The Shimba Hills was 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. The Shimba Hills are a dissected plateau that ascends steeply from the coastal plains, 30km 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 45m at Marere and Pengo hills.
All hills have views points, which offer splendid views of the hilly and forested countryside and far as the Indian Ocean and Chale Island to the East and the Tsavo plains and Taita hills to the West.
WHAT TO SEE
This park is also the sanctuary of the last breeding herd of indigenous sable antelope (Hippotragus niger roosevelt) in Kenya. This typical saber-horned antelope is often considered as the most beautiful of the large antelopes. They are more easily seen on the central grasslands (Buffalo ridge) and around the old airstrip (near Longo forest).Best time is early morning or late afternoon. Large gregarious animals with long scimitar-shaped horns, they have a black colour coat marked with white stripes on their face and under-parts. In the past, this African savannah antelopes were preys of many hunters and the species was almost extinct in Kenya.
Note that for safety reasons, it is recommended to be accompanied by a K.W.S. ranger, as there are sometimes elephants or few buffalos along the 2km long way-marked footpath going to the falls. I take a hat and drink water as before going to gallery forest, the path crosses steep uncovered grass plains. It is very hot. The falls were discovered by David Sheldrick(1919-1977). It is a two hour pleasant walk from the parking area to this spectacular falls, which supply Tiwi and Diani with water. The track leading down to the cascade offers a scenic walk, count 45 minutes to descend and 1 hour to return. At the fall, don’t try to climb on the cliff as it is slippery but take a cold shower of 25 meters high, swim safely in the cool water pool or even have a picnic by the cascades on sand. The level of the pool depends on the seasons: during rainy seasons, you can easily swim in the pool and there is one fall during dry season, the pool is tiny and there are two spring waterfalls.