Udzungwa is the largest and most biodiverse chain of unique mountains that rise majestically from the flat coastal scrublands of eastern Tanzania. Known collectively as the Eastern Arc Mountains, this archipelago of isolated ridges has also been dubbed the African Galapagos for its treasure-trove of endemic plants and animals.

Udzungwa alone (amongst the ancient ranges of Tanzania’s Eastern Arc) has been given national park status. It is also unique within Tanzania in that its closed-canopy forest spans altitudes of 250 metres (820 feet) to above 2,000 metres (6,560 ft) without interruption.

It is not a conventional game-viewing destination but a magnet for hikers. Its excellent network of forest trails includes the popular half-day ramble to Sanje Waterfall, which plunges 170 metres (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 over surrounding sugar plantations, before ascending once more up to ‘Mwanihana peak’ – the second-highest point in this range.

It is a haven for ornithologists with over 400 species recorded. Four species only found in Udzungwa include the forest partridge bird and six primate species including the Iringa red colobus and Sanje Crested Mangabey (found nowhere else in the world). Without doubt this incredibly beautiful mountain forest has many treasures yet to reveal!

About Udzungwa Mountain

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.

Getting there

Drive from Dar es Salaam or Mikumi National Park.

What to do

Enjoy the two-hour hike up to the waterfall.

Take up the challenge of exhilerating, two-night Mwanihana Trail

Combine a visit with nearby Mikumi or Ruaha.

When to go

It is very slippery during the rains.

The dry season is between June-October. Be prepared for short rains anytime in this tropical forrest terrain.

Accommodation

You can camp inside the park (bring all your food and supplies). Take nothing and leave with everything you brought.

Two modest but comfortable Bush Home lodges are available.