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Udzungwa Mountains National Park

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Udzungwa Mountains National Park

Udzungwa Mountains National Park is a national park in Tanzania with a size of 1,990 km2 (770 miles2). The habitats contained within the national park include tropical rainforest, mountain forest, miombo woodland, grassland and steppe. There is a vertical height range of 250–2,576 metres (the peak of Lohomero), which incorporates the Udzungwa Mountains part of the Eastern Arc Mountains. There are more than 400 bird species, 2500 plant species (25% of which are endemics) and 6 primate species. It has the second largest biodiversity of a national park in Africa.

Tourism in the Udzungwa Mountains national Park revolves around hiking and trekking, as the park has no roads and is accessible only on foot. The hiking trails range in difficulty from the short one-hour Sonjo trek to the extremely challenging 6-day camping trek the Lumemo Trail. The most common walk is the Sanje Waterfalls trail which takes approximately four hours to complete and allows the visitor access to the stunning 170 m waterfall and includes swimming in the waterfall plunge pools as part of the activity.

has a total area of 2,000km². It contains the greatest altitudinal range of forests in East Africa – the eastern escarpment is the only place in East Africa with unbroken forest cover from lowland forest communities at below 250m above sea level, through intermediate types, to mountain communities at over 2,800m. Because of such a wide range in altitude and habitat types, Udzungwa National Park has one of the highest numbers of species endemism worldwide. Udzungwa National Park is located 65 km south of Mikumi National Park.

With no roads entering Udzungwa National Park it is a paradise for hikers and backpackers alike. Numerous breath-taking day-hikes can be organized along with multiple day excursions into the dense rain forest or onto the high plateau. One beautiful trek is up to the Sanje River Waterfall, which plunges for 170 metres through the forest to the valley below. The view from the top is magnificent!

Udzungwa National Park supports a diverse, large mammal communityincluding elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, african wild dog, eland, waterbuck and sable. Six species of primate are found here and two are endemic, the Iringa (Uhehe) Red Colobus monkey, and the Sanje Crested Mangabey, which was discovered in 1979. There is also a rich small bovid community including good numbers of Red, Blue and Abbots duikers, and bushbuck.

Udzungwa has the richest forest bird habitat in Tanzania. Several endemics has just been discovered recently (including a new species of francolin and the Rufus-winged sun bird).

The dry season occurs from June to October, when it is best to visit. During the rainy season from March to May visits are not recommended.

Harbouring one of East Africa’s great forests, Udzungwa Mountain National Park has an area of 1990 sq km, bordered by the Great Ruaha River to the north, with Mikumi National Park and Selous Game Reserve located further to the north and east. Protected as a national forest reserve until 1992 when it was commissioned as National Park, Udzungwa Mountains is undoubtedly one of the few true virgin and unique forested lands remaining in the world. The major attractions include its biologically diverse forest, harbouring some plant species found nowhere else in the world, from a tiny African violet to 30-metre high trees.

Apart from the forest, which acts as a water catchment area and having a large number of endemic species of both animals and plants, the park has spectacular mountains scenery, grasslands, rocks, rivers and waterfalls. One of the most interesting sights is the presence of two indigenous species of primates, the Iringa red colobus monkey and the Sanje Crested Mangabey, not known until 1979. Apart from providing habitat to about six species of primates, its plateau contains populations of elephants, buffalos, lions, leopards, African hunting dogs and several forest bird species.

Walking safaris to the Sanje River waterfalls (170 metres) is one of the popular activities in this park. Udzungwa Mountains can conveniently be combined with game drives in nearby Mikumi National Park, an hour·s drive to the north, or be included in the Ruaha National Park (4-5 hours drive) and Selous Game Reserve itineraries. The park can be visited throughout the year although it is a bit slippery during the wet rainy season. The dry season extends from June to October.

 

Udzungwa is a primate park and there are 12 species of primate, including three found nowhere else in the world (the Sanje Mangabey, the Iringa Red Colobus and the Kipunji). Udzungwa is home to approximately 400 species of bird, many of which are endemic to the area. The park is treasured for the high level of biodiversity of birds and animals. The mountain range is often referred to as “the Galapagos Islands of Africa” due to its rich levels of biodiversity and endemism.

The park’s scenery is spectacular, with the rainforest spreading across rolling hills, valleys and mountains. The park has a number of impressive waterfalls, including Sanje Waterfalls, the highest waterfall in the National Parks system in Tanzania. Swimming in the plunge pools of the waterfalls is extremely refreshing following a hot hike!

History

Udzungwa Mountains National Park was established in 1992. The park was formed from five forest reserves established in 1950s. These forests survived over 30 million years and were once connected to the Congo Basin and West Africa. The park was inaugurated in 1992 by WWF founder and then-president, Prince Bernard of Netherlands.

The name Udzungwa comes form the Kihehe word “Wadzungwa” which means the people who live on the sides of the mountains. The vast areas of the Udzungwa Mountains are still pristine, where man has not disturbed the earth and its natural communities due to taboos and cultural beliefs.

Fees and permits

Entrance fees for non-citizens per 24 hours:

    US$30 for adult

    US$10 for child (5-15 yrs)

Camping fees for non-citizens per 24 hours:

    US$30 for adult

    US$5 for child (5-15 yrs)

Entrance fees for residents per 24 hours:

    US$15 for adult

    US$5 for child (5-15 yrs)

Camping fees for residents per 24 hours:

    US$15 for adult

    US$5 for child (5-15 yrs)

Entrance fees for Tanzanian citizens per 24 hours:

    Tsh 5000 for adult

    Tsh 2000 for child

Camping fees for Tanzanian citizens per 24 hours:

    Tsh 5000 for adult

    Tsh 2500 for child

Per group:

    Guide – US$20 per group ($10 for residents, Tsh 5000 for Tanzanians)

    Ranger – US$20 per group ($10 for residents, Tsh 5000 for Tanzanians)

All visitors must be accompanied by a guide (for the longer hikes a ranger).

Maximum group size 6 people to 1 guide/ranger.

1 Comment

  1. YourFriendPablo

    February 19, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    Great, I really like it! Youre awesome