The Udzungwa Mountains National Park is a sumptuous forested reserve that has recently been declared the sacred preserve of hikers and walkers. The land is ancient, a portion of the Eastern Arc mountains pushed upwards by faulting in the earth’s crust millions of years ago, and its steep slopes preserve a rare tropical forest that is home to a realm of unique plants, birds and animals. It is also the only area in Tanzania where the forest cover remains unbroken from the lowlands all the way into the high mountain forests.
For walking enthusiasts, The Udzungwas is a must on your safari itinerary. There are no roads going into this National Park so it is a place which must be explored on foot. Located within the Eastern Arc Mountain range, the Udzungwa Mountains are a biodiversity hot-spot with countless endemic plants, birds and primates. Hike to waterfalls and viewpoints and follow trails to hidden valleys with view over the savannah below. The highest peak of all is Luhomero, reaching 2,576 m (8,587 ft), above sea level, a distance requiring two nights and three days to climb there and back. A number of rivers, streams and waterfalls make their way down these slopes into the Great Ruaha River, accumulating enough velocity to power the majority of the country’s electricity from the hydro-electric turbines at Kidatu, and irrigate the crops to the south.
What to do
Hiking, swimming in waterfalls, canoeing, cycling, bird watching, fly camping.
When to go
Ideal hiking: JUNE – MARCH. Can visit all year round but it might be raining during April and May.
Stay 1-2 nights.
Notable wildlife sightings
This park is all about primates, birds and butterflies. Hike to the Sanje Waterfalls for a chance to see the endemic primate: the Sanje mangabee. You will also be able see several monkey species: red colobus, blue sykes, vervet and baboons. There are numerous forest birds to keep a look out for, and beautiful flora and butterflies. You have a very rare chance of seeing the Udzungwa Mountain forest elephants and buffalo… but they keep out of the way of the main paths.