Udzungwa Mountains National Park was established in 1992 and officially opened by the former President and founder of WWF (World Wildlife Fund for Nature) Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. The word “Udzungwa” comes from the word “Wadsungwa” referring to one of the native sub tribes of the “Hehe” people who once lived in the slopes of the mountains.
The park covers an area of 1990km2 where geographically, 20% of the total area lies in Morogoro region while the remaining 80% being in the southern highland region of Iringa.
The park has various tourism activities that visitors can do during their stay. These activities includes; Mountain Climbing to the highest Peaks of Mwanihana (2500m amsl) and Luhomero (2576m amsl), Bird Watching, Swimming, Nature Walks on the Forest and Waterfalls, Picnicking, Filming, Cycling (Organized by the Park and carried outside the Park), Camping and Cultural Tourism.
Mountain climbing – Offers chance to go summit to highest peaks of Luhomero and Mwanihana. The activity can best be carried out throughout the year, but dry season is the most convenient time for most mountain climbers.
Bird Watching – Done along all trails, roads and entire forest where most bird species (native and migratory) depending on seasonal variations, availability of food and materials for nesting can be seen. The endemic Udzungwa Forest Partridge and Rufous Winged Sunbird can be seen through specific details of their location and behavior provided by the park guides.
Cycling is organized and done outside the park to villages close to the park and rubber plantations. Tourists can take time to learn the native farming and irrigation patterns, view the local dress patterns, traditional dances and taste the local foodstuff and beverages. It is one of the exciting muscle stretching activity that complements the nature based tourism.
The eastern part of the park is covered by a dense evergreen tropical rainforest which is a source of so many permanent rivers that pour water into the great Kilombero valley, having these rivers and natural ponds just at the bottom of several waterfalls make the swimming in the park to be carried out throughout the year in specified locations inside the park. Visitors are advised to bring in their swimming gears/costumes in order to enjoy the activity.
Photographing and Filming
It is also the most recreational activity that can be done throughout the year, the best quality photos and films require a silent and calm environment (out of human activities if it is all about nature) thence in all cases, the activities are recommended. During short rains, photographic safaris can be more exciting in the park as it is the time when wild flowers flourish and there is abundance of butterflies. Moreover, most migratory birds can be seen during this time which is between December and February