A Coastal Gem with Diverse Flora and Fauna
Location & Geography:
Nestled close to the Kenyan coast, Shimba Hills National Reserve is a tranquil and cooler area that showcases an incredible diversity of flora and fauna. It spans over 250 square kilometers and is located in Kwale County, just 45 kilometers south of Mombasa. The reserve is set against a backdrop of rolling hills, lush greenery, and enchanting coastal views.
Shimba Hills National Reserve is not only a treat for nature enthusiasts but also holds historical significance. The hills are believed to be the remains of a peak from the period of the great tectonic upheavals, dating back millions of years. Additionally, the Mijikenda people, who are indigenous to the area, have a rich cultural heritage that can be explored through their traditional dance, music, and unique way of life.
1. Sheldrick Waterfalls: This stunning waterfall cascades down from a height of 25 meters into a scenic pool, creating a mesmerizing sight. Visitors can enjoy a refreshing dip or simply soak in the breathtaking beauty of the surroundings.
2. Elephant Sanctuary: Shimba Hills is renowned for its large population of elephants, making it an ideal destination for wildlife enthusiasts. Witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat, as they roam freely through the reserve.
3. Bird Watching: With over 200 species of birds, Shimba Hills is a paradise for bird watchers. From vibrant flamingos to regal African fish eagles, this diverse aviary population will captivate nature lovers.
4. Guided Nature Walks: Immerse yourself in the untouched beauty of this reserve with guided nature walks. Traverse through winding trails as knowledgeable guides reveal the intricacies of the ecosystem and the wide variety of plants and animals that call Shimba Hills home.
Activities and Experiences:
1. Game Drives: Embark on an exciting game drive adventure, led by experienced guides, to spot buffalos, giraffes, leopards, and other fascinating wildlife species that inhabit the reserve.
2. Camping: Spend a night under the stars at one of the designated camping areas in Shimba Hills. Experience the sights and sounds of nature while enjoying the tranquility of the reserve.
3. Cultural Experiences: Engage in cultural activities with the local Mijikenda people. Participate in traditional dances, visit their villages, and learn about their customs, rituals, and way of life.
Best Time to Visit:
The best time to visit Shimba Hills National Reserve is during the dry season, which typically runs from June to September and January to February. During these months, wildlife is more visible as animals gather around water sources. The weather is pleasant, with cooler temperatures due to the reserve’s higher elevation.
Shimba Hills National Reserve can be reached by road from Mombasa, which is the closest major city. It is approximately a one-hour drive from Mombasa, making it easily accessible for day trips or longer stays. Private vehicles and taxis can be arranged from Mombasa or Diani Beach. Alternatively, organized tours and safari operators offer transportation to and from the reserve.