We were visiting the coastal town of Mombasa. Having enjoyed the sandy beaches, we craved to go camping, away to the wild, and so we sort to see what the Shimba National Reserves has in store for visitors looking to have fun camping.
The Shimba National Reserve is located in Kwale District at the Coastal province of Kenya. The reserve is home to a huge family of elephants. If one is driving, drive past the Likoni ferry for about 45 minutes along the Mombasa –Lunga Lunga road, and turn off toward Kwale Town. There are signs on the road showing the direction. The diversion from Mombasa – Lunga Lunga road main road is about 20 kilometres to the Kenya wildlife gate.
The drive toward the reserve is along the countryside is spectacular adored with palm tree plantations narrowing off to the quiet town of Kwale. Once at Kwale Town, the tarmac ends. The drive is on a marram road for about 10-15 minutes just before getting to the Kenya Wildlife gate to Shimba National Reserve. All visitors have to be cleared by the friendly Kenya Wildlife officers. The Kenya wildlife service manages the campsite that included the professional campsite, Ocean Front campsite, Makadara campsite and Sheldrick Walk falls. The cost is affordable to citizens at Kshs. 200/- per night for those camping plus park fees.
Experiencing Camping Safari
Here one has to have a spirit full of fun. Apart from the wildlife drives, visitors especially if camping in a group, guest are allowed to have activities within the campsite. The first night for me was great; we set up camp and also set up a fireplace right in the middle of the camp. The camp has utility for campers. The caretaker prepares the fireplace and also provided us with firewood at a minimal cost. We set out to cook our dinner of Nyama Choma (roasted meat), Sukuma wiki (kales) and Ugali a staple food in Kenya.
Having had our meal ready, it was time for us to have a drink while story telling. Storytelling is nostalgic to the majority of the campers in the team. Most stories are folktales told by our granny’s ‘ as we grew up. Some are moral stories, fiction especially monster stories while another group of campers played cards under the moonlight. It was a great evening in the wild. From a distance, one can detect the sound of hyenas that keep hovering around due to the smell of nyama choma. We were reassured that they would not get to the campsite as there was an electric fence around the professional campsite. We finally retired to bed at around midnight.
The Camping Safari-Shimba Game Reserve
The following morning we are awakened by the sound of singing birds. The morning was bright and the camp was not bad at all. At 6 am we set out to the forest for a self-game drive. One is warned to look out for elephants. The reserve is parked with wildlife, antelopes, hyena, and elephants and the bird lover, then this is your ideal location for bird watching. The reserve is home to a variety of birds and butterflies species. We come across a family of elephants it’s a beautiful scene with a great surrounding of vegetation. Through the game drive, we head straight to Sheldrick’s fall walk. The walk is managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service wardens, all team consolidates and leave all at the same time.
One can enjoy the vast scenery full of vegetation within the forest. The walk takes two to three hours to and fro. One gets as close as possible to elephants at the watering holes. The reserve is extremely quiet except for the high-pitched sounds of birds. It’s very ideal for writers or just for retreats away from the hustle and bustle of the city. We finally get back to camp and disband our campsite as we head further south to Shimoni home to The Famous Kisite Mupunguti Marine Park.
If you are taking your holiday at the Coast, take a day away from the beach
and take a Camping Safari to the Shimba National reserve. The reserve will surely offer you a taste of safari life an indication of wildlife and tip-off of a mixture of the flora and fauna that Kenya has to offer.
Facts about Shimba National Reserve
Location: Kwale District, Shimba Hills National Reserve
Distance: 45 minutes drive from Mombasa –Lunga Lunga road
Accommodation: Shimba Hills Lodge, KWS self-catering Camping sites. There are 4 public campsites: Professional- Capacity of 100, Makadara -Capacity of 50, Ocean view – Capacity of 50. Sheldrick Fall as at December 2010, the Kenya Wildlife Service was building Bandas hopefully to be complete by April 2011.
Activities: Sundowner safari, Sheldrick’s fall walk, Game drives, Bird and Butterfly watching, Camping Safari.