Tanzania Udzungwa National Park

Harbouring one of East Africa’s great forests, Udzungwa Mountain National Park has an area of 1990 sq. km, bordered by the Great Ruaha River to the north, with Mikumi National Park and Selous Game Reserve located further to the north and east. Protected as a national forest reserve until 1992 when it was commissioned as National Park, Udzungwa Mountains is undoubtedly one of the few true virgin and unique forested lands remaining in the world. The major attractions include its biologically diverse forest, harbouring some plant species found nowhere else in the world, from a tiny African violet to 30-metre high trees. Apart from the forest, which  acts  as  a  water  catchment  area  and  having  a  large  number  of  endemic  species  of  both  animals  and  plants,  the  park  has  spectacular  mountains  scenery,  grasslands,  rocks,  rivers  and  waterfalls.  One  of  the  most  interesting  sights  is  the  presence  of  two  indigenous  species  of  primates,  the  Iringa  red  colobus monkey and the Sanje Crested Mangabey, not known until 1979. Apart from  providing  habitat  to  about  six  species  of  primates,  its  plateau  contains  populations of elephants, buffalos, lions, leopards, African hunting dogs and several forest bird species. Walking safaris to the Sanje River waterfalls (170 metres) is one of the popular activities in this park.  Udzungwa Mountains can conveniently be combined with game drives in nearby Mikumi National Park, an hour’s drive to the north, or be included in the Ruaha National Park (4-5 hours’ drive) and Selous Game Reserve itineraries. The park can be visited throughout the year although it is a bit slippery during the wet rainy season. The dry season extends from June to October. The park has more than 400 species of butterflies.

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