It is a chain of over a dozen large, forest-covered mountains that rise majestically from the flat coastal scrub of eastern Tanzania. They are part of the Eastern Arc Mountains, offering extraordinary biodiversity and a unique rainforest in which many rare African species have been identified. 30-40% are endemic, rare and endangered species of plants and animals. For this reason, it is proposed that Udzungwa become the eighth place in Tanzania on the UNESCO list.
Udzungwa has unique landscapes: a continuous series of forested mountains and cascades. The closed-canopy forest stretches from 250 meters (820 feet) to over 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) without interruption. The falling Sanje waterfall is one of many that provides valuable water resources to the surrounding regions. From the lowlands to the height of over two kilometers, in this area you can find 3300 species of plants and about 600 types of trees – it is difficult to find open areas.
The chestnut tree without side branches for the first 15-20 meters is one of the most striking trees you’ll encounter. One of the most known endemic species of Udzungwa is a delicate African vial. Some other significant tree species include a fig tree with a huge trunk, red mahogany that grows up to 60 meters, and a plum whose ripening purple fruit are magnets for elephants. This diverse jungle attracts the most stunning creatures, from mammals to birds to amphibians. The most common mammals are primates. There are 11 primates in the park. 2 endemic primates, threatened with extinction – The red kolobus from Iringa and the crested mangrove Sanje occur only in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park, the mangrove species was not detected by biologists before 1979, and one almost endemic genus and species, kipunji (Rungwecebus kipunji). There are also 6 nocturnal primates – African galago monkeys (bush children).
In addition to all these miniature wonders, the plateau is also inhabited by elephants, buffaloes, lions and leopards. Visitors should not, however, expect to see these larger species, as they usually occur in the less accessible area of the park.
It is more likely to see the Shrub Antelope, the Bushy Boar, and the Dujker Harvey and the Blue Dujker, Civet, Honey Badger, and Three Types of Mongoose You can also take a look at the shy female – a very small antelope – a rare puk antelope or the larger DJ Abbott, who is nowhere outside of Tanzania and is rarely seen.
Ornithologists are attracted to Udzungwa because of the bird’s wealth of over 400 species, from the charming and easily found green-backed oriole to a dozen or so mysterious eastern arch endemics. Many of them are at risk. Four species of birds are characteristic of Udzungwa, including the Gray Partridge, first discovered in 1991 and more closely related to the Asian genus than to any other African bird. Keep an eye on Udzungwa’s specialties, such as White-winged Apalis, and dappled Mountain Robin. If you are guided by the sound, you will definitely not miss the silver-horned hornbill, Livingstone’s turaco and guinea fowl crested.
Although butterflies are much easier to spot in the open, the most beautiful live in the woods, such as the venomous Derudacraea. In the search for butterflies you can find ten different species of chameleons, including the chameleon with barbed wings, occurs only in Udzungwa and four others are endemic to Tanzania.
Undoubtedly, this great forest has not yet discovered all its treasures: continuous scientific research and new discoveries will certainly enrich its diverse catalog of endemic species.
With so many endemic creatures for this area, this chain of secluded mountains has rightly been called the African Galapagos.
Although Udzungwa is not a popular safari destination, it is a magnet for tourists due to hiking and trekking. The park has no roads and is only accessible on foot. There are many spectacular waterfalls in Udzungwa that you can visit by choosing one of the seven forest trails. The most popular is a 5-kilometer half-day hike (4-5 hours) to the Sanje Falls (3 waterfalls), through a misty stream in the forested valley below.
Other routes :
Trail of Prince Bernhard (1 hour)
Sonjo trail (1 km / 1 hour)
Njokamoni trail (5 km / 5 hours)
Hidden Valey (camping 3) trail (14 km / 1 day)
Mt Mwanihana (38) km / 3dni)
Lumemo trail (65 km / 5 days)
You can find more information about trekking in the park and full offer here
Cultural tourism to places of culture and history in the park and beyond.
Udzungwa is usually offered with safaris at the nearby Mikumi Park or on the way to Ruaha. Check offers
The Udzungwa Mountains National Park was founded in 1992 mainly due to its vegetative value. It covers 1 990 km² and stretches 80 km from southwest to northeast. Height: 250 m – 2 576 m (Mt Luhomero).
Regardless of the season of the year you visit, you will be amazed by biodiversity and lush greenery. Temperatures depend on the season and altitude and differ significantly. The year-round temperature in the national park is pleasant, with higher temperatures from October to March and the lowest temperatures from May to July. Depending on the month of travel, the average high temperature ranges from 25-30 ° C, but sometimes also reached a peak close to 35 ° C during the humid, short rainy season. Average low temperature around 17-23 C, but temperatures have dropped to around 12 C before.
The best time to visit is dry season but be ready for rain at any time. The park is available all year round but maybe slippery when it rains (from March to May)
The park can easily be reached by car. From Dar es Salaam to Mikumi (315 km / 4 hours) on a good asphalt road, then 63 km (1.5 hours) to the main Mangu’ula gate on a partly overground road. The west gates are not connected to Mangu’ula: the Msos gate is 10 km from Mtandiki, and the Udekwa gate is 63 km from Iluli (on the international highway).
In the park: several public and special campsites at the Mangu’ula gate and along hiking trails,
Hotels / Lodge in the cities of Mangu’ula and Mikumi.
Are you planning a visit to the Udzungwa National Park – contact us.