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Shimba Hills National Reserve

Shimba Hills National Reserve                                        
The 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.


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Shimba Hills National 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 m to 300 m across the bulk of the plateau and as high as 450 m at Marare and Pengo hills.The underlying rocks are the Triassic Shimba Grits and in the north central part near Kwale town Pliecone Magarini sands. Rivers flowing from the hills supply fresh water to Mombasa and the Diani/Ukunda area.

The national reserve lies approximately 33 km south of Mombasa town, in Kwale district of coast province. The coastal ecosystem comprise 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.

The reserve is rich in flora and fauna and hosts the highest density of African elephant in Kenya. Other animal species found in the area are Sable antelope, black and rufous elephant shrew, bushy tailed mongoose and other small mammals like fruit bat. The forest is an important bird area and is endowed with forest birdlife while the grasslands hold localized species such as red-necked-Spurfowl, Croaking Cisticola and Zanzibar Red Bishop.

Access
The reserve is approximately 33 km South of Mombasa, in Kwale district of Coast Province. From Mombasa, take the 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. Take the road climbing to Kwale Town (C106). The main gate is located at 1 km from the C106 road and 3 km from Kwale.

Airstrip
The reserve has one airstrip.

Park Roads
Inside the Reserve is a 153 km road network.

Reserve Gates
-  Main gate
-  Kivumoni Gate
-  Kidongo Gate
-  Shimba Gate
The reserve's main access is via Diani. - 56 kms from Mombasa.

Size and Location
-  300 km2
-  The reserve is approximately 33 km South of Mombasa, in Kwale district of Coast Province.

Climate
Hot and moist but is cooler than that at the coast with strong sea breezes and frequent mist and cloud in the early morning. Annual rainfall is 855 mm-1,682 mm. Mean annual temperature is 24.2 °C.

Safari Card Required
At present the reserve does not operate the Safari Card system. Entry is by cash only.

Attractions
-  Sable Antelope.
-  Elephant habitat.
-  Sheldrick Falls.
-  Various view points.
-  Mwaluganje Forest.
-  Sheldricks Falls.
-  Coastal rainforest.
-  Potential for bird-shooting outside the Reserve.
Scenic landscape comprising of hills and valleys extending beyond the reserve boundaries.

Wildlife
Include Endangered Sable Antelope, Roan Antelope, Elephants, Giraffes, Leopard, Cheetah, Genet, Civet cat, Hyenas, Waterbuck, Bush pig, Buffalo, African Bush Baby, Bushbuck, Coastal Black and white Colobus, Blue Duiker, Bush Duiker, Red Duiker, Greater Galago, Lion, Black-faced Vervet Monkey, Sykes Monkey, Serval cat, Black and Red Shrew, and Knob-bristled Suni Shrew.

Birds
111 bird species have been recorded, of which 22 are coastal endemic among them are: Ostrich Eagle, African Hawk; Falcon, Cuckoo; Guinea-fowl, Kenya Crested; Honey guide, Greater; Hornbill, Crowned; Quail, Blue; Sunbird, Uluguru.

Reptiles
Python, Cobra, Lizard, and Gecko.

Insects
Butterflies, mosquito, beetle.

Vegetation
The Shimba Hills hold one of the largest areas of coastal rain forest in East Africa after Arabuko Sokoke. The vegetation consists of forested scarp slopes and undulating grasslands interspersed with woodland clumps and ribbons of riverine.

Activities
-  Game viewing.
-  Camping
-  Trekking

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.

Park Contacts
Phone:       +254-40-4159/4166
Postal Address:Shimba Hills National Reserve,  P.O. Box 30,Kwale, Kenya.