Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary

Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary is a community-owned elephant park, it is a  conservation area majorly for elephants and Encephalartos cycads in Kwale County, Kenya. It is located 45 km southwest of Mombasa and is adjacent to the Shimba Hills National Reserve and 573.6 kilometres by roads from Nairobi. The sanctuary was established in the year 1933 with the aim to protect the African elephants from poachers. The sanctuary covers an area of around 36sq.kms and abounds in rich vegetation cover. MES is an example of ecotourism, as well as community-based-conservation efforts, both of which are very recent trends in conservation management. In this community-based program, the local people have leased their privately owned property to a community-based trust.

The trust manages the sanctuary for the conservation and preservation of the elephants. In addition it is a valuable source of revenue for the local people, in that  through monies generated by eco-tourism and gate entrance fees. The area is off the Shimba Hills escarpment in Kwale County and is on the migratory route leading to Tsavo East National Reserve. Some of the revenue generating activities include creating paper from elephant dung, bee keeping (honey products)and biofuel

Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary safari

Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary is a good  example of ecotourism and one of the best  well conserved and managed community-based-conservancies in Kenya.It is one of the unique tourist destinations in the coastal kenya well known for its beautiful whitesands beaches in the world.

The Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary is one of  a spectacular safari destinations because of  its landscape just a half-hour from the glistering beaches of the South Coast near Mombasa. It is home to Male elephants who  gather here as they have been doing for decades. Females and their families roam through the sanctuary on an age-old elephant route between the forest to the north and Shimba Hills to the south.

It is at this Sanctuary that one can spot elephant calves at playing or  males and females mating , or bulls fighting each other with their tusks locked in combat.

Visitors can also see the site of Kaya Mtae, a sacred forest clearing where traditional spiritual leaders and elders still gather to pray and perform other  spiritual functions


Mwaluganje Forest Reserve is believed to be having more than  150 elephants making it a destination for the big five lovers, elephants are always seen in large herds migrating to Shimba hills from Mwaluganje during the rainy season. You will not only admire the magnificent elephants but also leopards, baboons, zebras, warthogs, bushbucks and waterbucks, bush babies, porcupines, mongooses, birds, insects, and reptiles of many kinds.


Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary
Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary

The scenery of  plants and animals life are a joy to treasure. Endemic cycads, palm-like trees, and baobab trees overlooking the varied landscapes make for stunning scenery. There are different habitats, from dry plains to riverine forests along the streams, provide a breath-taking experience with wonderful views from the surrounding hills. Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary has other tree covers which  include the baobab tree, one of Africa’s most unusual trees which can grow to  several thousand years old..


Mwaluganje is one of the most important centre  in Kenya  for its biodiversity and is one of the two sites in the country where you can see the rare and indigenous sokoke scops owl. The Sanctuary is a birdwatchers’ haven with some of the most spectacular birds of prey ever seen including the monkey-eating crowned eagle and palm nut vulture.


Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary offers the tourist and  Visitors a perfect scenery for a memorable  safari  photo because of its amazing landscapes and the valleys overlooking the Taita Hills with quiet flowing waters and serene surroundings almost like in paradise. They can share their luxury photography tour with like-minded individuals.

Safari walks  

There are nature safari walks along  the beautiful hills rolling up to Tsavo National Parks to the East and the Indian Ocean to the west, and are marked by striking features like the: Golini cliffs, Kitanze Falls, Manolo River, which consists of the Riverine vegetation and Meandering Rivers, which make up a superb day out.

Sundowners and Bush breakfast/dinner: 

It is one of the best honeymoons safari destinations in Kenya and one shouldn’t miss out on this incredible mobile dining experience in the middle of the reserve observing the beautiful elephants meandering through the hills with a cocktail in hand is something everyone would wish to experience.

Cultural experiences:

The surrounding communities to the reserve that  Tourists can explore are the  land of the Digo and Duruma people and learn many things about their diverse, unique culture, the history of the forest and may more.

Some other places of interest include within Mwaluganje include:

Kaya Mtae – a traditional duruma sacred place of worship.

The Manolo river – the permanent source of water for wildlife around here named after the black rocks.

Kitzanze Waterfall – pours from the ridge to the river manolo below.

Pemba River – source of Manolo river.

Mawe ya Masaa – referred to as the rock that tells time by changing its colour.

 How to get there 

The reserve can be accessed by air, It is located 45 km southwest of Mombasa and is adjacent to the Shimba Hills National Reserve, tourists can fly in to Mombasa or travel by road from Nairobi, it’s always best to combine your safari to the sanctuary with Shimba Hills Reserve or Tsavo West National Park. If you’re planning on driving or being driven by roads to Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary from Nairobi, it should take you about ten hours to get there. You should expect to cover a distance of more than  500 kilometres .

Best time to go

 Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary can be accessed throughout the year but it is  usually best in the drier months from June to September and December to March.

Entrance fee

Prices per person per day of 1600 KES per adult for 24 hours.

The gates at the Ngorongoro Conservation Area are open everyday from 6:00 am and close at 7:00 pm

Accommodation available

Some of the accommodation options include the Ocean village club, Shimba Hills lodge, Shimba Hills green safari lodge, the Villa luxury suites, Stilts backpackers and Water lovers beach resort which offer the best accommodations for  a wonderful Kenya safari holiday at the Kenyan coast.

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