Timothy Lees’ Diary
Tidal Forests of Kenya

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July 31, 2009: Day off!

Elephant Today is our official day off. We planned to visit Shimba Hills National Reserve. We left at about 6 o’clock to get an early start for the day. The reserve is a small National Park in the Coast Province of Kenya, 33 km from Mombasa and 15 km Falls from the coast. The reserve is an area of coastal rainforest, woodland and grassland. After a light breakfast at the entrance to the reserve while waiting on the guide (who didn’t show, by the way) we started on our tour through the Giraffe reserve. After a ten-minute drive we came across three elephants, which was kinda cool, and raised the expectations of having a very good visit to the reserve. The main highlight, however, was the climb down to Sheldrick Falls. It was a 2km hike down the hill. We needed to be medically and physically fit to make the hike, and accompanied by an armed ranger. This was because, as it said on the sign, of the dangerous animals we needed to watch out for. We didn’t come across any, so I guess the ranger did a good job. Getting to the falls was worth the climb down. I had honestly expected to see more wild Camel animals, but I guess given the highly forested area they didn’t really come out a lot into the open. Did get to see a giraffe though and some water buffalo. So all in all it was a good tour for me. After the reserve we concluded our day with a visit to Diani beach. “Ali Barbours and the Forty Thieves” was the location we choose to hang out at. It was a very nice beach establishment with a cave restaurant a few meters further down the road. It was very refreshing to have a swim and relax on the beach after those days in the field. There were a few Maasai tribesmen and women trying to interest  anyone in purchasing trinkets on the beach. There was also a guy who had come down with his camels and was offering rides on the beach. At about 6.30 in the evening we said goodbye to the white sands and blue waters of Diani beach and headed back to Gazi for a good night’s rest from a long but enjoyable day.

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