A bench with a view in Shimba Hills National Reserve, Kenya.

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Shimba Hills National Reserve

Top choice in South Coast

This park is among the easiest to visit in Kenya, within spitting distance of Diani Beach, with numerous driving routes and a couple of hiking trails. Its gentle grassy hills are interspersed with patches of forest which together provide a home to elephants, leopards, warthogs, buffaloes, baboons, a variety of antelope species and a small population of Masai giraffes, but the park is best known for its population of magnificent sable antelope, which occur in no other Kenyan park.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby South Coast attractions

1. Elephant Hill

2.45 MILES

With the best viewpoint in the reserve, this hill is the place to see elephants. It affords lovely views out over the valley towards the ocean. Armed…

2. Sheldrick Falls

3.17 MILES

These pretty 21m-high falls are laced with lianas and greenery, and have a natural plunge pool. Free, two-hour, 2km walks, organised by the Kenya Wildlife…

3. Marere Dam


A watering hole that attracts animals, including elephants. Also a great birdwatching spot.

4. Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary

7.64 MILES

This sanctuary is a good example of community-based conservation, with local people acting as stakeholders in the project. It was opened in October 1995…

5. Kongo Mosque

13.29 MILES

At the far northern end of the beach road (follow the faded sign behind the Jacaranda Resort) is the 16th-century Kongo Mosque – Diani’s last surviving…

6. Colobus Conservation Centre

13.56 MILES

Notice the monkeys clambering on rope ladders over the road? The 'colobridges' are the work of the Colobus Conservation Centre, which aims to protect the…

7. Kaya Kinondo

14.85 MILES

This forest, sacred to the Digo people, is the only one of the area's sacred forests that's open to visitors. Visiting this small grove is a nature walk,…

8. Tusks

21.18 MILES

Giant replicas of elephant tusks form two arches above Moi Ave, welcoming visitors to the city. Next to them are Uhuru Gardens, a tranquil, green space of…