KWS to install largest zip line at Shimba Hills Game Reserve

 One of Kenya's largest Coastal forest, Shimba Hills National Reserve is set for a major overhaul to help boost visitor attraction with the installation of a zip line, the first ever in Coast region.

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Coast Conservation Area, Assistant Director, Dr Arthur Tuda in an interview said that KWS was laying strategies to bring on board private investors for the zip line venture in line with government initiatives to boost tourism experience by having more adventure.

He said that they have identified the location where the zip line will be erected over the scenic Sheldrick Falls, which has continued to attract visitors daily.

''There are cemented steps that we have erected and plans are afoot to have motorable pathways for wheelchairs so that even disabled visitors can access the Sheldrick Falls. We plan to have the area around the falls more visitor friendly  by putting up a restaurant so that people can take more time at the Falls while relaxing,'' he said.

He said that the zip line canopy tour will enable visitors to have a bird’s eye view of the lush hilly surroundings from a height of over 250 feet and reaching 75 feet high with several zip lines.

''It will be a must visit and a record breaking  experience that takes one closer to the flying birds that have made Shimba Hills National Game Reserve. You can’t just beat the views you will see while flying through the air around the reserve and over Sheldrick Falls valley,'' he said.

Shimba Hills Game Reserve is rich in flora and fauna and hosts highest density of African elephants. Other species that roam the Shimba wild include the rare Sable Antelope,elephant shrew, bushy tailored  mongoose and other small mammals like fruit bats.

The area, Tuda added is also an important bird area with 111 bird species, 22 of which are endermic to the region while the grassland holds localised species such as Red -necked spur fowl, Croacking cisticola and Zanzibar Red bishop.

The KWS official said that other key attractions include the dense Mwaluganje Forest and four recognised camping sites.

At the same time, Tuda has decried the increase in consumption of small game meat among communities living in Kilifi and Tana River Counties.

He said that in the last one month alone, they have arrested poachers and intercepted several kilogrammes of meat carcases belonging to a number of small game in the two counties.

''It is a growing concern which we are trying to address. We thank the judiciary so far for having meted out stiffer penalties including jail terms to those found engaging in this illegal trade,'' he said.