The park is located in Tanzania. The park has been in existence for over 23 years. It’s located 60km south of Mikumi National Park, and it covers 1990skms, and it’s composed of tropical rain forest, miombo woodland, mountain forest, grassland, steppe, and making it part of the Eastern Arc mountains that possess a vertical height range of 250-2576m at Lohomero peak. The mountains have wonderful views of water falls that you will enjoy during a hike. To add on the above, the park has 400 bird species, 6 primate species, 3 endemic reptiles, 70 species of spiders, and 2500 plant species and wildlife. The park has the second largest biodiversity in Africa. A visit to this park exposes you to a number of activities, and you will be rewarded with an adventurous safari. In 2015 the park was rated as the 3rd best park to visit in Tanzania. Schedule to visit it and you won’t regret it.
How to access the park
The park can be accessed by road and railway transport.
Road transport– It’s better to use buses that depart from Dar es Salaam to Ifakara via Mang’ula. These leave Dar es Salaam between 6:30 am and 10am and also pass by Mikumi from 10:30am to 2pm. The charges are affordable. There also other means of transport in other towns to the park.
Railway transport– There train that depart from Dar es Salaam from 3am, and stop at Mang’ula, and from here it will take you 30 minutes to reach the park.
What to carry
Below are some of the must-haves once you visit this park. Items include: warm clothing, light clothing for the hot days, gloves, hiking boots or shoes, note book, drinking water, a guide book, hat, a pair of binoculars, snacks, sun glasses, sunscreen, insect repellent, a camera, and a backpack-water resistant, among others.
Things to do in the park
There many grounds where you will enjoy this activity and have a safari to remember in this park. You will hike on the mountain and have clear views of the falls at different peaks of the park. Guides will lead you on this activity and you will not only see water falls but, you will be exposed to almost every physical feature in the park.
The park has several spots to enjoy this activity. One of which, are places close to the falls. You can plan to lunch out with family or friends, as you enjoy wildlife, birds and the cool environment. Guides will locate you these places.
The park is a hoe to several primate species and if these creatures fascinate you, plan to visit this park and enjoy up-close views of Iringa red colobus, and Sanje crested Mangabey, yellow baboon, vervet monkey, black and white colobus monkey, among others. The activity may take an hour or more but you will have fun all the way. Along your trek, you will see other animals, birds among others.
The home of 400 bird species clearly exposes you to most of the unique birds on African continent. The park is a home to these beautiful creatures and during the wet season, migrant birds from the European continent pay a visit the park and this activity just gets better. Endeavor to carry your binoculars to have clear views.
Guided Nature walks
The park is one of a few that can be enjoyed or explored on foot. The landscape of the park doesn’t favor drives. With your guide you will tour the different corners of the park using the available trails. It has short and long trails. The most accessed trail will take you 4 hours and also expose you to the park’s vegetation, wildlife and birds in the area. You may choose to enjoy this activity for 2 or three days so that you access these trails to see more features.
A visit to at least two waterfalls in the park will be rewarding. It’s not common to have a park that has more than one waterfall. The beautiful falls will be unveiled to you during mountain climbing.
Below the falls lies clear natural water pools that you will want to enjoy under the sun which will be so refreshing after a hike.
This is the order of the day when it comes to accommodation in the park. There quite a number of them that lie along the mountain. They are well facilitates and provide warm tents and delicious meals. These include: Mikangazini Campsite, Simba, Njia Panda, Tembo and Mizimu Campsites, among others.
When to visit the Park
The park can visited any time of the year but the best time to visit is during the dry season, that is: from June to October.
Dry Season (June to October)
The weather during this season is sunny almost throughout, the grasslands in the park are short and trees aren’t so thick. The season favors primate trekking and other wild animals in the park can be see easily.
The trails in the park are passable during this season, also water activities are enjoyed too since the sun is out.
Hiking in the dry season is easier than in the wet season. The mountain is dry enough and during the night it’s not so cold.
It should be noted however that, weather can change any time. So visitors are advised to be equipped with rain coats.
Wet Season (November to May)
The season is composed of short, long and sometimes heavy rains.
Primates can be tracked and wildlife can be seen though not with ease or when it’s not raining and during January and February is when migratory birds visit the park.
Hiking is challenging, and trails in the park sometimes are impassable.
The park barely gets crowded for it receives few visitors.
The park has many waterfalls that you will see once you visit and take a hike but the most pleasant is Sanje. It lies at the highest peak of the mountain. At Luhombero peak lies these breathtaking waterfalls. Below them there’s a collection of clear water from the falls, where you can take a swim. You may also take a moment to enjoy the environment as you listen to the wind.
The highlight of the area are these mountains. You will enjoy hiking and the adventure on these grounds. The mountain is easy to climb even for first timers. On the top of the highest peak, you will be amazed with clear views of the surroundings. At 2576m lies Luhombero peak, which will reward you with a great scenery of vegetation, forests, wildlife, birds, among others.
The beautiful park is a home for a number of birds which include; Eastern arc, Rupells’s vultures, Rufous winged sunbird, malachite kingfisher, trumpeter hornbill, crowned eagle, woodland kingfishers, crowned eagles, Udzungwa partridge, silver cheeked hornbill, green headed Oriole, francolin, among others. These and more will be enjoyed in their favorite places, or during any activity in the park with the help of binoculars. The peak of this activity is in the wet season when migrant birds visit the park.
The park is a home for these unique creatures which include: Iringa red colobus, and Sanje crested Mangabey, yellow baboon, vervet monkey, black and white colobus monkey, among others. You will enjoy trekking these creatures and also have a moment to see their way of life. Guides will lead you in this activity which will grant you a wonderful experience.
Other animals in the park
The park has other wild animals that you will get to see. These include; wild dogs, leopards, lions, elephants, sable, bushbucks, eland, Abbot’s duiker, palm civets, rock hyrax, Kiplinger’s, honey badger, and miombo gents, among others. These will be seen during hiking, guided nature walks, or during bird watching. You will take photos or videos of them.
Mwanaluvele Salt Cave
These caves are located along the border of the park, northeastern side. The most pleasant thing once you visit these caves is that you will be rewarded with great views of birds, wild animals, plants, among others. You can visit them any time of the year except in the rainy that runs from March to June.
Accommodation within the park is only available for camping basis. There quite a number of them within the park and at different levels during mountain climbing. In Mang’ula village, close to the park, there budget local guest houses and other lodges which include;
Udzungwa Forest Lodge
Located on the slopes of Mountain Udzungwa. They have 40 en-suite rooms, double rooms, king size beds, triple rooms, 3 medium size beds, and rooms are air conditioned. They have a constant power supply, a swimming pool, a restaurant and bar.
Udzungwa Falls Lodge
It’s located in Msolwa Ujamaa Village. It comfortable place for vacation and perfect place for honeymooners.
Udzungwa Forest Tented Camp, found in Kilombero, close to the mountains.
Udzungwa Mountain View camp, this lies close to the mountain in Morogoro.