Udzungwa Mountains national park
Udzungwa Mountains national park is Tanzania’s one of the most kept gems you can include while on a tour to the country. The park is located south of Mikumi national park covering an area of 1,990 kilometers squared. The park is also renowned for having the best altitudinal range of forests in East Africa endowed with various species of mammals, primate species some of which are endemic only to the park, over 2,500 plant species, and over 400 species of birds as well as numerous species of endemism worldwide. The park’s highest peak is Luhomero with more than 8,450 feet above sea level. You should consider visiting it on your safaris to Tanzania.
Udzungwa national park is also known as the Galapagos of Africa, the park is beautified with mountain ranges dotted with Savannah vegetation, mountain forests, tropical forests, steppe, miombo woodlands, and rainforests making it part of Eastern arc mountains the Udzungwa mountains provide spectacular views and the waterfalls are magical places to relax from while hiking. The area was declared as a national park by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands in 1992 shortly after his Tanzania holiday.
Udzungwa national park derived its name from the word “ Wadsungwa” meaning people living on the mountainsides in the Kihehe language this is the name of one of the tribes living at the slopes of the mountains, the park is an ideal place for hikers as there are no roads within but enjoy the hiking trails and come close to nature. Udzungwa mountains national park has also been recognized by Worldwide fund at an ecoregion with global critical importance. Recently a new species of snakes said to be endemic to the park was found. The vegetation cover is predominant from low to high altitude
There are quite a lot of tourist’s activities visitors can engage in while at Udzungwa mountains national park some of the activities can be seen below
Udzungwa national park is one of Tanzania’s birders paradise gifted with over 400 species of birds which can easily be seen during hiking or walks some of the birds that are endemic to this are like Udzungwa partridge, Eastern arc and Rufous-winged sunbird other birds are malachite kingfishers, woodland kingfishers, Rupells vultures, crowned eagles, marabous, trumpeter hornbills, silver cheeked hornbill, francolin, green-headed Oriole,
For tourists who love to do hiking, Udzungwa is one of the best places to enjoy this activity. The hiking trails will give you a thrilling experience as you come across many plant species, birds, butterflies, primates, and other wildlife. Full and half-day excursion can be organized depending on the park’s Management, one of the memorable things you will live to remember is breath taking sceneries the mountains provide and also great photo opportunities. The hiking trails can lead you to the magnificent waterfalls or to the plateau on top
The Wadzungwa people are very rich in culture and have lived on the mountain slopes for several years, tourists who love cultural tours can visit the people and lean about their way of life and also acquire many gifts to take back home from the locally made crafts from the village shops, they also use numerous plant species within the park for healing several diseases.
Taking a guided nature walk will also make your safari complete tourists can walk through the forests to the waterfalls and enjoy nature at it’s best while embracing the cool breeze of the forest canopy this will also expose tourists to birds, wildlife, primates, butterflies and plant species.
Udzungwa Mountains National Park is located 60 kilometers south of Mikumi national park, there are various numbers of animals that can be seen while here some of the animals to expect are; eland, waterbucks, wild dog, lions, leopards, sable, elephants, bushbuck, Abbot’s, duikers, Kiplinger’s, honey badgers, rock hyrax, palm civets, hyenas and miombo genets to mention a few the park also boats with primates like the yellow baboon, vervet monkey, blue monkey, white colobus monkey, black colobus monkey to mention a few other primates endemic to this area are the SanjeMangebay, Iringa red colobus, matandu dwarf galago, mountain dwarf galago and rungwecebus kipunji.
One of the coolest ways to end a nature-guided walk or hike is by swimming in the waterfall pools they are so refreshing with clean natural water. One of the most incredible waterfalls is Sanje waterfall it’s also the highest in Tanzania’s national park system.
The best time of the year to visit the park is during dry seasons June to October for more clear wildlife views there is a proper accommodation unit at the park where you can sleep or opt for camping.
The park can be accessed by car or air. Tourists can make their safari complement by using the Tazara railway which passed through Selous game reserve and have a chance of viewing wildlife though it’s slow it requires patience. The drive from Dar-es-salaam will take about 4 hours covering a distance of 360 kilometers.