After spending a day at the beach, we wanted to see more of wild Africa. We discussed with the tourist office agent and decided that Shimba Hills might be the attraction that suits our needs—it is close, can be visited in one day from our hotel, it will be a safari, and there is a rainforest.
The van picked us up in the morning, and we drove 30 km south to the small hilly plateau of Shimba Hills. We passed Kwale town, and just next to it, we were at the gates of the national reserve. We passed the trees. Our guide said we should be very alert because it would be possible to see giraffes. We did not see any giraffes this time.
The first animals we saw were buffaloes, one of the “big five” in Africa. We saw buffaloes from 50 meters. We noticed that every buffalo had its bird. These birds are perched on a buffalo and eating insects which lodge in its skin.
Driving further, we made several stops and enjoyed splendid views of the hilly and forested countryside. We saw giraffes, elephants, zebras, and other animals during the safari. Different from the safari in Tsavo East, where all the animals were much closer. We saw a giraffe and an elephant from five meters away.
With the elephant, it was exciting – we stopped the car to take pictures. He (we are very sure that it was HE) stood just five meters away and cleaned himself with the sand. At one point, he came toward us and made a noise. The driver started to worry and started the engine. It was an exciting experience; we also enjoyed the pictures and videos taken there.
At the end of the tour, we had lunch at Shimba Hills lodge. This cleverly constructed lodge is set deep in the heart of an ancient tropical rainforest, and it truly fits the beautiful forest vegetation. The lunch was good, but the environment was much better—the air, noise, and smells. I believe that it could be a great vacation there. Maybe next time…
The story continues at Wasini Island.