Udzungwa Mountains National Park safaris, tours & holiday packagesA montane island rich in biodiversity
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A popular destination for hikers and birdwatchers, the Udzungwa Mountains are renowned for their lovely scenery and wealth of rare and endemic wildlife.
Partially protected since 1992 within a 1,990-square-kilometre national park, the Udzungwa Mountains are unique within East Africa for supporting an unbroken closed-canopy forest cover spanning 250 metres to more than 2,000 metres above sea level. The range is also the largest and most biodiverse in Tanzania's the Eastern Arc Mountains, an archipelago of ‘montane islands’ sometimes dubbed the African Galápagos as a result of its high level of endemism. The park is most easily explored on foot via a network of day trails that lead from the main gate to various pretty waterfalls.
On the way, you pass through lowland forest inhabited by two endemic monkey species (Udzungwa red colobus and Sanje crested mangabey) along with the bizarre chequered elephant shrew and various elusive small antelope species.
The hike to Sanje Waterfall is truly lovely, and we were delighted at how easy it was to find the Udzungwa red colobus monkey (which is actually grey and white with a bright orange fringe) and the lovely green-headed oriole (listen out for its repetitive four-note song).
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The Udzungwa Mountains are particularly alluring to birdwatchers, with more than 400 species recorded, including at least 25 species unique to the Tanzania–Malawi Endemic Bird Area. The forest around the entrance gate is a good place to look for green-headed oriole, various forest hornbills and other sought-after species.
For self-sufficient hikers, a guided three-day overnight trail leads from the entrance gate to the 2,150-metre Mwanihana Peak via the dense montane forest and grassland of the range’s higher slopes. Wildlife that may be encountered en route includes Abbott’s duiker, larger mammals such as buffalo and elephant, and a trio of birds endemic to Udzungwa, namely Iringa akalat, rufous-winged sunbird and Udzungwa forest partridge.
Udzungwa Mountains Map
Udzungwa Mountains's location on Google Maps