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Udzungwa Mountains National Park is a hidden gem located in southern Tanzania. With its unique flora and fauna, stunning waterfalls, and breathtaking mountain scenery, Udzungwa Mountains National Park offers visitors an unforgettable experience. Here is a detailed guide to this beautiful park.
Udzungwa Mountains National Park is located in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania, about 350 km southwest of Dar es Salaam. The park is accessible by road from Dar es Salaam, Iringa, and Mikumi National Park. The journey to the park can take anywhere from 5 to 7 hours, depending on the mode of transportation.
Flora and Fauna
Udzungwa Mountains National Park is one of Tanzania’s biodiversity hotspots, with a rich and unique flora and fauna. The park is home to over 400 species of plants, including many endemic species found nowhere else in the world. The park’s forest reserve is the largest area of closed canopy forest in Tanzania and is a critical watershed area for the surrounding communities.
The park is also home to a diverse range of wildlife, including several species of primates such as the Udzungwa red colobus monkey, Sanje crested mangabey, and the black and white colobus monkey. Other notable species include elephants, buffaloes, and various antelope species such as bushbuck and duiker.
Things to do
Hiking and Trekking
Udzungwa Mountains National Park is a paradise for hikers and trekkers. The park has a network of well-maintained trails that take visitors through the park’s lush forests, past breathtaking waterfalls, and up to the summit of the park’s highest peak, Lohomero. The trails range in difficulty from easy walks to challenging multi-day treks.
One of the park’s most popular hikes is the Sanje Waterfall Trail, which takes visitors through the forest to the stunning Sanje Waterfall, one of the highest waterfalls in Tanzania. The trail is 4 km each way and takes about 3-4 hours to complete, depending on the fitness level of the hiker.
Another popular trail is the Mwanihana Peak Trail, which takes visitors up to the summit of the park’s highest peak, Lohomero. The trail is 18 km each way and takes about 2-3 days to complete. Hikers must be physically fit and well-prepared for this challenging trek.
Udzungwa Mountains National Park is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with over 400 species of birds recorded in the park. The park’s diverse habitats, including forest, grassland, and wetlands, provide a variety of niches for a wide range of bird species.
Some of the park’s notable bird species include the Udzungwa forest partridge, the Udzungwa akalat, and the Udzungwa forest robin. Visitors can also see a variety of birds of prey, including eagles, buzzards, and falcons.
Udzungwa Mountains National Park is surrounded by several rural communities, whose livelihoods depend on the park’s natural resources. The park has a community tourism program that aims to promote sustainable tourism while supporting the local communities.
Visitors to the park can participate in cultural tours, where they can learn about the local communities’ traditions and way of life. They can also visit local farms and participate in agricultural activities such as coffee farming and vegetable gardening.