The Shimba Hills National Reserve is a small National Reserve in the Coast Province of Kenya, 50 km from Mombasa City Centre. The reserve is an area of coastal rainforest, woodland and grassland. It is an important area for plant biodiversity – over 50 % of the 159 rare plants in Kenya are found in the Shimba Hills National Reserve, including some endangered species of cycad and orchids. It is also a nationally important site for birds and butterflies.
The wide grasslands, hills and valleys and thick rainforests of the Shimba Hills National Reserve are a sharp contrast to the arid, flat plains of many other of the Kenyan parks. Much of the Reserve has beautiful views over the Indian Ocean below. In spite of this proximity to the ocean, it lacks the coastal region's tropical climate; at up to 500m above sea-level, the air is cool and refreshing.
Shimba Hills National Reserve is also the sanctuary of the last breeding herd of indigenous sable antelope in Kenya. This typical sabre-horned antelope is often considered as the most beautiful of the large antelopes. Elephant, giraffe and buffalo all live in this tranquil spot, black and white colobus monkeys, warthogs, and serval cats can also be seen here.
Bird lovers can spot a wealth of species, including woodpeckers, sunbirds, honey guides and turacos. The area is also botanically rich, with two of most beautiful types of orchid in Kenya found here, and more than 250 different species of butterflies live in the rainforest.
Also found within the forest are the spectacular Sheldrick Falls, which are over 25m high. The Shimba Hills are home to the Mijikenda, including members of the Giriama, Duruma and Digo tribes.
Central to these peoples' fascinating culture are Kayas - elevated forest glades that once held sacred objects - and two of these are located within the Reserve.
Adjoining Shimba Hills is the Mwalugange Elephant Sanctury, linked by a game corridor and run by the local Duruma people this is a fine example of wildlife and people working together. The Duruma whose small holdings used to suffer destruction by elephants now receive income from the sanctuary (which is partly fenced, so protects their crops). The Mwaluganje River runs through the sanctuary and though small, this is a very scenic area with the Golini escarpment in the background and large baobab trees dotting the landscape.
Safari Tours to Shimba Hills National Reserve, Kenya
Most Safaris to Simba Hills National Reserve begin from;
Sample Safari to Shimba Hills Reserve include