Day 137- Day 138: Udzungwa Mountains National Park.
22 and 23 September
The ride from Mikumi to Udzungwa Forest was interesting, but quite challenging in parts, as the road was rough, varying from mud, to rocks, to serious dust! Also lots of villages one goes through, and much traffic between the villages. Passed a sizeable Hydroelectric Power generation plant and the associated dam wall and lake. Harassed by the security guard for stopping near the gate!
I stayed at Hondo Hondo Udzungwa Forest Tented Camp, it was very nice, and I was mostly the only guest there. On arrival I met Ernie and Mikhali, Aussie / Norwegian who had been staying and were leaving…. Nice people and great chat, because of the familiarity, I’d been missing. Then as a total another co-incidence, I meet another Aussie couple at the hotel near the WWF office, Dave and Carol, he was in the property business and was out speaking at a conference in Dar-es-Salaam. Once again, a really nice chat, and he somehow wanted me to have his business card.
I linked up with a local, Park’s guide, Maroun, and we did a whole day walk in the Park. Was pretty nice, but was a bit disaapointed in the amount and variety of primates I saw, and yet the park is renowned for that….
Udzungwa Forest Tented Camp lies on the border of the Udzungwa Mountains National Park, Southern Tanzania. These forested mountains form part of the Eastern Arc Mountain Range which are known as the ‘Galapagos of Africa’ owing to their high degree of endemism – they cover less than 2% of the land area but include more then 50% of the country’s plant and animal species. Over 300 endemic animals and over 800 endemic plants have been found in the Eastern Arc. The Udzungwa Mountains form one one of Africa’s most remarkable biodiversity hotspots and walking them is a memorable experience.
The Udzungwa Mountains are a primate hotspot with five Tanzanian endemics to be found; the newly discovered Highland Mangeby (found in Ndundulu Forest), the Sanje Crested Mangeby, the Udzungwa (Iringa) Red Colobus, the Matundu Dwarf Galago and the Mountain Dwarf Galago. Other primates include the Vervet Monkey, Sykes Monkey, Black and White Colobus, Yellow Baboon, Grant’s Galago, Small-eared Galago, and greater Galago.
Other mammal species are headed by the recently rediscovered Lowe’s Servaline Genet, which was photographed for the first time in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park. It was previously seen some 70 years ago and evidence was limited to a single skin. Other mammal species to be found in the Udzungwa Mountains include: Elephant, Buffalo, Lion, Leopard, Bushbuck, Sable, Greater Kudu, Harvey’s Red Duiker, Bush Duiker, Palm Civets, Miombo Genets, Hyena, Sun Squirrels, Climbing Mice, Spiny Mice, Pouched Rats, Elephants Shrews, Shrews and Hippo.
The Udzungwa Mountains National Park is among the top ten areas for bird conservation in Africa (IBA) with over 250 bird species. The Udzungwa Mountains are also home to several Tanzanian endemic birds including Rufous Winged Sunbird and the Udzungwa Partridge.