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The Udzungwa Mountains are almost unearthly. An enchanted forest of leafy glades freckled with sunshine, where fungus, lichen, moss and fern ingratiate themselves into every damp crevices, this archipelago of isolated massifs has also been dubbed the African Galapagos for its treasure-trove of endemic plants and animals, most familiarly the delicate and new variety of African violet discovered in the shelter of a 30 metre high tree. It is a hot-house nurturing species found nowhere else on earth, a secret bank account for precious genetic stock.

Size

1,990 sq km (770 sq miles).

Location

Five hours (350 km/215 miles) from Dar es Salaam; 65 kms (40 miles) southwest of Mikumi.

Getting there

Drive from Dar es Salaam or Mikumi National Park.

What to do in Udzungwa Mountain Park

From a two-hour hike to the waterfall to camping safaris. Combine with nearby Mikumi or en route to Ruaha.

Best time to visit Udzungwa Mountains

Possible year round although slippery in the rains. The dry season is June-October before the short rains but be prepared for rain anytime.

Accommodation at Udzungwa

Camping inside the park. Bring all food and supplies. Two modest but comfortable lodges with en-suite rooms within 1km of the park entrance.