The forests of Udzungwa seem positively enchanting. Sunshine-drapped glades enclosed by 100 feet high trees layered with fungi, lichens, mosses and ferns. Udzungwa is one of the most largest and biodiverse foresten caved by mountains that rise majestically from the flat coastal eastern Tanzania.
Also known as the Eastern Arc Mountains, this archipelago of isolated massifs has also been dubbed the African Galapagos. Its treasure-trove of plants and animals, most familiarly the delicate African violet flower. Udzungwa among many of the ancient ranges deserves national park status. It is also unique within Tanzania in that its closed-canopy forest spans altitudes of 250 meters (820 feet) to above 2,000 metres (6,560 ft) without interruption. Not a conventional game viewing destination, Udzungwa is a magnet for hikers.
More About Udzungwa Mountains National Park
Size: 1,990 sq km (770 sq miles).
Location: Five hours (350 km/215 miles) from Dar es Salaam; 65 kms (40 miles) southwest of Mikumi.
An excellent network of forest trails includes the popular half-day ramble to Sanje Waterfall. The waterfall plunges 170 meters (550 feet) through a misty spray into the forested valley below. The more challenging two-night Mwanihana Trail leads to the high plateau. With its panoramic views surrounding sugar plantations, before ascending to Mwanihana peak. The second-highest point in the range.
Ornithologists are attracted to Udzungwa for the wealth of knowledge from more than 400 species of birds. The lovely green-headed oriole to more than a dozen Eastern Arc hidden natural attractions. Four bird species are peculiar to Udzungwa, including a 'forest partridge' first discovered in 1991 and more closely related to an Asian genus than to any other African fowl.
Of six primate species recorded, the Iringa red colobus and Sanje Crested Mangabey both occur nowhere else in the world. The Sanje Crested Mangabey was remarkably, undetected by biologists prior to 1979.
Drive from Dar es Salaam or Mikumi National Park.
A two-hour hike to the waterfall from camping site. Nearby Mikumi or en route to Ruaha.
Possible year round although slippery in the rains. The dry season is June-October before the short rains but be prepared for rain anytime.