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UDZUNGWA NATIONAL PARK

UDZUNGWA NATIONAL PARK

Udzungwa national park Covering up to 1990 sq km Udzungwa National Park contains the greatest altitudinal range of forests in East Africa. The national park is the only place in East Africa with unbroken forest cover from lowland forest communities at below 250m above sea level. Udzungwa national park is bordered by the Great Ruaha River to the north, Mikumi National Park and Selous Game Reserve located further to the north and east.

Brooding and primeval, the forests of Udzungwa seem positively enchanted: a verdant refuge of sunshine-dappled glades enclosed by 30-metre (100 foot) high trees, their buttresses layered with fungi, lichens, mosses and ferns. Udzungwa alone among the ancient ranges of the Eastern Arc has been accorded the national park status. It is also unique within Tanzania in that its closed-canopy forest spans altitudes of 250 metres (820 feet) to above 2,000 metres (6,560 ft) without interruption. Although not a conventional game viewing destination, Udzungwa is a magnet for hikers. 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. The more challenging two-night Mwanihana Trail leads to the high plateau, with its panoramic views over the surrounding sugar plantations, before ascending to Mwanihana peak, the second-highest point in the range. 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 the forest partridge, first discovered in 1991 and more closely related to an Asian genus than to any other African fowl. Of six primate species recorded, the Iringa red colobus and Sanje Crested Mangabey both occur nowhere else in the world – the latter, remarkably, remained undetected by biologists prior to 1979. Undoubtedly, this great forest has yet to reveal all its treasures: ongoing scientific exploration will surely add to its diverse catalogue of endemics. Location: Five hours (350 km/215 miles) from Dar es Salaam; 65 kms (40 miles) southwest of Mikumi. Getting there Drive from Dar es Salaam or Mikumi National Park. What to do From a two-hour hike to the waterfall as well as camping safaris. Combine with nearby Mikumi or en route to Ruaha. Accommodation Camping inside the park. Bring all food and supplies. Two modest but comfortable lodges with en-suite rooms within 1km of the park entrance.

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