Shimba Hills

Shimba Hills

Just forty-five minutes from the hot and humid Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa lies Shimba, located in the Shimba National Reserve. Walk with elephants, buffaloes and the endangered Sable antelope in the cool and refreshing jungle greenery of the Shimba Hills tropical rainforest.

Although Shimba is only 48 km from Mombasa, it has a refreshingly cool climate with remarkably cool, fresh breezes from the Indian Ocean. It is one of the largest areas of coastal rainforest in East Africa, which includes the sacred Kaya forest of the Mijikenda tribe. Shimba Hills Lodge, located in the national reserve, is beautifully built from local timber where you can drink, dine and relax in the spectacular award winning tree lodge that overlooks a water body. There are also two campsites in the park, but many hotels in Mombasa are nearby, so you can visit Shimba on a day trip.

Shimba is home to a variety of species, including elephants, giraffes, hyenas and buffaloes, as well as the rare Roan and Sable antelopes. The forests are home to a number of unusual species, including black and white colobus monkeys, serval cats, red dukers and Suni antelopes. An abundance of birds are found among the hills, including Honey-guides, Turacos, Woodpeckers and Sunbirds. The sable antelope is considered the most beautiful of the large antelopes, and Shimba Hills contains the only population of the endangered species in Kenya. The area also contains rare plants, including two of Kenya’s most beautiful orchid species, and more than 250 different species of butterflies that live in the rainforest.

There are over five hundred elephants in the reserve and although Elephant Hill is the perfect place to view these magnificent animals, they can be spotted all over the reserve. A fenced corridor has been built that connects Shimba National Reserve with Mwalunganje Forest and its elephant sanctuary.

The reserve is covered in dense rainforest where the animals prefer to keep cool during the hot day, but the best views of the animals are on the eastern side of the park near Giriama Point in the late afternoon where you can see the animals moving to rivers to quench their thirst. Guided night walks are also available – you’re sure to hear hyenas and, if you’re really lucky, you might even spot a leopard.

The main attraction of the park is the spectacular 25-meter Sheldrick Falls. There is a two kilometer marked walking trail to the cascading falls where you can safely swim in the pool or have a picnic by the falls. A ranger is available at 10:00 and 15:00 to accompany visitors on this walk free of charge.

Prego Hill is the highest point in the park at 450 km. From here there are spectacular views of the Tsavo Plains, the Taita Hills and on a really clear day Mt Kilimanjaro.

Before leaving this beautiful national reserve, you can buy a unique souvenir at the gates – paper made from elephant dung!

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