The Shimba National Reserve is located just 48 kms from the coast, but at 500 metres it makes a cool change from the tropical coastal climate. The reserve is made up of both open grassland and dense rainforest, all with stunning views across the Indian Ocean. 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
The Reserve is also known for its excellent birding opportunities and twitchers can search for the Croaking Cisticola or the Zanzibar Red Bishop. Due to the thick nature of the forest, game viewing is not as rewarding as on the savannahs, as many animals spend their time deep in the forest. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it makes the wildlife encounters that you do have, that much more spectacular. The best time of day to go for a game drive would be in the late afternoon, when the cooler temperatures lure the animals out of the shade and seek water.
The magnificent 21 m high Sheldrick Falls are in Shimba Hills; the late David Sheldrick, founder of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, once explored this area, whilst flying over the area he discovered a hidden waterfall within the Shimba Hills National Reserve, and subsequently had the falls named after him.
Shimba Hills National Highlights and Attractions:
- The only place in Kenya where you can see the Sable Antelope
- Guided forest walks up to the scenically beautiful Sheldrick Falls
- The herds of Elephants
- Visit to the Mwalunganje Elephant Sanctuary
The Reserve has a variety of species including Elephant, Giraffe and Buffalo as well as the rare Roan and Sable antelope. The forests are home to a number of unusual species including the Black and White Colobus, Serval cats, Red Duiker and Suni Antelope. An abundance of birdlife is found among the hills, including Honey guides, Turacos, woodpeckers and Sunbirds.