Shimba Hills National Reserve Mombasa South Coast

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Shimba Hills National Reserve Mombasa South Coastis a rainforest park of Kenya situated at 33 km South West from Mombasa (near Kwale Town).

This pristine wonderland of rolling Meadows and forests of giant primeval trees harbors a wide variety of wildlife, including some 500 elephant that favor the refreshing fruit of the borassus palm.

It was created as a national forest in 1903 and is now one of the largest areas of coastal rainforest in East Africa covering 24,000 hectares. There are 153 km (95 miles) of roads within this national park.

The climate is hot and humid, with an average annual temperature of 24°C (75°F), but the area benefits from coastal breezes which also create mist in the mornings.

Some unique things to do at Shimba Hills National Park include taking a guided night drive. You may see leopards and cheetahs, and will certainly hear the hyenas howl in the eerie darkness.

You can also buy a unique souvenir at the gates, a paper that is handmade from elephant dung!

Shimba Hills National Reserve Mombasa South Coast Facts

Altitude: 120 – 450 meters
Area: 321 Square Kilometers
Location: 33 Kilometers south of Mombasa – District of Kwale (Coast Province)
Entrances: one main entrance and three secondary gates (Kivumoni Gate, Kidongo Gate, Shimba Gate). Shimba Hills National Park has a small Airstrip

Shimba Hills National Park Highlights

* Sheldrick Waterfalls (25 meters high)
* Unique presence of the sable antelope
* Splendid views towards the Indian Ocean and Mt Kilimanjaro
* Possibility to go for walk at the falls and to plunge in the pool.
* Picnic sites, camping sites and self-catering accommodation available
* Large rainforest surrounding the park (Mkongani and Mwaluganje forests)
* You can also buy a unique souvenir at the gates, a paper that is handmade from elephant dung!
* Possibility to do safari easily accessible from Mombasa : elephant, giraffe, buffalo, roan antelope and leopard
* Some unique things to do at Shimba Hills National Park include taking a guided night drive. You may see leopards and cheetahs, and will certainly hear the hyenas howl in the eerie darkness

Sable Antelopes at Shimba Hills National Park

Shimba Hills National Park is fairly small park and is also the sanctuary of the last breeding herd of indigenousSable Antelope in Kenya. This typical sabre-horned antelope is often considered as the most beautiful of the large antelopes.

They are more easily seen on the central grasslands (Buffalo ridge) and around the old airstrip (near Longo forest). Best time is early morning or late afternoon.

Large and gregarious animals with long scimitar-shaped horns, they have a black color coat marked with white stripes on their face and under-parts. In the past, this African savanna antelopes were preys of many hunters and the species was almost extinct in Kenya.

Even Ernest Hemingway was used to hunt Sable Antelopes despite the fact he was astonished by the beauty and the habits of the antelopes, both developed in his book, The Green Hills of Africa.

Shimba Hills National Park is a unique habitat for Elephants

For those who have been in safari and have seen savannah elephants under acacia cover and savannah in backdrop, Shimba Hills National Park is a good alternative to view Elephants in a forested area.

The tropical forests of Shimba Hills National Park are a unique habitat for Elephants of the Kenyan coast.

The best place to spot them is in the Elephant Hill or along the forested area such as Longo forest, but herds can be seen all over the Park as there is more than 600 Elephants in the area.

Note also that a fenced Elephant corridor connects the Shimba Hills National Park to the Mwaluganje Forest and its Elephant Sanctuary.

Shimba Hills National Reserve Wildlife

Shimba Hills National Park vegetation cover is dense and the weather is very hot during the daytime hours, animals are shy, stay most of the day in the forest and are very hard to see.

A late afternoon visit is recommended. Besides the Elephants and the Sable Antelopes, other animals in the Park include Buffalo, Waterbuck, Bushbuck, Hyena, Warthog, Leopard, Baboon, Sykes’, Vervet and Colobus monkeys, Serval, Duiker, Suni and Bush pig.

The Masai Giraffe and Ostrich have been reintroduced in the Park and Impalas and Zebras have been unsuccessfully reintroduced. The rare Roan Antelope is a relative to the Sable Antelope also found in Shimba Hills.

This antelope can also be seen in Masai Mara National Reserve. Birdlife is also abundant, especially during spring migration as 111 bird species have been recorded, of which 22 are coastal endemic.

ntelopes And GazellesPrimatesUngulates And MammalsCarnivores
Blue Duiker
Coastal Topi
Roan Antelope
Sable Antelope
Common Duiker
Harvey’s Duiker
Common Waterbuck
 Blue Monkey
Sykes Monkey
Lesser Bushbaby
Savannah Baboon
Diademed Monkey
Green Vervet Monkey
Rabbits, Hares, Insectivores
Small-eared greater Galago
Large-eared greater Galago
Eastern Black & White Colobus
 Bush Pig
Cape Buffalo
Masai Giraffe
Common Warthog
Serval Spotted

Shimba Hills National Reserve Mombasa South Coast Ocean View Point & Giriama Points

Shimba Hills National Park has many viewpoints all with views over the forested hills and the grass plains. These viewpoints are used to observe Elephants so binoculars is a must.
The eastern side of the Park has more viewpoints than the western side and the scenery is more contrasted with forests and plains.
At the western side of Shimba Hills National Park, the Pengo hill (450 m) is the highest point of Shimba hills and on a very clear day, the Tsavo plains and the Taita Hills can be seen (and sometimes Mount Kilimanjaro).
Ocean view point offers a panoramic views over the hilly countryside and as far as the Kenyan coast and the Chale Island and there is a picnic site. The Giriama point is on the way towards Sheldrick Fall

Shimba Hills National Reserve Sheldrick Falls

Note: Shimba Hills National Park Sheldrick Falls visit has to be accompanied by a Kenya Wildlife Service Ranger Guide (for safety reasons) as there are sometimes Elephants or few Cape Buffalos along the 2 km long way-marked footpath going to the falls.
It’s also advisable to take a Safari Hat and bottle water before setting out going to the forest walk as the path crosses steep uncovered grass plains and it can get very hot at times.
The falls were discovered by David Sheldrick. The pleasant walk takes two hours from the car park area to the falls which supply Tiwi and Diani beaches of Mombasa with water.
The track leading down to the cascade offers a scenic walk, count 45 minutes to descend and 1 hour to return.
At the fall, don’t try to climb on the cliff as it is slippery but take a cold shower of 25 meters high, swim safely in the cool water pool or even have a picnic by the cascades on the sand.
The level of the pool depends on the season you are visiting. During rainy season, you can easily swim in the pool and there is one fall while during dry season, the pool is tiny and there are two spring water falls.

Shimba Hills National Park Mombasa South Coast Vegetation

Shimba Hills National Park vegetation is unique and composed of coastal rainforests and grasslands interspersed with woodlands and coastal bushes.

Undulating hills are patched with bushes, small grasslands and riverine forests running alongside the water springs/rivers of the hills. Large rainforests are surrounding the hills and bordering small escarpments.

They are unique as they are one of the last remaining coastal rainforests on earth and are home to more than 1,100 plant’s species, of which 280 are endemic to the ecosystem, and 19 endangered species of tree.

Finally, two of Kenya’s most beautiful orchids flowers are found in the park – the Eulophia linvingstoniana and cacullata in April, and the Eulophia wakefieldii in July and August.

“The Shimba Hills hold one of the largest areas of coastal rain forest in East Africa after Arabuko Sokoke.

The vegetation consists of forested scarp slopes and undulating grasslands interspersed with woodland clumps and ribbons of riverine forest in the steeply cut valleys.

Shimba Hills National Reserve Mombasa South Coast Accommodation

Accommodation is available at Shimba Hills Lodge, and there are two campsites within the park.
There are also plenty of South Coast Mombasa hotels which are close enough to make it possible to go on a day trip from Mombasa to Shimba Hills.

Shimba Hills National Reserve Park South Coast Fees

 2018 Park Entrance Fees

GuestsCitizens RatesResidents RatesNon-Residents Rates
 Adults300 Kenya Shillings600 Kenya Shillings22 US Dollars
 Children/ Students125 Kenya Shillings255 Kenya Shillings13 US Dollars


Vehicle Fees Per Day
* Less than 6 seats – 300 Kenya shillings
* 6 to12 Seats – 1,030 Kenya shillings
* 13 to 24 Seats – 2,585 Kenya shillings
* 25 to 44 Seats – 4,050 Kenya shillings
* 45 Seats and above – 5,000 Kenya shillings

Booking & Reservations for Safaris to Shimba Hills National Reserve Mombasa South Coast Safari in Kenya Contacts;

Booking Office Tel: + 254 718-179-967
Mobile : + 254 721-242-711

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