Begin with pickup at your Mombasa hotel, then make the 33-mile (53-km.) trip to Shimba Hills National Reserve, one of the largest coastal forests in East Africa. Take an hour-long nature and culture tour with Shimba Hills Forest Guide Association: visit a Digo village to learn about local butterfly breeding practices and the Bantu-speaking Digo people.
Continue deeper into the park, where you’ll leave the car behind for a hike to Sheldrick Falls, which tumbles 82 feet (25 meters) into cool, clear pool that’s ideal for an afternoon swim. Those preferring not to hike can explore the park on a short game drive, then meet up with the hikers for a more extensive wildlife-viewing drive. In addition to being important habitat for the endangered sable antelope, the Shimba Hills are home to leopard, waterbuck, bushbaby, and the nocturnal civet cat. Watch for the elephants that live in pockets of lush rainforest, then scan the trees for ostrich eagles, cuckoos, and African hawks.
Break for lunch at Shimba Hills Green Safari Camp, where you’ll spend an easy-going afternoon with views of the Usambara Mountains and Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary, a community-based conservation project. This tour concludes with drop-off at your Mombasa hotel.