Shimba Hills National Reserve

Shimba Hills National Reserve

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Description

Nestled in the southern highlands of Kenya, Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers. 

Located in the Taita-Taveta County, this private sanctuary offers a unique safari experience in a stunning natural setting. 

With its diverse ecosystems, breathtaking landscapes, and abundant wildlife, Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary showcases the best of Kenya’s natural beauty.

Overview

Stretching across the Taita Hills, this sanctuary covers an area of approximately 28,000 hectares and is a vital part of the Tsavo ecosystem. 

Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary is known for its rugged terrain, lush greenery, and remarkable biodiversity. It is home to a wide range of wildlife species, including elephants, lions, giraffes, zebras, and a variety of bird species.

The sanctuary’s commitment to conservation and community involvement has made it a shining example of sustainable tourism in Kenya.

Key Attractions:

  1. Scenic Landscapes: Explore the picturesque landscapes of Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, which feature rolling hills, dense forests, and open grasslands. The varied topography provides a stunning backdrop for wildlife encounters and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding areas.
  2. Abundant Wildlife: Experience close encounters with an array of wildlife species, including elephants, buffalos, leopards, hyenas, and various antelope species. Birdwatchers will also delight in spotting numerous bird species, including the Taita thrush, Taita apalis, and Taita white-eye.
  3. Lugard Falls: Located within the sanctuary, Lugard Falls is a series of rapids and cascades along the Galana River. Admire the beauty of the falls and witness the power of nature as the river rushes through the rocky channels.
  4. Shrine of Mulunguni: Visit the sacred Shrine of Mulunguni, an important cultural and spiritual site for the Taita people. Learn about the traditions and beliefs associated with this ancient place of worship.

Activities and Experiences: Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary offers a range of activities to immerse visitors in its natural wonders:

  • Game Drives: Embark on thrilling game drives, led by experienced guides who have an intimate knowledge of the sanctuary. Discover hidden corners and observe the wildlife in their natural habitat.
  • Walking Safaris: Explore the sanctuary on foot with guided walking safaris. Engage your senses, learn about the flora and fauna, and appreciate the intricate details of the ecosystem.
  • Birdwatching: Take advantage of the sanctuary’s rich birdlife by indulging in birdwatching excursions. Spot rare and endemic bird species as they flit among the trees and soar through the skies.
  • Cultural Interactions: Engage with the local Taita community and learn about their traditions, customs, and way of life. Participate in cultural activities, such as traditional dances and storytelling sessions, to gain a deeper understanding of the local heritage.

Accommodation: Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary offers a range of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. From luxury lodges to tented camps, visitors can find comfortable and immersive experiences within the sanctuary. Notable options include Sarova Salt Lick Game Lodge and Sarova Taita Hills Game Lodge.

Dining: Dining experiences in Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary combine local flavors with international cuisine. Enjoy delicious meals prepared using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, while taking in the stunning views of the sanctuary and its wildlife.

Getting There: To reach Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary:

  • By Air: The nearest airstrip is located in Voi, which receives scheduled flights from Nairobi and other major cities. From the airstrip, it’s a short transfer to the sanctuary.
  • By Road: Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary is accessible by road. It is approximately a four-hour drive from Nairobi, with well-maintained routes leading to the sanctuary.

Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary is during the dry seasons, from June to October and January to February. The weather is generally pleasant, and wildlife sightings are more frequent during this time. However, the sanctuary’s beauty can be appreciated year-round, and each season offers its own unique experiences.

Travel Tips:

  • What to Pack: Pack lightweight and breathable clothing, comfortable walking shoes, a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, binoculars, and a camera with extra batteries and memory cards.
  • Health and Safety: Consult your doctor for any necessary vaccinations before visiting the sanctuary. Follow the instructions of your guide and respect wildlife from a safe distance.
  • Cultural Sensitivities: Respect the local Taita culture and customs. Dress modestly and ask for permission before taking photographs of individuals or sacred sites.
  • Visa Information: Check the visa requirements for your nationality before traveling to Kenya. Obtain the necessary visas well in advance if required.
  • Currency: The local currency in Kenya is the Kenyan Shilling. Credit cards may not be widely accepted within the sanctuary, so it’s advisable to carry some cash for small purchases.
  • Internet and Connectivity: Internet access and mobile network coverage may be limited within the sanctuary.

In conclusion, Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary offers a unique and enriching safari experience in Kenya’s southern highlands. With its stunning landscapes, abundant wildlife, and cultural heritage, the sanctuary invites visitors to reconnect with nature and embrace the wonders of the Taita-Taveta County. Explore the diverse ecosystems, encounter majestic wildlife, and immerse yourself in the tranquility of Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary for an unforgettable journey into the heart of Kenya’s wilderness.

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