Undzungwa mountains

09 -16 January 2021

The Udzungwa Mountains rise in central Tanzania. They also belong to the Eastern Arc, one of the oldest mountain ranges on the continent.

Twenty per-cent of this area is covered by the Udzungwa Mountains National Park, a 1,990 square kilometre site that seeks to preserve the local flora and fauna. With more than 2,500 species of plants, the vegetation is luxuriant. The level of endemism is exceptionally high. Animal and plant species, even vertebrates, are still regularly discovered. Of the dozen species of primates that live in the heart of the Udzungwa Mountains, five are endemic.

Our short exploration of the Udzungwas was done in two parts:

 

- In the national park itself where we stayed at the Twiga Hotel (owned by TANAPAS) located 1km from the national park headquarters. It is in this forest that we observed two endemic monkeys: Iringa's bay colobus and Sanje's crested mangabey.

Some details are available on the Tanzania National Parks website

 

- In Kilombero Forest Reserve where we camped for 3 days after a very exhausting but worthwhile climb. It was here that we had the great excitement of spotting the Usambara bush viper found by one of our guides, Lauben, who has a keen eye for spotting reptiles. We had a couple of short night walks around the camp which brought us some fabulous chameleons and frogs. The pictures speak for themselves.

We also looked for the Udzungwa Forest Partridge, discovered in 1991, which is one of the four endemic bird species of this region (out of the 300 or so that nest in this land) but we missed it. We would have had to walk and camp a few more days in other valleys to look for it, but time was really short. In addition, we had regular rains in all the mountain rainforests, which further reduced our observation opportunities.

Some details are available on the Tanzania Forest Service Agency (TFS) website

 

The other visited regions:

 

Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater (savannah and large mammals)

Mkomazi National Park (north-east, large wildlife and birds)

Usambaras Mountains (Magamba reserve, Amani forest) and Uluguru Mountains

Mikumi National Park (large mammals in an extraordianary park...)