Udzungwa Mountains National Park
After a long(!) six-hour drive from Dar es Salaam to Mikumi and after passing through two National Parks, Chalinze and Morogoro, where wild animals such as giraffes, monkeys, elephants and wild boars were spotted casually walking along the banks of the road, we reached the Udzungwa National Park.
The Udungwa Mountains, part of the Eastern Arc Mountains, are often referred to as the “Galapagos Islands of Africa” due to their wet climate and remarkable biodiversity. In the 1990 sq. km of the national park, one can find over 30% of Tanzania’s wildlife; the Udzungwa Mountains National Park is actually one of thirty-four “World Biodiversity Hotspots” and hosts many rare and endangered species such as the Red Colobus of Iringa, along with many other endemic creatures that will gracefully pose to your camera! Moreover, this unique African ‘tropical’ rainforest exhibits a unique flora and fauna; the extraordinary African violets definitely stand out!
Sanje Waterfall Trail
After filling in some forms (African bureaucracy! 🙂 ) we met with a park ranger along with two locals, who were responsible for helping us set up of our tent, and prepare our meals, and started hiking up the Sanje Water fall trail. It is a trail of medium difficulty (7km) and steepness, though some hiking experience is required. There are some viewpoints where you can sit and have a rest on your way up or simply enjoy the pristine nature around you.
After 4 hours of hiking, we reached the top of the 200m Sanje Waterfall. The view of the Kilombero Valley below us of us was spectacular!
The Sanje Waterfall was also very impressive, as the water dropped down from a large height. We got a chance to explore the area and really enjoy the tranquility and the sound of the water that hurled down the slope. Unfortunately, we did not swim in the plunge pools as it was getting dark and the fresh water was freezing cold to say the least.
We had an armed park ranger with us, as at night, elephants go down the mountain and into the valley to munch on sugar canes and buffalos go for their nighttime drink.
Dinner was prepared by our guides, using locally sourced vegetables and products. We ate around the campfire, as the locals shared their stories of the mountain.
It is funny to note that the toilet up in the mountain consists of a wooden cabinet and a hole dug in the mud, located in the middle of the forest; at night, walking till there was really scary! To make things worse, there was some type of rodent sneakily knocking on the trees all night that kept us up for a while. In the morning, we got our revenge: it was their time to go sleep and our turn to wake them up by knocking on the tree barks J. In the morning, after breakfast, which was again prepared for us in the campsite and was delicious, we started to descend to the park.
- For your best experience let Wild Things Safaris http://www.wildthingsafaris.com arrange your hike and stay up to Udzungwa- Lynette was very helpful with arranging everything for us. Thank you Lynette!
- Have with you water for the hike and maybe some snacks (we had banana and biscuits)
- Hiking shoes and long sleeves at night-time as it gets chilly
- Camera is a must!
- Try not to take with you lots of bags/things; it will make your life much easier