Shimba Hills is one of the largest coastal forests in East Africa after Arabuko-Sokoke Forest. The reserve is rich in flora and fauna and is also the only place in East Africa where you can see the Sable antelope. The larger animals here are elephant, giraffe, buffalo, leopard, zebra, various antelopes as well as the smaller animal species. Birdlife is prolific with 111 bird species identified and a wide variety of butterflies.
The reserve is an area of rainforest, woodland and grassland. It is an important area for plant biodiversity and it is believed that this eco-system supports about 1,400 plant species of which 280 are endemic to this area. It is also said that over 50% of the 159 rare plants in Kenya are found in the Shimba Hills including some endangered species of cycad and orchids.
The Shimba Hills rise quite sharply from the coastal plains to form a generous plateau which reaches an altitude of 450m above sea level in places. There are several lookout points where you can see stunning views of the Indian Ocean.
A major attraction to the Shimba Hills is the impressive Sheldrick Falls, which cascade 25m (82 feet) over the escarpment. There is a scenic 2km footpath that takes up to an hour to walk each way. Sheldrick Falls is an idyllic spot for a cool swim and a picnic.
The Shimba Hills has 4 major rivers and is the main source of water for surrounding areas including Diani Beach and parts of Mombasa.