Set in a cool and refreshing environment in the Shimba Hills Ecosystem, the Shifoga Eco Lodge offers a perfect feel of nature within the limits of Kwale. This Eco Lodge is located just about 200 meters from Kwale main town towards the Shimba Hills National Reserve which is home to the only sable antelope population in Kenya. On arriving at Shifoga Eco Lodge, one gets a unique introduction to wild from the sounds of singing birds and chatters of excited colobous and sykes monkeys jumping from one tree to another.
This secret getaway features two self contained bandas with reliable water and power supplies. An overnight stay at Shifoga Eco Lodge is exceptionally a unique experience as one interacts with wildlife.
While at this Eco Lodge there is never a boring moment. During the day, Shifoga guides will take you out for a walk a nature trail inside the Coastal Rainforest just outside Shimba Hills National Reserve. Here you get a chance to come close to the endangered black and white colobous monkeys, sykes monkeys, baboons and various birds and reptile species. Also in the nature trail walk which normally takes around 45 minutes, a visitor learns about different indigenous tree species.
|Shifoga Nature Trail walk. / Photo: Ali Kipapuro.|
Amidst the forest is also a set up of a sample traditional Digo homestead (mudzi). As you enter the compound (muhala) at this sample Digo community homestead the first thing you see is a small structure decorated with red, black and white pieces of clothes. Traditionally the Digos called it the fingo which they believed that it offered family member protection from evil spirits.
Here one also gets a detailed explanation on various types of traditional houses built by the Digo community in past, and places within their compounds where they used to pray for spiritual assistance from their ancestors. If you are lucky enough you will be entertained by traditional music from the Digo community while at this point in the forest.
Later you are taken to a place called ‘ndala’ where the Kaya elders used to pray and offer sacrifices during times of calamities.
|Mwakutunza from Shifoga explains about Digo traditions during the nature trail walk. / Photo: Ali Kipapuro.|
Inside the Shifoga Nature Trail is a unique picnic site and also several camping grounds where visitors can opt to put up their tents for adventurous nights. It is in this forest also where Shifoga members have their butterfly farm, a livelihood project initiated to encourage Kwale community to conserve environment.
|Shifoga picnic site inside the nature trail. / Photo Ali Kipapuro.|
Apart from the Nature Trail, Shifoga Eco Lodge organizes village tours for visitors to mingle with local community member in various villages of Kwale where they learn about the lifestyle of the Digo and Duruma communities, and at times have a taste of traditional delicacies from the two communities. Shifoga also has day-long walking safari of about 25 kilometers where their visitors are treated to a unique odyssey in and around the Shimba Hills ecosystem.
These tours normally start at their offices through Kwale town to Golini Resort where one takes refreshments and a chance to have an expansive view from the Golini cliff, and later proceed to Chitsanze waterfalls overlooking the magnificent Mwaluganje valley and back to Golini cliff for a sun-downer as you catch a far glimpse of the African Bush Elephants of the Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary.
The Shofoga Eco Lodge is owned by the Shimba Hills Forest Guides Association (SHIFOGA), a group formed in 2004. Below are their rates:
Guiding – Shimba Hills Reserve
Non -nResidents & Residents: Ksh. 1,500/= per group
Citizens: Ksh. 1,000/= per group
Institutions: Ksh. 2,000/= per group
Tour Guiding – NATURE TRAIL:
Residents & Residents: Ksh. 500/= per person
Citizens: Ksh. 100/= per person
Tour Guiding – VILLAGE TOURS:
Non – Residents & Residents: Ksh. 500/= per
Citizens: Ksh. 200/= per person
Institutions: Ksh. 2,000/= per group
Have you ever visited Shifoga Eco Lodge? You can drop us a comment below on how your experience was like.