The Shimba Hills National Reserve is a small National Park in the Coast Province of Kenya, 33 km 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 Shimba Hills, including some endangered species of cycad and orchids. It is also a nationally important site for birds and butterflies.
Shimba Hills were gazetted as a National Forest in 1903, grassland areas were incorporated in 1924 and several subsequent extensions took place to bring the reserve to its present size. In 1968 most of the reserve was double gazetted as the Shimba Hills National Reserve.
Two smaller areas to the west adjoining the reserve and almost entirely forested remain as Forest Reserves; Mkongani North and Mkongani West Forest Reserve. A fenced elephant corridor connects the Shimba Hills with Mwaluganje Forest Reserve to the North.
The Shimba Hills are a dissected plateau that ascends steeply from the coastal plains, 30 km south west of Mombasa and just south of Kwale town. The surrounding escarpment rises from around 120 metres to 300 metres across the bulk of the plateau and as high as 450 metres at Marare and Pengo hills.
The reserve is rich in flora and fauna and hosts the highest density of African elephant in Kenya. Other animal species found in the area are Sable antelope, black and rufous elephant shrew, bushy tailed mongoose and other small mammals like fruit bat. The forest is an important bird area and is endowed with forest birdlife while the grasslands hold localized species such as red-necked-Spurfowl, Croaking Cisticola and Zanzibar Red Bishop.
- From Mombasa, take the ferry at Likoni to access the southern coastline where Diani and Tiwi beaches are. Then, take the main A14 coast road 10 km southwards until you join the main crossroad. Take the road climbing to Kwale Town (C106). The main gate is located at 1 km from the C106 road and 3 km from Kwale
SIZE / LOCATION
- 300 km2
- The reserve is approximately 33 km South of Mombasa, in Kwale district of Coast Province
- Hot and moist but is cooler than that at the coast with strong sea breezes and frequent mist and cloud in the early morning. Annual rainfall is 855mm-1682mm. Mean annual temperature is 24.2 degrees Centigrade.
WHAT TO TAKE WITH YOU
- Drinking water, picnic items and camping equipment if you intend to stay overnight. Also useful are: binoculars, camera, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and guidebooks.
- Sable Antelope
- Elephant habitat
- Sheldrick Falls
- Various view points
- Mwaluganje Forest
- Include Endangered Sable Antelope, Elephants, Giraffes, Leopard, Genet, Civet cat, Hyenas, Waterbuck, Bush pig, Buffalo, African Bush Baby, Bushbuck, 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, and Knob-bristled Suni Shrew.
- 111 bird species have been recorded, of which 22 are coastal endemic among them are: Ostrich Eagle, African Hawk; Falcon, Cuckoo; Guinea-fowl, Kenya Crested; Honey guide, Greater; Hornbill, Crowned; Quail, Blue; Sunbird, Uluguru
- Python, Cobra, Lizard, and Gecko.
- Butterflies, mosquito, beetle
- Game viewing