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Tanzania National Parks >> Udzungwa National Park

Known for its mountainous terrain, Udzungwa Mountains National Park is one of Tanzania’s most outstanding, pristine, paradise and unique exciting wilderness mountains forested with greatest altitudinal range of forest.
The Udzungwa Mountain National Park, which is 1990 square kilometers, is the first terrestrial national park in Tanzania. It is well known for its biologically diverse forest with approximately 20 - 30% out of 200 animals and plant species that grow here not found anywhere in the world. Still it is really beautiful place for hiking.
Udzungwa is the largest and most biodiverse of a chain of a dozen large forest-swathed mountains that rise majestically from the flat coastal scrub of eastern Tanzania. Known collectively as the Eastern Arc Mountains, this archipelago of isolated massifs has also been dubbed the African Galapagos for its treasure-trove of endemic plants and animals, most familiarly the delicate African violet.
The Mountains are located in the Southern Central part of Tanzania (Mang’ula in Morogoro region. rising abruptly from Kilombero Plain extend towards Iringa region.  Udzungwa mountains are covered with dense forest, which supported by the heavy rainfalls

Tanzania -Udzungwa Mountains NP Wildlife Tour Attractions:
The park is home of primate and known from the treasure of high biodiversity of plants and animals. Variety of animal species can be found here, including water buffalo, elephants, leopards and full of reptiles such as chameleon and snakes. Other animals include rare primates red colobus, Sanje crested mangabey monkeys, black and yellow baboon, which live in slopes of mountain all sharing the same habitation. Udzungwa National Park is now one of the top ten forests for bird conservation in Africa.

The park has high density of endemism species with some plants and animals that are only found in these mountains nowhere else in the world can be found hence center for endemism in the eastern arc mountains.
A new species of primate, the highland mangabey (Lophocebus kipunji), has been discovered by two separate teams of researchers in Tanzania. One team discovered the new species in the Ndundulu Forest in the Udzungwa Mountains of Tanzania. A second team identified the species at a site in the Southern Highlands, located about 350km (217mi) southwest of Ndundulu Forest (Williams, 2005). The highland mangabey is a mediu. Ornithologists are attracted to Udzungwa for an avian wealth embracing more than 400 species, from the lovely and readily-located green-headed oriole to more than a dozen secretive Eastern Arc endemics. Four bird species are peculiar to Udzungwa, including a forest partridge first discovered in 1991 and more closely related to an Asian genus than to any other African fowl.

How to Get there:
Drive to Marogora and through Mikumi National Park to Ifakera. The road from Mikumi is undulating, corrugated and slow. Budget travellers can take a bus or dalla-dalla to Mikumi and a minibus to Mang'ula. The ordinary Tanzara train stops at Mang'ula, a 30-minute walk from the park entrance.

Hiking: With no roads entering Udzungwa National Park it is a paradise for hikers and backpackers alike. Numerous breath-taking day-hikes can be organized along with multiple day excursions into the dense rain forest or onto the high plateau. An 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.

Game viewing: Udzungwa National Park supports a diverse, large mammal community including elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, African wild dog, eland, waterbuck and sable.

Bird watching:Udzungwa has the richest forest bird habitat in Tanzania. Several endemics have just been discovered recently (including a new species of francolin and the Rufus-winged sun bird). Ideal for ornithologists and enthusiasts alike, the birding trip to Udzungwa involves a walk beneath the canopy of primary rainforest, with the chance to see the abundant endemics, climbing steadily up the mountain, across cascading streams to emerge the top of the Sanje waterfalls to breathtaking views over the rift valley.

Cultural Tours: The Park has Cultural and Historical sites such as Bokela (mountain God), Mwanaruvele cave, Magombereka cave, Nyumbanitu and Ndundulu mountains.

When to Visit:
The park can be visited possible year round although slippery in the rains.
The dry season is June-October before the short rains but be prepared for rain anytime.

Camps and lodges:
Several campsites have been established inside the park some near to the Park headquarter and other along the trails. Nearby Twiga Guest House and Udzungwa Mountain View Hotel offer budget facilities

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