Less than an hour south of Mombasa (just 20 mi/30 km), Shimba Hills is not visited by many tourists but is well worth a stop. It is an unspoiled tract of lush rain forest that leads down to green rolling hills. Thanks to the cooling sea breeze, the climate is very comfortable there. Its wonderful Shimba Hills Lodge is up in the trees and provides excellent opportunities for viewing game. A tree-level walkway runs from one end of the lodge to a platform near a clearing where you can see elephants, warthogs, antelope and monkeys. After dark, spotlights reveal bats, bushbabies and jungle insects. The park itself is also home to giraffes, zebras, ostriches and magnificent sable antelopes.
Just outside the park is the Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary, which was created to ease conflict between local farmers and elephants (it's fenced along the farmland but is open on its other sides to allow the elephants to migrate). There are more than 200 elephants there, and close-up sightings are almost guaranteed.
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