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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. 33 Kms south to Mombasa, two smaller areas to the west adjoining the reserve and almost entirely forested remain as Forest Reserves, Mkongani North and Mkongani West Forest Reserve.
A fenced elephant corridor connects the Shimba Hills with Mwaluganje Forest Reserve to the North. The climate here is cooler than in the coast with sea breezes and cloudy mornings. Shimba Hills has great landscape with hills and valleys extending beyond the reserves boundaries.
The reserve, a part of the coastal rainforest is a famous Kenya safarispoint as the home of Sable antelopes, the Sheldrick Falls and bird watching. Reptiles among them pythons are cobras. Wildlife that can be viewed during safari includes Roan antelope, sable, buffalos, abundant primates to name just but a few.
The Shimba hills reserve is one of the largest coastal rain forest in East AFrica after
Arabuko Sokoke The 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 120m to 300m across the bulk of the plateau and as high as 450m 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. Two Kayas (forests of spiritual and ceremonial significance) are situated within the National Reserve. Accommodation is available in lodge or campsite but needs advance-booking.