Situated in Kwale County, Shimba Hills National Reserve famously known as ‘The Paradise of Sable Antelope’ sits on the second largest East African Coastal Rain Forests in Kenya, about 33 kilometers south of the coastal town of Mombasa.
The National Reserve which has an area of 250 square kilometers is among the major tourist destinations not only in Kwale County, but Kenya as a whole.
|Eastern sable antelopes. Photo courtesy Shimba Lodge|
Shimba Hills National Reserve is the home to the only sable antelope population in the country.
The name Shimba Hills comes from the words ‘Vilima vya Shambi’ which to the local communities living around the park meant the hilly terrain they referred to as the hills of the shambi, a Mijikenda name for the sable antelopes.
There are four subspecies of sable antelopes which inhabit the East African woodland savannah south of Kenya, and in the Southern African region. The Kenyan subspecies found in Shimba Hills National Reserve is known as the eastern sable (hippotragus niger roosevelti).
Apart from the sable antelopes, Shimba Hills National Reserve has different species of other animals, birds, snakes, over 295 species of butterflies and more than 1,300 identified species of trees. Some of the tree species are endemic to Shimba Hills National Reserve and are not found anywhere else in the world, such as the vangueriopsis shimbaensis.
|Local tourists enjoying at the Sheldrick Falls.|
Shimba Hills is a scenic and a special interest reserve. Inside this reserve is the unique Sheldrick Falls, and the highest
hill top of Pengo where visitors can have a panoramic view of the surrounding environment.
The reserve is also a key water catchment area, and a source of the Marere Springs which provide house hold water to many areas of
Kwale and Mombasa counties.
Also this area has rich history dating back to the East African slave trade and colonial eras. Here there are ancient graves and also trenches used during the times of the world war. Inside the Shimba Hills National Reserve is the Kaya Kwale, a sacred forest to the Digo community.
Shimba Hills National Reserve is a unique camping area with several camping and picnic sites. Also there is the Shimba Hills Lodge which is privately owned.
Shimba Hills Wildlife:
Sable antelopes, elephants, colobus monkies, giraffes, leopards, civet cat, hyenas, waterbucks, bush pigs, buffaloes, African bush babies, bushbucks among others.
Birds of Shimba Hills:
Ostrich Eagle, African Hawk; Falcon, Cuckoo; Guinea-fowl, Kenya Crested; Honey guide, Greater; Hornbill, Crowned; Quail, Blue; Sunbird, Uluguru.
Reptiles of Shimba:
Python, Cobra, Lizard, and Gecko.