What would your answer be if you were asked to say anything you know about Kenya? I would say it’s a magical African safari destination offering unique species of wildlife, birds, reptiles, and Amphibians in addition to spectacular landscapes that will leave you speechless. Every part of the country offers one or two places for tourists to marvel at and experience the beauty of the wilderness, and now the Coastal Province offers the small but outstanding Shimba Hills National Reserve. The highland landscape of the Reserve is blanketed with mist and clouds during the early morning hours and create an amazing setting for unforgettable African Tropical Vacation.
As earlier mentioned, this National Reserve is found within the Coastal Province of Kenya, at approximately 33 kilometers (23 miles) south from Mombasa Island and only 15 kilometers from the Coast. It was established into National Forest in 1903 and a National Reserve in 1968 and now covers an area of 192 square kilometers (19,200 hectares/74 square miles) of mainly woodland grassland and coastal rainforest making it one of the largest Coastal Forests within East Africa after Arabuko-Sokoke Forest but is recognized for rich flora diversity comprising of more than 50% of the total 159 extraordinary plants in Kenya such as a number of endangered species of orchids and cycad but that’s not all about this Reserve because it is also a popular site for butterflies and bird species.
Famously referred to as the Sable antelope Paradise, Shimba Hills National Park offers shelter to Kenya’s only population of Sable antelopes in addition to other mammals such as elephants (totaling to over 700) which are considered high thus damaging the vegetation and also threatens the different endangered flora species. Other wildlife species found within the Reserve include bushbucks, giraffes, Harvey’s duikers, zebras, Skye’s colobus monkeys, fruit bats, elephant shrew, and the bushy-tailed mongoose among others. The northern side of the Reserve is the Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary that was set up to provide a route for elephants that leave the Reserve while the remainder of the site boundary is fenced to prevent these animals from destroying crops of the surrounding villages. Much as there are no large predators within the Reserve, the Civet cats, serval cats, and genets, as well as smaller carnivores, can be spotted.
Not only that, there are more than 230 species of birds here but the forest segment of this Reserve is a significant bird Paradise and the grasslands offer a home to native species like the Zanzibar Red Bishop, Red-necked Spurfowl, and the croaking cisticola among others.
Other species of birds are African fish eagles, Guinea fowls, African hawks, Hornbills, and Falcons among others in addition to more than 295 butterfly species, reptiles especially pythons, geckos and lizards and Amphibians such as Frogs.
Additionally, the breathtaking Sheldrick waterfalls (its picturesque setting is ideal for picnics and the natural pools for swimming) and the thick Mwaluganje Forest, as well as four Campsites, are found within close proximity of the Reserve.
Tourist activities such as bird watching, game drives/viewing, picnics and nature walks allow tourists to discover the secret World of Shimba Hills National Reserve
How to Reach the Shimba Hills National Reserve
As earlier mentioned the Reserve is about 33 kilometers from Mombasa City and when you reach this Town, take a ferry at Likoni to reach the southern coastline where Tiwi and Diani Beaches are found. You will continue 10 kilometers southwards with the main Coast road until you join the main crossroad. A 4×4 safari vehicle with a pop-up roof is recommended for a game drive in this park. 4×4 Self-drive Kenya offers the cheapest and reliable safari car rental in Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda, with or without driver (Self-drive). They are located in Nairobi Kenya, with a sales office in Mombasa, Arusha, and Kampala.
Conclusively, as small as it is, Shimba Hills National Reserve offers magnificent vistas and breathtaking waterfalls at the heart of a Tropical rainforest in addition to a welcome relief from the pristine temperatures of the Indian Ocean. You will be marveled by the wildlife, birds, butterflies, Amphibians and Reptile species that the Reserve offers.