The Udzungwa Mountains are large forest-swathed mountains that rise majestically from the flat coastal scrub of eastern Tanzania. Known collectively as the Eastern Arc Mountains, they are a treasure-trove of endemic plants and animals.
Because of its wide range in altitude and habitat types, the Udzungwa National Park has one of the highest numbers of species endemism worldwide. These enchanting forests harbor 30-40% of endemic, rare and endangered species of plants and animals, and supports some of the most ancient and diverse biological communities in Africa. A diverse, large mammal community including elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, African wild dog, eland, waterbuck, and sable can be found in the park. Six primate species have been recorded, five of which are endemic. The Iringa (Uhehe) Red Colobus monkey and Sanje Crested Mangabey are only found in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park. There is also a rich small bovid community including good numbers of Red, Blue and Abbots duikers, and bushbuck.
Although not a conventional game viewing destination, tourism in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park revolves around hiking and trekking, as the park has no roads and is accessible only on foot. An excellent network of hiking trails ranges in difficulty from the short one-hour Sonjo trek to the extremely challenging 6-day camping trek the Lumemo Trail. The most popular hike is the Sanje Waterfalls trail which is half-day ramble to the stunning Sanje Waterfall which plunges 170 m waterfalls through a misty spray into the forested valley below. Activities at the waterfall include swimming in the waterfall plunge pools as part of the activity.
Bird watchers are also in for a treat as the park boasts with over 400 species of birds. The Udzungwa national park has the richest forest bird habitat in Tanzania. Some of them are endemic to the Eastern Arc Mountains and four of them are found only in Udzungwa.
Undoubtedly, this great forest has yet to reveal all its treasures and ongoing scientific exploration will surely add to its diverse catalog of endemics.