Udzungwa National Park
The tallest and most biologically diverse mountain range is Udzungwa, which rises magnificently from eastern Tanzania’s flat coastal scrub. It is made up of a chain of twelve enormous mountains covered in forest. These isolated massifs, collectively known as the Eastern Arc Mountains, have also been referred to as the African Galapagos because of their abundance of rare plants and animals, most notably the delicate African violet.
The dark, ancient forests of Udzungwa are genuinely enchanting; they are a lush haven of sun-dappled glades surrounded by trees that are 30 meters (100 feet) tall, with mushrooms, lichens, mosses, and ferns covering their buttresses.
Among the historic ranges of the Eastern Arc, Udzungwa is the only one to have received national park status. It is particularly exceptional among Tanzanian forests in that its closed-canopy forest extends uninterruptedly from an altitude of 250 meters (820 feet) to more than 2,000 meters (6,560 feet).
Udzungwa attracts hikers despite not being a typical place to see the game. The well-known half-day hike to Sanje Waterfall, which plunges 170 meters (550 feet) in a misty spray into the forested valley below, is part of an excellent network of forest paths.
Before climbing to Mwanihana peak, the second-highest point in the range, on the more difficult two-night Mwanihana Trail, you can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding sugar plantations from the high plateau.
More than 400 species of birds, including the beautiful and easily spotted green-headed oriole and more than a dozen elusive Eastern Arc endemics, are found in Udzungwa, attracting ornithologists.
The forest partridge, which was discovered for the first time in 1991 and is more closely linked to an Asian genus than any other African bird, is one of the four unique bird species of Udzungwa.
Of the six reported primate species, only the Sanje Crested Mangabey and the Iringa Red Colobus are found elsewhere in the world. The latter, astonishingly, was unknown to scientists until 1979.
Undoubtedly, this vast forest still holds many hidden gems; continuous scientific research will undoubtedly expand the list of various endemics it is home to.
What to do
from camping safaris to a two-hour stroll to the waterfall.Combined with Mikumi close or on the way to Ruaha.