Shimba Hills National Reserve is a unique Animal sanctuary.


Shimba Hills National Reserve

Under 45 kilometers south-west of Mombasa, nestled in the Longomwagandi Forest, lies the Shimba Hills National Reserve. This is one of the last remaining fragments of coastal East Africa forests and a plant and animal sanctuary. Created in 1968, and managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), The Shimba Hills National Reserve is home to many of Africaís mammals. It is also home to over 150 bird species.

Shimba Hills National Reserve is a unique sanctuary. Just about 250 square kilometers in size, yet it offers one of the most diverse animal and plant life, anywhere on earth. A herd of antelopes quickly crosses the dirt road, in front of the tour vans, as the visitors watch. The sun conspires with the dominant male, to bring out his glossy, almost black coat.


As the tour van heads for the Sheldrick Falls, all within the Reserve, it takes a detour to the Mwele Forest. The sun, shinning above, sends dappled light to the undergrowth-including the flowering plants. Selective logging-legal and illegal-has led to degradation of part of the forest. However, according to KWS guides, removal of timber from the forest has now been stopped.

Some of the trees in the Shimba Hills National Reserve are awe inspiring and impressive. Some have huge supports, others have wide waxy leaves, and still others have a pale lime hue. Being in this forest is an unforgettable botanical experience!

A KWS ranger is on hand to receive guests at the Sheldrick Falls. The ranger leads the way to the falls, a tense walk, considering one is walking out there in a national Reserve. The trail followed, zigzags through the elephant grass, until it reaches the base of the hills. The path leads on and meets with the Mwachema River. At this point, the Falls are now audible. Taking the path, which at this point follows the river, it descends down a rocky narrow steep sided valley, which leads to the base of the Falls.

Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary

The Shimba Hills National Reserve neighbours the Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary. However, their landscapes are different. The Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary basin lies well below the Shimba Hills National Reserve. While the Shimba Hills National Reserve has lush hills and forests, the Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary has red ochre plains, scrubland, with the Manolo River winding through it.

Established in 1995, the sanctuary was designed to reduce incidences of human-elephant conflicts as well as establishing elephant corridors between itself and the Shimba Hills National Reserve.

Visitors to the sanctuary can always expect to see plenty of elephant, however, their current population which stands at about 350, now exceeds the land carrying capacity and poses an environmental risk. Consequently, there have been two massive elephant translocations from the sanctuary, recently.

Moving along, one comes across Daraja ya Mungu-Godís bridge- a naturally formed link between the two banks of the Manolo River. A favorite spot to check out the sun going down. Whatever one seeks, in a wildlife environment, the Shimba Hills National Reserve and the Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary will surely not disappoint. Each visit here reaveals new marvels.

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