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7 Top Reasons To Visit Udzungwa Mountains National Park In Tanzania.
These are the 7 Top reasons to visit Udzungwa Mountains National Park in Tanzania. Over 400 animal species can be found in this large area of pristine nature. Among them are the elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, African wild dog, six distinct primate species, and a wide range of birdlife.
Tropical rainforest, mountain forest, miombo woodland, grassland, and steppe are just a few of the various natural habitats found in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park.
Udzugwa mountains national park is the largest national park in Tanzania forming par of the eastern Arc mountain with a wildlife sanctuary that is located in central Tanzania between Iringa and Morogoro regions .
Udzungwa is 60km south of Mikumi national park along the Mikumi Ifakara road. The park was declared a national park in 1992 by prince Bernhard of Netherlands whose the founder of world wide fund and it covers a total area of 1,990 square kilometers which is comprised of vegetation types such as tropical rainforest, Miombo woodland, grassland and mountain forest which act as habitats for wildlife animals like elephants, bushbucks, Miombo genets, hyenas, palm civets, leopards, duikers, six primates, over 400 bird species, 2500 plant species .
Udzugwa mountains national park was named after Wasungwa a Kihehe word which means the people who live on the sides of the mountains.
These are 7 Top reasons to visit Udzungwa Mountains National Park
1. Wildlife In Udzungwa National Park
Udzungwa mountains national park is a well known wildlife sanctuary as it harbors abundant wildlife species including animals like elephants, hunting dogs, leopards, duikers, buffaloes, bushbucks, six primate species like Iringa red colobus and Sanje mangabey which are endemic to only Udzungwa mountains national park.
2. Bird watching
Udzungwa mountains national park is bird watching destinations in Tanzania that harbors over 400 bird species that include forest, water and endemic species. Bird watching can be carried out early in the morning or evening with an experienced birder who will help you to spot different bird species such as, living stones turaco, rufous winged sunbird, African marabou, living stones flycatcher, palm nut vulture, trumpeter hornbill, green backed woodpecker, crowned eagle, kilombero weaver, white tailed cisticola, uluguru violet backed sunbird, Retz’s helmet shrike, black and white shrike flycatcher, grey cuckoo shrike, fork tailed drongo, among others.
The major activities in Udzungwa mountains national park is mountain hiking because there are no roads for game drives. Hiking starts with a briefing at the park headquarters where after you will be allocated an armed park ranger to protect you from any danger and to show you the various trails to use. There are a number of hiking trails in the park ranging from short 20 minutes strolls to 5 days hiking trails to Lumemo trail, the most popular is the Sonje waterfalls trail which takes about 4 hours and allows you to view the stunning 170m waterfall, views of monkeys and participate in swimming in the waterfall plunge pools.
4. Sonjo Waterfall Trail
This is trail for the less keen hikers because the trail is short and the path is not steep. Hiking to Sonjo waterfall takes about 35minutes passing through pristine rainforest to the second falls and while hiking you will have views of some bird species like African marabou, living stones flycatcher, palm nut vulture, trumpeter hornbill, green backed woodpecker, crowned eagle, kilombero weaver, primates, plant species among others.
5. Prince Bernhard’s Waterfall
The waterfall in the park was named after prince Bernhard of Netherlands, at his 84 years of age, he opened Udzungwa mountains national park therefore he was unable to ascend to Sanje waterfalls so he hiked the short distance trail that is 500m from the park headquarters. Touring the park gives one magnificent view of Tanzanian natural beauty.
6. Walking Safaris To The Sanje River Waterfalls
This is another popular activity in this park. Udzungwa Mountains can conveniently be combined with game drives in nearby Mikumi National Park, an hour’s drive to the north, or be included in the Ruaha National Park (4-5 hours drive) and Selous Game Reserve itineraries. The park can be visited throughout the year although it is a bit slippery during the wet rainy season. The dry season extends from June to October.
Udzungwa mountains national park is one of the best destinations in Tanzania that offer the exciting cycling activity making it able to explore the part by a bicycle. The activity starts with a briefing at the park headquarters where you will be allocated an experienced park guide who is well conversant with wildlife in the park and routes to follow.
During the cycling activity one is able to view beautiful scenery, view wildlife species like elephants, duikers, bushbucks, colorful bird species, get to know African lifestyle where you will see and interact with the local people, their schools, markets, farmlands, visit rubber and sugarcane plantations among others which give you lifetime memories. Bicycles for cycling can be rented from Udzungwa forest camp or Hondo Hondo.
How To Get To Udzungwa Mountains National Park
Road transport, one can use this mean to travel to the park either privately or public ways to ach there. A drive from Dar es Salaam through Chalinze, Morongoro, Mikumi national park and Mikumi town to the park headquarters which takes about 4 hours drive.
Air transport, Udzungwa national park can also be accessed by air transport means where you will book scheduled or charter flights from Dar es Salaam or Zanzibar to Udzungwa or Kilombero. You can also fly from Dar es Salaam to Mikumi airport and then drive to Udzungwa national park.
Train, Udzungwa national park can as well be accessed by train whereby the TAZARA railway departs on Tuesdays and Fridays from Dar es Salaam to Zambia. The journey from Dar es Salaam to the park headquarters takes about 6 to 7 hours drive through Selous game reserve.
Where To Stay On During Your Safari In Udzungwa Mountains National Park
There are a number of accommodations in Udzungwa mountains national park where you can stay during your safari. The accommodations range from luxury, midrange and budget including Hondo Hondo Udzungwa Forest tented camp, Udzungwa Forest tented camp, Udzungwa Falls lodge, Udzungwa Mountain View camp among others.
i) Budget Accommodation;
ii) Mid range Accommodation;
iii) Luxury accommodation
When To Visit Udzungwa Mountains National kPar
It can be visited all year round through the best period is during the dry season in the months of June to October because during this period there is less rainfall in the forest which means that walking trails will be dry and passable compared to the wet season when the trails are muddy and slippery.
In summary, Tanzania‘s Udzungwa Mountains National Park is a remarkable and fascinating natural environment with a variety of wildlife.
For more information about Udzungwa Mountains National Park, contact Kubwa Five Safaris as your tour operator. A tour to Udzungwa Mountains National Park can be combined with a game drive in Mikumi National Park, Ruaha National Park, or Selous Game Reserve where you will be able to see a variety of wild animals.
Frequent Asked Questions
a) Do you need to book in advance to visit Udzungwa Mountains National Park?
b) What is the best way to see Udzungwa Mountains National Park?
c) How much is the entrance fee to Udzungwa Mountains National Park?
d) What animals will visitors see?