Shimba Hills National Reserve Kenya : Shimba Hills National Reserve Kenya is referred to as haven of the sable antelopes and one of the largest coastal forests in East Africa after Arabuko – Sokoke Forest. Furthermore, the reserve is rich in flora and fauna and host highest concentration of African elephant in Kenya. Other common animal species to see in the area are the Sable antelope, elephant shrew, bushy tailed mongoose and many other small mammals like fruit bats. The forest within the reserve is an important bird area and is endowed with forest birdlife while the grasslands hold localized species like red-necked -Spur fowl, Croaking cisticola and Zanzibar Red Bishop among others. The scenic sheldrick Falls and the dense Mwaluganje Forest are also found along with four campsites.

Shimba Hills National Reserve

Generally, Shimba Hills National Reserve were gazette as a National Forest in 1903, grassland areas were incorporated in 1924 and a lot of sunsequent extensions took place to bring the reserve to its present size. More so, the reserve is an area comprised of coastal rainforest, woodland and grassland among others.

Key features About Shimba Hills National Reserve

Wildlife includes; Endangered Sable Antelope, Elephants, Leopard, Genet, Hyenas, 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, Bush pig, African Bush Baby and Knob- bristled Suni Shrew.

Birdlife; The reserve is home to over 111 bird species recorded, of which 22 are coastal endemic among other species, include; Sunbird, Quail, Blue, Honey guide, Greater, Ostrich Eagle among others.

Reptiles; They include Python, Cobra, lizard and Gecko

Insects; Butterflies, mosquito, beetle

Climate in Shimba Hills National Reserve

The park is both hot and moist but is cooler than that at the coast with strong sea breezes and frequent mist and cloud in the early morning.  The annual rainfall received in the area ranges from 855 mm to 1682melimeter.  Yet, the annual temperature is 24.2 degrees Centigrade.

Attractions in Shimba Hills National Reserve

Wildlife in Shimba Hills National Reserve includes; Endangered Sable Antelope, Giraffes, Elephants, Genet, Leopard, Civet cat, Hyenas, Waterbuck, Bush pig, African Bush Baby, Bush Duiker, Red Duiker, Coastal Black and White Colobus, Blue Duiker, Bush Duiker, Buffalo, Greater Galogo, Black- faced Vervet Monkey, Sykes Monkey, Black and Red Shrew, Serval cat and Red Shrew and Knob among others

Sable Antelope; Well, the Reserve is home to the last breeding herd of Sable Antelope in Kenya and at the same time you can have chances of seeing large ebony colored antelope with their scimitar shaped horns.

Elephant habitat; There are over 500 elephant species, which causes tense human wildlife conflict with the subsistence farmers in the area.

Sheldrick Falls; Sheldrick waterfalls are unique feature in the park raising 21 meters, the waterfalls are covered by vines and greenery and have created a natural plunge pool as it flows and experience is rewarding.

Shimba Hills National Reserve
Sheldrick falls

Various view points; There are several stunning view points’ such as elephant hill which offers a great viewing point to see herds of elephants right from the hill. There is also Marere dam that offers clear view for the birds and animals in the reserve. Marere dam has a perfect watering hole which attracts many animals to live in the reserve.

Mwaluganje Forest; This forest is found inside the sanctuary   which provides an assortment of some of the oldest species on the planet.


Activities in Shimba Hills National Reserve

They include; Archeological safaris, Game viewing, Trekking among others.

Game viewing

The reserve is home to the large number of elephants and sable antelope. Although, home to other animal species such as Bush pig, waterbuck, coastal black and white, Blue Duiler, serval cat, red shrew among others. But due to the thick nature of the reserve leads to less game viewing as many animals spend their time deep in the forest.

The best time of the day to go for a Game drive would be in the late afternoon, when the cooler temperature takes the animals out of the shade and seek water.


Shimba Hills National Reserve is an excellent birding site on Kenya Birding Tours and expect to view rare species like Croaking Cisticola   and Zanzibar Red Bishop -other species includes green barbet, Golden Palm weaver, Mottled swift, Narina trogon, Golden Palm weaver and Red-necked spurfowl many more.

Guided Forest Walks

Guided Forest walks in Shimba Hills National Reserve take you through interesting trails that allows you   to explore the green forests and beautiful vegetation. During the guide forest walk experience   you can spot animals like the elephants, mottled swift many more. Birds to see includes Red-necked spurfowl, spotted ground thrush, Trumpeter hornbill among others. You can have a chance to visit sheldrick water falls.

Best time to visit Shimba Hills National Reserve

A visit to Simba Hills National Reserve is all year around but the best time to go for a kenyan safari is in the drier months from June to September and December to March.

Accommodations in Shimba Hills National Reserve

The reserve has bucket of perfect accommodation facilities ranging from the Budget, Mid-range and Luxury accommodation including; Shimba Hills Lodge, Pumzita -tu, Kwale Golden Guest, Upani in Diani many more.

It has also safe and perfect campsite such as Sheldrick walk falls, Ocean view and Makadara picnic sites and they all designed with good amenities that boosts your stay in amidst of wilderness.

Essentials to carry with you;

Travelers visiting Shimba Hills National Reserve it is advisable to carry useful item that can make your kenya safari perfect such as sunglasses, guidebooks, sunscreen, binoculars, camera, hat, drinking water, picnic items and camping equipment if you intend to stay overnight.

Entrance fees of Shimba Hills National Reserve;

Foreign resident adult expected to pay KSH300 and children pay KSH125 to access activities in Shimba Hills National Reserve.

Foreign nonresident adult entitled to pay USD22 and children pay USD13 per person to access the park.

How to get there;

From Mombasa, you can take the ferry at Likoni to access the southern coastline where Diani and Tiwi beaches are. Then, you take the main A14 coast road 10 km Southwards until you join the main crossroad. From there -take the road climbing to Kwale Town ‘’C106’’. The main gate lies 1 km from the C106 road and 3kilometer from Kwale.

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