Shimba Hills were 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. 

The Shimba Hills are a dissected plateau that ascends steeply from the coastal plains, 30 km south west of Mombasa and just south of Kwale town. The surrounding escarpment rises from around 120 metres to 300 metres across the bulk of the plateau and as high as 450 metres at Marare and Pengo hills.

Climatic conditions - The climate is hot and moist but cooler than that the coast with strong sea breezes and frequent mist and cloud in early morning. Annual rainfall is 855-1,682 mm. Mean annual temperatures is 24.2°C.

Major attractions - Scenic landscape comprising hills and valleys extending beyond the Reserve boundaries; coastal rainforest; Sheldrick’s Falls.

Wildlife - Sable, elephant, buffalo, waterbuck, reedbuck, hyena, warthog and bush pig, giraffe, leopard, baboon plus Sykes’, black-faced vervet monkey and Angola colobus monkey, serval, Harvey’s duiker and suni. Introduced species include Maasai giraffe and ostrich.

Access - Road: The Reserve’s main access is via Diani - 56 km from Mombasa. Air: 1.5 km airstrip. Regular flights also at Ukunda airstrip at Diani Beach and at Moi International Airport in Mombasa.

Accommodation - Lodges: Shimba. Kenya Wildlife Service Self-Catering Accommodation: Sable Bandas

Best time to visit - All year round

Activities - Game viewing, potential for bird-shooting outside the reserve, walking safaris


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