Shimba Hills National Reserve lies approximately 33 km south of Mombasa town in Kwale County just south of Kwale town. The coastal ecosystem comprises of a heterogeneous habitat including forestlands, exotic plantations, scrublands, and grasslands. The ecosystem holds one of the largest coastal forests in East Africa after Arabuko-Sokoke Forest.
Shimba Hills National Reserve is the only place in Kenya to view the sable antelope. The reserve is rich in flora and fauna and hosts the highest density of African Elephant in Kenya. Shimba Hills was 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.
Scenic landscape comprising hills and valleys extending beyond the reserve boundaries
Include endangered Sable Antelope, Elephants, Buffalo, Giraffes, Leopard, Genet, Civet Cat, Hyena, Waterbuck, Reedbuck, Warthog and Bush Pig, Baboon Plus Sykes’, Black-Faced Vervet Monkey and Angola Colobus Monkey, Serval, Red Duiker, Blue Duiker, Bush Duiker, Greater Galago, Black and Red Shrew and Knob-Bristled Suni Shrew.
Introduced species include Maasai Giraffe and Ostrich.
Birds: Over 100 bird species have been recorded, of which 22 are coastal endemic among them are Ostrich, Eagle, Africa Hawk, Falcon, Cuckoo, Guinea-Fowl, Kenya Crested, Honey Gide, Hornbill, Crowned, Quail, Sunbird, and Uluguru.
African Fish Eagle – Shimba Hills National Reserve | Photo By Marc
The potential for bird-shooting outside the reserve
How to Get to Shimba Hills National Reserve
Road: From Mombasa, take a 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. Follow the road climbing to Kwale Town (C106). The main fare is 3 km from Kwale.
Air: 1.5 km airstrip. Regular flights also at Ukunda airstrip at Diani Beach and at Moi International Airport in Mombasa.
Other Park Details
300 square km
Go to www.kws.go.ke or contact tour operator.
Best time to visit
All year round.
In-reserve accommodation and camping facilities are available.
The climate is hot and moist but cooler than that the coast with strong sea breezes and frequent mist and cloud in the early morning. Annual rainfall is 855-1,682 mm. Mean annual temperature is 24.2°C.
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.