THE UDZUNGWA MOUNTAINS are a mountain range that are part of the Eastern Arc Mountains, and are located en route to the coastal region. Secretive and primeval, its forests seem positively enchanted and resemble something out of ‘the Hobit’ movie! Its sunshine, dappled glades are hidden by 30-metre (100 foot) high trees, layered with fungi, lichens, mosses and ferns.
It truly is a haven for hikers more interested in flora and fauna rather than climbing. It has the largest and most bio diverse chain of forests swathed mountains that majestically rise from the flat coastal scrub of Tanzania. Known collectively as the Eastern Arc Mountains, this archipelago of isolated ridges is a treasure-trove for endemic plants, over 400 species of birds, butterflies and shy forest animals including rare primates and antelope. It is a magnet for hikers with an excellent network of forest trails including the popular half-day trail to Sanje Waterfall, which plunges 170 metres (550 feet) through a misty spray into the forested valley below. A more challenging two-night Mwanihana trail leads to a high plateau, with its stunning panoramic views over the forest and the valleys below. Undoubtedly, this great forest has yet to reveal all its treasures as ongoing scientific exploration continues to reveal more within its diverse catalogue of endemics.
Please visit our page on the ‘Southern Circuit’ for more information.
GOMBE STREAM is the smallest of Tanzania’s national parks: a fragile strip of chimpanzee habitat straddling the steep slopes and river valleys that hem the sandy, northern shore of Lake Tanganyika in Western Tanzania. Its chimpanzees – habituated to human visitors – were made famous by the pioneering work of Dr. Jane Goodall, who in 1960 founded a behavioural research program that is the longest-running study of its kind in the world. The matriarch Fifi, is the only surviving member of the original chimpanzee community of chimpanzee when Dr. Goodall first set foot into Gombe. Fifi was only three-years old then, but after all these years, Fifi is still regularly seen in her natural habitat by visitors. In addition to Chimpanzee trekking and hiking you can swim and snorkel in the clear waters of Lake Tanganyika. Visit the site of Henry Stanley’s famous “Dr Livingstone I presume” at Ujiji near Kigoma, and watch genuine dhow builders at their craft.
THE MAHALE MOUNTAINS is similar to its northerly neighbour ‘Gombe Stream’ and is home to some of the Africa’s last remaining wild chimpanzees (with a population of roughly 900). They are habituated to human visitors by a Japanese research project that was founded in the 1960s. Tracking the chimps of Mahale is a magical experience.
Mahale is located in the Western Tanzania bordering Lake Tanganyika- the World’s longest, second deepest and least polluted freshwater lake, harbouring an estimated 1000 fish species. The dry season (May -October) is the best period to visit the chimps, as they are likely to be seen in big groups, however Mahale Mountains National Park is accessible all year round. The lake and the beach is also an inviting place to relax.
SAADANI is located in the centre of the historic coastal triangle of Bagamoyo, Pangani and Zanzibar. Its covers 1100km sq; is the only wildlife sanctuary in Tanzania bordering the sea and is commonly referred to as ‘the place where the Bush meets the Beach.’ The climate is coastal, hot and humid and it offers a unique combination of both marine and land flora & fauna in a culturally fascinating and diverse setting. About 30 species of larger mammals are present as well as numerous reptiles and birds. Besides many species of fish (over 40), green turtles, humpback whales and dolphins can be sighted off shore. The park is divided into three zones consisting of tall grass savanna with herbaceous cover (reaching up to 2m high and scattered palms), short grass grazing lands (mostly situated on former sisal plantations) and the black cotton plains (where the clay soil creates particularly harsh conditions). Wildlife includes most plains game including waterbuck, reedbuck, giraffe, hyena, warthog – as well as most of the cat family, including the king of the jungle right at the top of the chain.