Which Type of Forest is Shimba Hills? Shimba Hills National Reserve is a unique and diverse forested area, which is located in the Southeastern region of Kenya, and it is situated in a distance of about 33 kilometers from the coastal city of Mombasa and in about 15 kilometers from the coast. Shimba hills national reserve was officially established in 1968 and it covers a total surface area of about 300 square kilometers. More so, shimba hills national reserve is critically important and ecologically has rich forest, which is well known for its remarkable biodiversity and for its distinct characteristics, which make it unique, its ecological significance and its flora and fauna. In addition, below we will get to explore more about which type of forest that shimba hills gets to represent.
Shimba hills national reserve is commonly classified as a coastal rainforest and this classification was derived due to its strategic location along the Indian Ocean coastline and because of its climatic conditions that it experiences. More so, the coastal rainforest is characterized by high levels of rainfall that it receives throughout the year whereby the annual average which ranges between 1500-2500 meters. Therefore, this consistent rainfall pattern, which is well combined with warm temperatures, which makes an ideal environment within the surrounding and this helps in the proper growth lush vegetation hence making shimba hills a unique and biologically a diverse type of forest.
More so, the cool vegetation that is within Shimba hills is noticed to be predominantly evergreen and semi-deciduous and it consists a wide of variety of tree species, which contribute the overall canopy structure of the forest. In addition, these tree species create a lot towards the dense and shaded environment, which supports an array of plants preventing them from being destroyed and many wildlife species always rest under the shade when the weather tends to be so hot. Therefore, some of these tree species include; East African Olive, Red stinkwood, cinnamon, pencil cedar and many others.
Shimba hills national reserve is also known for its unique topography that consists rolling hills and deep valleys, which are considered one of the most defining features found within the reserve. More so, shimba hills provide microhabitats to wildlife species and numerous plant species hence allowing for a high degree of biodiversity within the forest. And the stunning valleys often have streams and rivers that run through and this is not only does it enhance the overall beauty of the forest but also provide essential water sources for wildlife species where they are usually spotted while they drink water to quench their thirst.
Shimba Hills national reserve is also a home to several plant species which serve major purpose of acting as medicine therefore they are traditionally used by local communities for generations. More so, the plant species found around this reserve are endemic and rare thriving within the ecosystem hence adding to the visual richness of the forest and some of these plant species include; Orchids, ferns and other various epiphytic plant species that usually cling to the trees.
Shimba hills national reserve is a home to many wildlife species that are equally impressive to see while touring around. In addition, the presence of the wife range of these mammal species contribute a lot towards the ecological importance of the forest, which acts as a good natural habitat. and some of these animals found around this reserve include; leopards, buffalos, bush pigs, bush duikers, giraffes, elephants, sable antelopes, civet cats, African bush baby, blue duikers and many other primate species such as; black and white colobus monkeys, Sykes monkeys among others. Shimba hills is also a home to reptiles and amphibians, which are endemic and play an important role towards the forests eco systems dynamics.
And bird lovers who tour around this reserve will consider to it to be a paradise due to the fact that it is recorded to have a total population of over 100 bird species and these birds are categorized in different types such as; resident birds, migratory birds, notable birds and some of these birds include; African fish eagle, palm nut vulture, African crowned eagle, red winged lark, Zanzibar greenbul, yellow throated long claw, white eared barbet, green tinker bird, olive sunbird, coastal robin, African Golden oriole, Bohms spine tail and many others.
More so, the coastal forest has a rich biodiversity and it plays a crucial role in maintaining regional climate patterns by influencing rainfall and the temperature regulation. In addition, this forest also provides essential services to the local people within the neighbouring communities for example; it provides them with water from its numerous streams and rivers and the local people use this water for drinking, agriculture and other daily activities among others.
Contact our trusted tour operators for more information about what type of forest is found in Shimba hills national reserve and book with our tours and travel companies such as; Achieve Global Safaris who offer the best tour packages while on your safari in Kenya.