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Udzungwa National Park

Udzungwa Mountains National Park is one of Tanzania’s newest National Parks, recently gazette in 1992. The Udzungwa Mountains are the highest mountains in the Eastern Arc mountain range (a range of forest-clad mountains which stretches from Southern Kenya to South Tanzania, known as the ‘Galapogos of Africa’ due to the high degree of endemism). The Eastern Arc makes up just 2% of the land area in Tanzania and has around 40% of the plant and animal species. This is a place of beautiful forests and clear, sparkling streams where only walking is allowed.

The Udzungwa Mountains are the largest block of the Eastern Arc with the range taking up over 10,000 square kilometers. About 3000 of these make up the national park. The Udzungwa reach a maximum altitude of 2,576m at Luhomero Peak.The Udzungwa has the highest level of endemism in the Eastern Arc making it a Biodiversity Hotspot. It is possible to see up to 4 endemic species in just one day if you know where to look.The eastern escarpment of the Udzungwa supports sub-montane forest with a canopy reaching over 50m in places. Heading west the elevation decreases, where there are arid conditions in the rain shadow of the mountains. The boundary on the northern side of the Park is the Great Ruaha River.

Udzungwa is described as a “Primate Park” due to the ten species of primate living in it’s pristine forests. Four of the species are endemic including the Sanje Crested Mangabey and the Iringa Red Colobus. Quiet hikers are most likely to see the black and white Colobus Monkeys Iringa Red Colobus and Sykes’ Monkey.The park is also a favourite amongst bird-watchers, with over 400 recorded species. See our Specialist Itineraries – Bird Watching, for more information.

A short hike of about 2 hours (slightly steep in places) into the forest takes you to Sanje Falls, which is in fact a series of waterfalls that plunge over 300m in three seperate stages. The largest section, with a drop of 180m can be seen from the road below, and it is at the top you will find one of our favorite campsites. Here you will be rewarded with breathtaking views across Kilombero Valley and if you decide to stay the night you will be treated to a spectacular sunrise breakfast. Explore the pristine forest and take a refreshing swim in one of the many plunge pools. Have a scenic lunch on top of the falls and visit the endemic African Violets, clinging to rocks next to one of the waterfalls.

For the keen hiker, Mwanihana peak at 2150m is one of the highest peaks in the Eastern Arc. The 38km hike takes 3 days, 2 nights at a leisurely pace, although for the very fit it can be completed in 2 days. For those who want to make the most of the hike we recommend that you take your time as the trail passes through Miombo woodland, low-land forest, sub-montane forest, highland plateau and pristine montane forest. Just before the bare rock and grass of the summit eerie glades of bamboo rustle in the wind. This is, in terms of habitat and associated wildlife, a very diverse journey. Much of the trek is alongside sparkling mountain streams with butterflies dancing through the dappled forest light. This is also the most successful route for spotting the elusive Sanje Mangabey. Although rarely encountered there are also elephant and buffalo up on the plateau so your trek will be accompanied by an armed ranger.

UDZUNGWA MOUNTAINS TRAIL

Trekking Udzungwa Mountains is an easily practice that will lead you from Mangula  through Mwanihana trail and Sanje trail, enjoying Sanje waterfalls, butter flies  crested mangabey and Iringa red colobus, on your way overlooking Kilombero valley.

Udzungwa Mwanihana Trail

Day 1: Dar es salaam –  Mangula
Our Safari driver guide will pick you up from your Dar es Salaam hotel in the morning after breakfast and drive you to Mangula. The drive will take you around 6 hours. Spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing at the campsite or have a village tour. Dinner and overnight at Hondo campsite or Hondo mud hut bandas.

Day 2: Mangula – Sanje waterfall
In the morning after breakfast, walk to the park Headquarters. After briefing, transfer to the start of the Sanje Trail. Hike into the pristine Eastern Arc forest looking for endemic primates including the Sanje Crested Mangabey and the Iringa red Colobus. Arrive at the top of the 180m Sanje waterfall. Have the opportunity to relax at idyllic plunge pools and see endemic African violets growing in the spray zones. Enjoy a spectacular lunch; overlooking the Kilombero Valley, descend in the afternoon looking for primates and transfer to Hondo Campsite Hondo mud hut bandas for dinner and overnight.

Day 3: Sanje waterfall – Mwanihana trail
After breakfast you will transfer to the village of Sonjo and begin the Mwanihana trek. An armed park ranger will accompany you because there are numerous elephant and buffalo in the area. As you trek, study the tracks and signs in the forest and various medicinal plants. Reach Njia Ya Panda (the ‘climbing path’). Check into the Campsite where you will have dinner and overnight.

Day 4: Udzungwa Mountains – Back to the gate.
Early breakfast, trek through the changing forest until you reach the summit of Mwanihana. Encounter true montane vegetation amongst the Giant Ericas. Below you will view a spider’s web of elephant trails crisscrossing the park. Descend and trek through the forest until you reach your camp for the night.

Accommodations in Udzungwa

  • Udzungwa Mountain View
  • Udzungwa Mangabay Guest
  • Hondo Hondo Forest Lodge
  • Twiga Lodge Udzungwa

Special Interests

  • Chimpanzees Trips
  • Balloon Safaris
  • Honey Moon Safaris
  • Horse Riding
  • Gorillas/Chimps Treks
  • Fishing
  • Sailing
  • Bird Watching
  • Cultural

Indian Islands

  • Zanzibar Island
  • Mafia Island
  • Pemba Island
  • Coat Regions
  • Dar es salaam
  • Bagamoyo
  • Tanga
  • Kilwa
  • Kigamboni
  • Mikindani