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Shimba Hills.
  Shimba Hills NR
Size: 195 km2/75 sq mi.
Best time to visit: All year round.
Wildlife: Sable antelope, elephants, birds.
Getting there: Shimba Hills is situated a one-hour drive on mainly good roads inland from Diani Beach south of Mombasa. The bush roads inside the park vary from fair to poor.
Shimba Hills map
Shimba Hills map.
Kenya map
Kenya map.
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Shimba Hills.
Safari glossary
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Shimba Hills National Reserve
Shimba Hills National Reserve is situated not very far inland from the coast south of Mombasa in Kenya. It offers a landscape very different from most other parks. Shimba Hills is hilly and forested, varying in altitude from 100 m/330 ft to 450 m/1,475 ft above sea level. The forests, glades and views make this a beautiful park.

One of the most beautiful antelopes, the sable, can be found there. It's the only sable population in Kenya. You may also see elephants, giraffes, buffalos and other antelopes, as well as ostriches and eagles. The butterflies are plentiful. The big African cats are represented by the leopard, but it is rarely seen, as the rich vegetation is perfect for this secretive cat to hide in. There are also servals and hyaenas.

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Shimba Hills is not one of the prime safari parks, where you can expect to see all kinds of African mammals. It is a nice place to for a day tour, though, for example to get a break from the nearby beaches. A recent translocation of animals from Tsavo East has increased the numbers of giraffes, hartebeest and impalas, though.

Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary
Mwaluganje is a 36 km2/14 sq mi nature sanctuary that borders Shimba Hills National Reserve. Much of the sanctuary is forested, and home to many elephants.

Day tours from the coast
Local tour operators and some hotels offer full- or half-day tours from the coast to Shimba Hills, or you may hire a taxi for a day in the park (make sure to hire a 4WD). If you go by taxi, remember there's a park entry fee to pay (USD 20 for adults). If you go with a tour operator, the entry fee should be included in the tour price.

Shimba Lodge is a treehouse style lodge in the northern part of the park, set by a waterhole that is floodlit at night. The surroundings and the lodge are quiet and peaceful. Shimba Lodge has 28 standard rooms and two suites. All rooms have a balcony and overlook the waterhole. The bathroom facilities are communal (the suites have private bathrooms). There is a restaurant, a bar, and platforms for game viewing. The lodge offers game drives and walks. Children younger than five years are not allowed to stay in the lodge for safety and sound level reasons.

 Web site:

Kutazama is a small luxury lodge outside of the national reserve, set in a landscaped garden and offering truly grand views of the surroundings. Accommodation is in spacious suites in a soft African design. The four-poster bed may be moved outside for nights under the starry sky. The main house has lounging and dining areas. The swimming pool is built in two levels and offers panoramic views. The activities offered include game drives in the park, walks, and day tours to Diani Beach.

Web site:

Mukurumuji Tented Camp is a small basic tourist class camp outside the national reserve. It has four tents and a honeymoon suite (all with ensuite bathroom and veranda), and a dining area. The camp offers game viewing in the reserve and in Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary, walks, and visits to local farmsteads.

Mwaluganje Camp in Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary is a tourist class tented camp. It has 20 tents with ensuite bathrooms and dining facilities.

Other accommodation
A small camp with bandas is situated close to the main entrance. The bandas are basic, but the scenery is beautiful.

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Page updated 25 January 2010