Where is Shimba Hills National Park?

Shimba Hills in located on the south coast of Mombasa in Kenya’s Kwale County. It is about 15 km from the Indian Ocean and it consists of three major areas namely:

  • Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary
  • Shimba Hills National Reserve and
  • Mkengani Forest Rerserve

The hills rise to form a table plateau and the highest point of the hills is known as Pengo Hill which also has an view point.

Pengo Hill - Shimba Hills National Reserve

How to Get to Shimba Hills

Your journey to Shimba Hills is three-fold. You can either get there by road or by air. There are two ways to get there by road. First you can take a road trip from Nairobi either by private means, hire a tour company, join a group of other travelers on a group trip or take public transport to Diani or Mombasa. This all depends on where you want to spend your coastal getaway. A road trip journey to Diani or Mombasa takes about 9 hours and use the Nairobi to Mombasa highway from Nairobi.

The second way to get to Shimba Hills is take a day trip from Mombasa or Diani. Once you arrive the coast, you can make it part of your itinerary to travel to Shimba Hills on one of the days you are there as a day trip.

You can take a flight from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) or Wilson Airport and Land at Mombasa Airport or Diani Airstrip. From the coast as mentioned earlier you can make it part of your itinerary to take a day trip to the reserve.

There are various flight options to the coast and these include:

Diani beach flight options:

Mombasa flight options:

It is advisable to get an experienced tour guide to the park. Either hire a tour van with an experienced driver or pass by the Shimba Hills National Reserve office, to book a local guide or a Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) ranger to take you as they are best suited to guide you through the nature trails and have better direction to all the viewing points.

What is Shimba Hills Famous For?

Sable Antelope

The park is famous for hosting the Sable Antelope that is endemic to the area. The Sable Antelope is classified as critically endangered with only 54 of these listed in the area. This makes it something worth looking forward to when you visit Shimba Hills.

Sable Antelope at Shimba Hills National Reserve

Wildlife

Other wildlife that inhabits Shimba Hills include: buffalos, elephants, several monkey species, butterflies, a range of bird species and giraffes.

Sheldrick Waterfalls

These waterfalls lie deep within Shimba Hills. The falls are named after David Sheldrick who at around the 1940s was flying over the Shimba Hills and came across the falls which he named after himself.

The original inhabitants of Shimba Hills were the Mijikenda people who presumably avoided the hills because of the wild animals found in the reserve.

Sheldrick Waterfalls are about 21m and it’s a beautiful place to swim, unwind and have activities such as picnics around the area.

View Points, Picnic Sites and Camping Sites

The reserve has several areas tourists can use as viewpoints to see the vastness of the park and the hills. There are also camping and picnic sites. The picnic sites have manicured camping grounds and washrooms. There are incredible viewpoints such as Elephant Hills, where you can view the nature reserve’s Elephants as the graze along the park.

The highest view point at the park is Pengo Hill that is 450m above sea level. Other notable places within the park include Marere Dam, another view point with a watering hole will abundant wildlife. Makadara picnic site, observation points, giriama point, ocean view point are other places you can see amazing views of Shimba Hills and surrounding areas of Kwale County.

Watch Video Tour of Shimba Hills National Reserve

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