Udzungwa Mountains National Park, Ecological Hotspot
Udzungwa Mountains National Park has a total area of 2,000km². It contains the greatest altitudinal range of forests in East Africa – the eastern escarpment is the only place in East Africa with unbroken forest cover from lowland forest communities at below 250m above sea level, through intermediate types, to mountain communities at over 2,800m. Because of such a wide range in altitude and habitat types, Udzungwa National Park has one of the highest numbers of species endemism worldwide. Udzungwa National Park is located 65 km south of Mikumi National Park.
With no roads entering Udzungwa National Park it is a paradise for hikers and backpackers alike. Numerous breathtaking day-hikes can be organized along with multiple day excursions into the dense rain forest or onto the high plateau. One beautiful trek is up to the Sanje River Waterfall, which plunges for 170 meters through the forest to the valley below. The view from the top is magnificent!
Udzungwa National Park supports a diverse, large mammal community including elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards, African wild dogs, elands, waterbucks and sable. Six species of primates are found here and two are endemic, the Iringa (Uhehe) Red Colobus monkey, and the Sanje Crested Mangabey, which was discovered in 1979. There is also a rich small bovid community including good numbers of Red, Blue and Abbots duikers, and bushbuck.
Udzungwa has the richest forest bird habitat in Tanzania. Several endemics have just been discovered recently (including a new species of Francolin and the Rufus-winged Sunbird). The dry season occurs from June to October, when it is best to visit. During the rainy season from March to May visits are not recommended.
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