Udzungwa Mountains In Southern Tanzania
GENERAL INFORMATION: This park is a National Park without roads. After arrival the visitors must get out of the safari vehicles and walk. This is a National Park with a difference and is best visited in the dry season; as the paths and trails in the mountains become quite slippery in the wet season and crossing the swollen mountain rivers can become dangerous. It is required to take a guide and or an armed ranger on the hikes. A guide come ranger will cost US$ 10 per group per day.
There are many trails to suit different abilities, from several half day trails to longer more demanding hikes taking several days. There are no lodges in this park and camping is the only option. The sites are basic and it is essential to bring your own camping equipment; or alternatively hire it or use a tour operator that will provide the equipment.
PARK REGULATIONS: Leave only footprints and take only photographs. There is no hunting allowed in this park and plant samples are not allowed to be removed. In Tanzania vehicles must keep to the roads in the parks, and similarly hikers in this park must keep to the trails. This is strictly enforced so don?t be tempted to leave the paths. Camp fires are also not allowed. As with the other National Parks in Tanzania visitors must leave by 7 pm; campers must be in the campsites by this time or make arrangements with the Park Warden. The park encourages, wherever possible, for visitors to support the local community.
ACCESS TO THE PARK: Driving south west from Dar es Salaam takes about six hours to reach the park gate. Turn south off the main Dar / Iringa Road at Mikumi town and follow the signs to Ifakara and U.M.N.P. Crossing the Ruaha River the tar road becomes a gravel road, continue for 24 km and at Mang?ula the Headquarters of Udzungwa are signposted on the right. The park is also accessible by private charter flights from Dar es Salaam, train and a regular bus service.
BIODIVERSITY: The park protects 2500 plant species and 160 of these are used locally as medical plants. There are over 300 animal?s species including 18 vertebrates only found in the Eastern Arc range of mountains. If you are lucky you will be able to spot the recently discovered Sanje Mangabey and the Iringa Red Colobus high in the tropical rainforest.
The park has a rich social and cultural history which is possible for visitors to explore; including the abandoned Mbatwa Village and the Mwanaluvele Salt Caves. These sites demonstrate the shifting patterns of human settlement in the North West area of the park.
About the Author: For more information about the Udzungwa Mountains see http://www.betheladventure.co.uk Bethel Adventures uses tourism to improve the lives of the poorest communities in Tanzania. Using tourism to improve lives.