graze in the park with a huge population of elephants noted to be over 500 individuals. During game viewing experience you will get a great view of animals like elephants, sable antelopes,  bushy tailed mongoose, fruit baits, giraffes, leopards, genet, civet cat, hyenas, waterbuck, bush pig, buffalo, African bushy baby, bushbuck, blue duiker, bush duiker, red duiker, serval cat, red shrew.  In Shimba hills national park is options of game viewing experience you can participate in such as morning game viewing, afternoon game viewing and full day game viewing, regardless of the session you prefer to go for game viewing be sure of having a memorable experience.

Bird watching

Shimba hills national reserve is listed among the excellent bird watching destinations in Kenya as it is a remarkable home for approximately 200 bird species including 20 endemic species, the reserve’s weather conditions consisting of warm and cold conditions makes it a great breeding place for the birds. Bird watching in Shimba hills national park is an opportunity for spotting bird species like red-necked spur fowl, croaking cisticola, Zanzibar red bishop, African palm swift, brown breasted barbet, crested guinea fowl, crowned hornbill, eastern violet-backed sunbird, green barbet, green tinker bird, mottled swift, narina trogon and many more.

Hiking

Shimba hills national reserve is a place various topography consisting of flat landscapes, valleys and hilly topography. The hilly topography consists of hills which covered by thick forests with Shimba hills as the most prominent hills in the reserve, it is these hills were hiking safari experience is done in the reserve. Hiking safari experience consist of hike along trails which run through the forests and as you proceed to the top of the hills you spot forest animals like elephants and many forest birds such as African palm swift, brown breasted barbet, crested guinea fowl, crowned hornbill, eastern violet-backed sunbird, green barbet, green tinker bird, mottled swift, narina trogon, plain-backed sunbird, pangani long claw, sokokoe pipit and many more.

Sheldrick falls walk/ nature walks

Shimba hills national reserve is a naturally magnificent destination covered by a range of vegetation cover and physical attractions such as the glorious Sheldrick falls, Sheldrick falls is a 21 meters high falls with a plunge pool. Nature walks safari experience leads to Sheldrick falls and this experience of 2 kilometres walk starts from Sheldrick falls ranger post, this walks is offered at 2 intervals that is at10 am and 2 pm.

 

Where to stay in Shimba hills national reserve

As a tourist on a safari in Shimba hills national reserve accommodation is got from a number of shelters, camps and lodges dedicated to providing you a home away from home, campsites include professional campsite, Sheldrick walk falls camp, ocean view campsite and Makadara picnic site which are situated in the park. Other accommodation facilities include Amani Tiwi beach resort, ocean village, hotel sonrisa, apple mango apartments, baobab beach resort and spa, the sands at Nomad, Shimba hills green safari lodge, Shimba hills lodge, Diani hostel and many more.

How to get to Shimba hills national reserve

Shimba hills national reserve is situated in the coastal province in a distance of 60 kilometers from Mombasa, from Mombasa the reserve is accessed using a ferry at Likoni to the southern coastline where Diani and Tiwi beaches are found. From the coastline you drive using the main A14 coast road southwards which is a distance of 10 kilometers passing through Kwale town, from Kwale town it is a 3 kilometers drive to the main gate of the reserve.

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