Shimba Hills National Reserve, about 33 km south of Mombasa, offers a peaceful getaway from the hubbub of the busy beach resorts. Woodlands, waterfalls, lily-topped ponds, savanna, and rainforest provide a home for a rich diversity of plants and animals. Among the rare plants are endangered species of cycads and orchids. The park also protects one of the highest concentrations of elephants in Kenya, along with leopards, sable antelope, and abundant birdlife.
Guided forest walks are available, and visitors can cool off in the swimming hole and picnic area at the scenicSheldrick Falls on the Machenmwana River. Shimba Rainforest Lodge in the reserve is a popular treetop-style lodge with a walkway through the rainforest, viewing platform, and a water hole that lures plenty of wildlife.