Udzungwa Mountains National park is a mountainous region located in the South of Tanzania within ranges of filled with lush green, dense forest mountains. These chain of mountainous forest surround the Udzungwa which stands as the largest mountain surrounded by these other mountains that make up a chain collectively referred to as the Eastern Arc Mountains. beaming with immense biodiversity, this archipelago of isolated, compact group of mountains is often known as the African Galapagos is home to endemic flora and fauna, with the common resident being the delicate African violet.
Shrouded and eery, the forests of the Udzungwa Mountains are fascinatingly lush green with glimpses of sunshine rays piercing through tall trees some towering to a whopping 30-metre (100 foot) height, their barks layered with fungi, algae, mosses, ferns and lichens.
Among all the Eastern Arc ranges, Udzungwa alone has the privilege of having the national park status even though it is not your normal game viewing destination, Udzungwa is a great destination for trekking and is mostly loved by hikers. Within the Udzungwa mountain is Sanje Waterfall, which pours its waters 170 metres (550 feet) below the surface of the lofty mountains leaving a misty spray as it splashes into the forested valley below as a network of forest trails meanders up and down the forested mountain.
For hikers, there is the more challenging Trail that leads to the high plateau. This trail is known as Mwanihana. It is surrounded by sugar plantations that make an amazingly beautiful view following the trail that leads to Mwanihana peak which is the second-highest point in the range.
Udzungwa is home to more than 400 bird species ranging from the beautiful and common resident green-headed oriole, including the recently discovered species of francolin and the Rufus-winged sunbird to more than a dozen other Eastern Arc endemics.
Udzungwa has the richest bird habitat of all forest attractions in Tanzania to the extent that is hosts other species are peculiar to Udzungwa, including the forest partridge which was first discovered in the early 90s, 1991 to be precise which is closely related to an Asian genus than to any other African fowl.
The other thing that makes Udzungwa unique is that of six primate species recorded, the Iringa red colobus and Sanje Crested Mangabey both occur only at Udzungwa and nowhere else in the world – the Iringa (Uhehe) red colobus monkey was detected by biologists in 1979.
Other animals can be found in Udzungwa including the elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, African wild dog, eland, waterbuck and sable. There is also a rich small bovid community including good numbers of Red, Blue and Abbot’s duikers, and bushbuck.
Ongoing scientific exploration shows that Udzungwa has more to offer and more to be explored and discovered. With more scientific discovering it will surely add to its diverse catalogue of endemics.