Shimba Hills National Reserve

Shimba Hills National Reserve is a small national reserve in the former coast province of Kenya, in Kwale County, Kenya. 33km from Mombasa and 15 km from the coast. 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 Simba Hills, including some endangered species of cycad and orchids. It is also a nationally important site for birds and butterflies.

Attractions in Shimba Hills National Reserve.

Elephant habitat.

Within the reserve there are over 500 elephants, which causes tense human wildlife conflicts with the subsistence farmers in the area. To help reduce this conflict the Mwalunganje elephant sanctuary was established and shares a boundary with Simba Hills National Reserve providing the elephants a migration corridor.

Sable antelope.

Shimba National reserve is a home to the last breeding herd of Sable Antelope in Kenya, and at the same time you should keep a lookout for these large ebony coloured antelope with their scimitar shaped horns.

Shimba Hills National Reserve
Sable antelope

Sheldrick water falls.

Sheldrick waterfalls are magnificent feature in the park falling at 21 meters, the waterfalls are wrapped by vines and greenery and also have create a natural plunge pool as it flows, Sheldrick falls facilitate 2 kilometers nature walks from the sheldrick falls ranger post to the park which are loved by most of the tourists.

Various viewpoints.

Shimba National Reserve has various view points in the reserve such the elephant hill which is the best view point for seeing elephants in the reserve as from the hill you get lovely views over the valley towards the oceans. There is also Marere dam which is the clear view for the birds and animals in the reserve, Marere dam has a watering hole which attracts many animals to live in the reserve.

Mwaluganje forest.

Aportion of the forest  of the Mwaluganje is situated inside the sanctuary, the Mwaluganje forest offers something for every guest as one of the big five species, elephants are always ranked high on the wish list of first-time and seasoned Kenya safari travelers. Mwaluganje sanctuary provides an assortment of some of the oldest species on the planet.


Shimba National Reserve has a variety of wildlife that is the animals species and the bird species in the reserve that is the endangered Sable Antelope, elephants, giraffes, leopard, genet, civet cat, hyenas, waterbuck, bush pig, buffalo, African bush baby, Bush buck, Coastal Black and white colobus, Blue Duiker, Bush Duiker, Red duiker, Greater Galago, Black –faced Vervet, Monkey, Sykes Monkey, Serval cat, Black and Red Shrew, Knob.

Bird species include the African fish eagle, Black-collared barbet, Brown-hooded kingfisher, crested guineafowl, Golden palm weaver and many others.

Activities done in Shimba Hills National Reserve.

Game viewing.

Shimba Hills National reserve, is a home to various animal species that is to the large number of elephants, sable antelope. Though there are also other animal species within the reserve like the waterbuck, Bush Pig, Coastal black and white, Blue Duiker, Serval cat, Red Shrew and among others, but due to thick nature of the reserve of forest game viewing is not all that rewarding as on the savannahs, as many animals spend their time deep in the forest. Though it’s not a bad thing. The best time of the day to go for a game drive would be in the late afternoon, when the cooler temperatures takes the animals out of the shade and seek water.

Shimba Hills National Reserve
Shimba Hills National Reserve

Bird watching.

Shimba Hills National reserve is also known for its excellent birding opportunities and twitchers can search for the Croaking Cisticola or the Zanzibar Red Bishop as they are the unique species in the reserve like the green barbet, Fischer’s turaco, Golden palm weaver, mottled swift, Narina trogon, and Red-necked spurfowl and among others.

Guided forest walks.

Guided forest walks in the Shimba Hills National reserve is the right way of connecting guided forest walks as you explore the green forests in the reserve as well as the green trees. On the other hand during the guided forest walks experiences you can spot various animals like the elephants, mottled swift and among others also the bird species can be spotted like the Red-necked spurfowl, spotted ground thrush, Trumpeter hornbill and others. Possible features can be spotted during the nature forest walks like the sheldrick water falls.

Other activities done at Shimba Hills National Reserve includes the Archeological safari, trekking activities which are also enjoyed by the tourists in the reserve.

Best time to visit Shimba Hills National Reserve.

A visit to Shimba Hills National Reserve is usually best in the drier months from June to September and December to March. Although the reserve can be visited year around, but the visits during the rains are more challenging.

Entrance fees of Shimba Hills National Reserve.

Category Citizen (KSH) Resident (KSH) Non- Residents (USD)
Adult 300 300 22
Child 125 125 13

Where to stay in Shimba Hills National reserve.

The Reserve has a variety of good accommodation facilities ranging from the Budget, Mid-range and Luxury accommodations that includes the Shimba Hills lodge, Pumzita-tu, Kwale Golden Guest, Upani in Diani among others, the reserve also has campsites such as the Sheldrick walk falls, Ocean view and Makadara picnic sites, the reserve provides the adequate accommodation facilities to the guests.

How to get to Shimba Hills National Reserve.

Shimba Hills National Reserve can be accessed in many ways to reach the reserve, as they include;

By Road means.

The distance between Nairobi and Shimba Hills National Reserve is 522km, which takes you around 7 hr. 3 minutes. From Nairobi, a traveler has to take the ferry at Likon to access the southern coastline where Tiwi and Diani beaches are located. Then after you will have to take the main A14 coast road 10 kilometers southwards until you connect the main crossroad, after thake the road climbing to Kwale Town C106. The main gate lies at 1 kilometers from the C106 road and 3 kilometers from Kwale, from Mombasa or Diani Beach the road is smooth, taking an hour drive to access the reserve.

Shimba Hills National Reserve
Diani Reef Resort

By Air means.

Here it’s the use of the charter flights to Shimba Hills National Reserve the flights are booked by tour operators who known the right information about the reserve.

Most domestic flights from Nairobi can be booked from Wilson Airport which is 6 kilometers south of Nairobi, you can as well book daily scheduled flights and the following are the domestic carriers used to fly into two different direction Mombasa and Diani Beach, such carries are Kenya Airways and Fly 540 flies to Mombasa, other carriers like Air Kenya, Mombasa Air safari, Safari link, east African, all flies to Diani Beach, from Diani it takes about an hour drive to reach the reserve and this can be an organized pick by the tour operator. This takes you 1 hour to reach the reserve.

Shimba Hills national reserve is a unique coastal forest and nature reserve, home to the endangered sable antelopes, with 1,100 plant species in the reserve, around 280 of which are endemic to Shimba Hills and nearly one fifth of which are considered globally rare.

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