Udzugwa Highlands National Park is a wildlife refuge in central Tanzania, between the Iringa and Morogoro areas of the eastern arc mountains, 60 kilometers south of Mikumi National Park on the Mikumi Ifakara road. The national park was established in 1992 by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, the founder of the World Wide Fund, and covers a total area of 1,990 square kilometers, with vegetation types such as Miombo woodland, grassland, tropical rainforest, and mountain forest serving as habitats for abundant wildlife such as elephants, bushbucks, palm civets, leopards, duikers, Miombo genets, hyenas, and over 400 bird species.

Wasungwa, a Kihehe term that meaning “those who dwell on the edges of the mountains,” inspired the creation of Udzugwa Mountains National Park.

Attractions at the Udzungwa Mountains

Wildlife, the national park is renowned as a wildlife sanctuary because it is home to a diverse range of animals, including elephants, hunting dogs, leopards, duikers, buffaloes, bushbucks, and six primate species, including the unique Iringa red colobus and Sanje mangabey.

Birds, the Udzugwa Mountains national park is home to approximately 400 bird species, including eastern arc endemics and forest bird species, making it one of Tanzania’s best birding destinations. Green-headed oriole, marabou stork, crowned eagle, woodland kingfisher, ruppells vultures, and silvery checkered hornbill are among the bird species that may be seen.

Udzungwa Mountains National Park Safaris

Udzungwa Mountains National Park is one of Tanzania’s best bird-watching places, with over 400 kinds of birds including forest, aquatic, and unique species. Bird watching in the park can be done early in the morning or late in the evening with an experienced bird guide who will assist you in spotting various bird species such as the rufous winged sunbird, African marabou, crowned eagle, kilombero weaver, white-tailed cisticola, uluguru violet backed sunbird, retzs helmet shrike, black and white shrike flycatcher, Livingstone’s flycatcher, Livingstone’s tura

Because there are no roads in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park, hiking is one of the most popular pastimes. Hiking safaris in the park begin with a briefing at the park headquarters, following which you will be assigned an armed park ranger who will safeguard you from harm and explain you how to use the different routes. There are a variety of hiking trails in the park, ranging from short 20-minute strolls to 5-day hikes to Lumemo trail, the most popular of which is the Sonje waterfalls trail, which takes about 4 hours and allows you to see a stunning 170-meter waterfall, see monkeys, and swim in waterfall plunge pools.

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Udzungwa Waterfalls

The Hidden Valleys trek is the park’s longest hike, taking roughly a day to complete. The hike takes around 6 to 7 hours and takes you through the Njokamoni River, Moyer Rivers, grassy valleys with views of elephants, and buffalo paths.
Because the trail is short and the road is not steep, Sonjo waterfall trail is a nice hiking trail for less experienced hikers. Hiking to Sonjo Falls takes around 35 minutes and brings you through the beautiful rainforest to the second falls, with views of many bird species, monkeys, and plant species along the way.
The Prince Bernhard waterfall is a park waterfall named after Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands.

He was roughly 84 years old when he established the Udzunghwa Mountains National Park, thus he was unable to climb to the Sanje waterfalls, so he climbed the 500-meter route from the park headquarters.
This path begins in Sonjo village and travels through Miombo woodland, grassy plateaus, montane forest, bamboo forest, diverse inhabitants, and the Sonjo trail, among other things. Elephants, many plant types, colorful bird species, and breathtaking landscapes may all be seen when trekking the Mwanihana peak trail.
The Njonkamoni waterfalls path, which is roughly 6.5 kilometers long and has a comparable elevation to the Sonje waterfalls route, is another trail that is similar in length and height to the Sonje waterfalls trail.

Because the route is less traveled, you will be able to see monkeys along the way.
Riding, Udzungwa is one of the Tanzanian places that offers the fun cycling activity of exploring the region by bicycle. Cycling begins with a briefing at the park headquarters, where you will be assigned a park guide familiar with the park’s fauna and recommended routes. During the cycling activity, you will be able to see beautiful scenery, wildlife such as elephants, duikers, and bushbucks, and colorful bird species, as well as experience African village life by seeing and interacting with the locals, their schools, markets, and farmlands, and visiting rubber and sugarcane plantations, among other things, all of which will leave you with lifelong memories.

When is the best time to visit Udzungwa?

The Udzungwa Mountains National Park is open all year, but the ideal time to come is during the dry season, from June to October, when there is less rainfall in the forest and the walking paths are dry and practicable, as opposed to the rainy season, when the routes are muddy and treacherous.

Where to stay in Udzungwa National Park on your safari

You may stay in a variety of places in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park on your safari. Hondo Hondo Udzungwa Forest tented camp, Udzungwa Forest tented camp, Udzungwa Falls lodge, Udzungwa Mountain View camp, and Angalia tented camp are among the premium, mid-range, and budget options available.

How to get there

The national park is roughly 60 kilometers west of Mikumi National Park and 360 kilometers west of Dar es Salaam, and can be reached by road, train, or plane.

When traveling by road, there are several options for getting to the park: private, public, or self-driving. You will consequently travel from Dar es Salaam to the park headquarters through Chalinze, Morogoro, Mikumi national park, and Mikumi town, which will take around 4 hours.

Udzungwa National Park is also accessible by train, with the TAZARA railway departing Dar es Salaam on Tuesdays and Fridays towards Zambia.

The travel from Dar es Salaam to the park headquarters takes around 6 to 7 hours, and it passes via the Selous game reserve, where you may see a variety of wildlife.

Udzungwa National Park may also be reached by air, with regular or charter flights departing from Dar es Salaam or Zanzibar and landing at Udzungwa or Kilombero. You may alternatively fly to Mikumi airport from Dar es Salaam and then drive to Udzungwa national park.

Tourism in Udzungwa

Though it has not achieved much popularity with tourists, Tanzania’s Udzungwa Mountains National Park is a fascinating and spectacular wilderness location.

A trip to the Udzungwa Mountains National Park may be paired with a game drive in Mikumi National Park, Ruaha National Park, or the Selous Game Reserve, where you can see a variety of wild species. For more information about the Udzungwa Mountains National Park, please contact us.