One of Tanzania’s national parks, Udzungwa Mountains National Park, is situated in the country’s southern region. The park’s 1,990 square kilometers of terrain are made up primarily of Miombo woodlands, rainforests, and a vast array of mountains. Udzungwa Mountain, the park’s biggest and tallest mountain, gave the area its name. Luhomero, the mountain’s tallest peak, has a height of 2,576 meters.

The Eastern Arc Mountains encompass the mountains. The local Kihehe word “Wadzungwa,” which means “the people who leave along the side of the mountains,” was used to give the park or mountains their name. Since the indigenous populations have never harmed the trees or mountains, they have maintained their biodiversity for many years with little to no change.

The Dutch foundation known as WWF developed and officially opened Udzungwa Mountains National in 1992. The five forest reserves that were created in the early 1950s were the primary reason for gazetteing the park. The park was created in order to preserve its rich range of monkeys and uncommon plant species. Six primate species, including the Iringa red colobus monkey, the crested mangabey monkey, and many others, have been identified in the park and are unique to the Udzungwa Mountains National Park. The Udzungwa Mountains National Park is one of the 34 “Globe Biodiversity Hotspot” parks in the world.

It ranks among the top 200 ecoregions of critical global importance, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature. The great variety of mountains, several types of forest canopy, and the water falls are the park’s main draws. Hikers have a wonderful trekking experience at the summits of Luhomero and Mwanihana, and birders can see a greater variety of birds flying across various canopies. Five forest reserves—Nyanganje Forest Reserve, Iwonde Forest Reserve, Matundu Forest Reserve, West Kilombero Scarp Forest Reserve, and Mwanihana Forest Reserve—combined to form the park. These forest reserves have been around for more than 30 million years, and they are connected to the Congo Forest Basin.


The park is situated alongside the Eastern Arc Mountains, which run from Taita Hills in southern Kenya to the Makambako Gap in southern Tanzania. The hills have occasionally been referred to as “Africa’s Galapagos Islands.” This is a result of the region’s enormous variety and abundance of indigenous plant and animal species. Between 30 and 40 percent of Tanzania’s indigenous plant and animal species can be found in this park.

Udzungwa Mountains National Park
Sanje falls

The park is split between the Kilombero and Kilolo districts, with a small portion (around 20%) in each. Kilolo is where the park is located in its entirety. Several national parks, including Mikumi in the northeast, Ruaha in the north, and Ruipa in the southwest, encircle it.

It is accessible from both Mikumi, the closest and largest town to the park, as well as the former Tanzania capital city-Dar es salaam. The distance is approximately 350 kilometers, or 215 miles, from Dar es Salaam. It is only 65 kilometers to the southwest of Mikumi town if one is already there. 


The park is in one of Tanzania’s regions with the greatest annual rainfall totals. The longest early rains, which last from March to May and even into November, bring the most rain. The park’s yearly rainfall can exceed 2000 mm, particularly in the east, whereas it can only reach 600 mm in the west. The dry seasons last longer, beginning each year in June and lasting through October and eventually into February. It is advised that the best time for visitors to visit the park is during this dry season. But anyone can go to the park throughout the year.


The stunning Udzungwa Mountains National Park is endowed with numerous tourist attractions. After a lengthy trip through Africa and crowded national parks, this is an excellent location to unwind and breathe some cold, fresh air. The park is a popular tourist destination in Tanzania that shouldn’t be missed because of its distinctive landscapes, which are shaped by the enormous ridges of the Eastern Arc Mountains. Here are some of Udzungwa Mountains National Park’s highlights:


The distinctive waterfalls, which provide visitors with the best visual and sightseeing experience, are the national pride of the Udzungwa Mountains. The highest waterfall in Tanzania is the Sanje Waterfall, which is located in the center of the park. The waterfall is made up of three distinct breaks, or phases. Depending on the traveler’s level of physical fitness, we can visit each stage during your one-day climb to the top of the waterfall. The longest stage is the first one, which is 170 meters long. The next two stages are shorter, at 30 meters and 70 meters, respectively.

At the base of the falls, you are welcome to take a bath at no cost. A deep pool of water is available at each stage for experienced swimmers to enjoy. The park also features a number of smaller waterfalls, including Prince Bernhard, which was named after the prince who created the falls, as well as Mwaya, Sonjo, and Njokamoni.

Mountain peaks and trails.

The name of the park’s tallest peak served as the inspiration for the park’s name. One of the park’s main draws is the mountain ranges that dominate the landscape. The Udzungwa Mountains are made up of the ranges that provide fantastic views of the park’s canopy. There is no need for greater trekking experience to reach these summits. To complete the hike on your safari to the park, you simply need a basic degree of fitness.

Hikers and birders use the trekking trails in the forests and mountains to explore the park. The hiking routes range from the Sonjo Trek, which takes one day, to the Lumemo Trail, which takes six days. Because of its inadequate road system, the park may only be reached on foot and not by safari vehicles.

Cultural and historical sites

The Udzungwa Mountains National Park also has more historical and cultural sites with stronger historical ties. The park is credited as being the historical home of numerous Tanzanian tribes that have long resided in southern Tanzania. Before they moved throughout the other southern portions of Tanzania, the majority of these tribes settled in the mountains.


The park, which spans the Eastern Arc mountain range, is home to a variety of animals, including eland, buffalo, lions, leopards, and African wild dogs. The Bushbuck, Sable, Greater Kudu, Harvey’s Red Duiker, Bush Duiker, Palm Civets, Miombo Genet, Hyena, Sun Squirrel, Climbing Mouse, Spiny Mice, Pouched Rat, Elephant Shrew, Shrew, and the Hippo are among the other animal species that may be found in the Udzungwa Mountains.

Two of the six primate species found here, the Sanje crested mangabey and the Iringa red colobus monkey, are indigenous. Other primates include the Yellow Baboon, Grant’s Galago, Small-eared Galago, Greater Galago, Highland Mangabey in the Ndundulu Forest, Sykes Monkey, Vervet Monkey, Black and White Colobus, Matundu Dwarf Galago, and Mountain Dwarf Galago.

Along with the tree frog, the Kihansi spray toad also thrives here near a waterfall on the Kihansi River. Because of a habitat change caused by an upstream dam in 2009, it was briefly extinct in the wild. After a successful captive breeding experiment, scientists were able to successfully reintroduce them.


The region is ranked among the top three mainland African bird protection zones by birdwatchers. Here, more than 400 different bird species have been identified, including the African hobby, Rappel’s vulture, crowned eagle, and African marabou.

The Francolin and Rufous-winged Sunbird were only recently found by scientists. Additionally, it is home to species such as the White-chested alethe, Sharpe’s akalat, Olive-flanked robin-chat, and Dappled mountain-robin.

Udzungwa Mountains National Park
Biring in Udzungwa


A safari in the Udzungwa Mountains gives tourists the chance to go across the mountain ranges, rainforest, and parched savannah that dot the area. Due to the heavy rainfall that results from humidity from the Indian Ocean condensing at Luhomero, the park’s highest mountain, dense, rich vegetation flourishes here.

Safari tourists should take advantage of the opportunity to stroll through such a beautiful rainforest; in fact, between 30 and 40 percent of Tanzania’s plant and animal life can be found here, so visitors can expect to see a variety of creatures and endangered primates throughout the park.

The Udzungwa forests have a vertical height that varies from 250 to 2,576 meters, and the park is a veritable hiker’s paradise with its many woodland routes that offer a variety of activities. Another major draw is a half-day trip to the 170-meter-tall Sanje waterfall.

Other activities at Udzungwa Mountains National Park includes:

Walking safaris are just one of the many excursions and things to do in Tanzania that can be added to your vacation when visiting udzungwa national park.

Exploring the wildlife on foot with a local African safari company or walking safari guide is a cost-effective and authentic way to see the Njokamoni and Moyer rivers, grassy valleys, and elephant and buffalo trails.

Cycling: Tourists can experience African village life; see wildlife including elephants, duikers, and bushbucks; see colorful bird species; and tour sugarcane and rubber plantations while biking through stunning scenery.

In addition to the amazing wildlife encounter, guests can set out and explore the stunning, dominating Sanje waterfall, a 4-hour climb.


By air transport: It is best to charter a flight to Kilombero airfield, which is 15 miles from Udzungwa Mountain National Park. Additionally, there are daily scheduled flights to and from Mikumi airport.

For those asking how to get to Tanzania, the airport in Dar es Salaam city-Julius Nyerere International Airport is where international aircraft land. The Dar es Salaam airport is located 18 kilometers south of Dar es Salaam, and entry into Tanzania may require a visa as well as specific vaccinations.

By road transport: Not far after Mikumi National Park, Udzungwa Mountains National Park is located 223 miles (7 hours) west of Dar es Salaam. 

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