As we ventured into the Udzungwa mountains, just South-west of Ruaha, the tar road soon became a dusty dirt road which carved though humble muddy red brick villages. The occasional bridge crossed over rivers with a dense, closed-canopy rain forest hugging the banks. The locals had well-maintained fields of crops bursting from the rich soil on either side.
We ventured off into the bustling, little village opposite the entrance to the Udzungwa Mountains National Park and enjoyed a simple, yet delicious breakfast of two chapatti’s and an omelette for Tsh 3000, which is just less than R 20, for two breakfasts. As we were exiting, some young men working at a barber shop, or ‘kinyozi’ in Swahili, greeted us. I opted for a hairstyle dubbed ‘punk’. Seated on the couch was a young local teacher who admired Chloe’s Ray Bans. His friend was a history teacher waiting to be employed at a Tanzanian school. The haircut set me back Tsh 1000 (about R 6).
We spent the next three days relaxing by our tent and nursing the aftermath of Chloe’s stomach bug which she got from some cucumbers, called Iringa, which we had bought in town. After she got her strength back, we decided on an 8km hike to Sanje waterfalls in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park. This is probably one of the most important sites on the African continent concerning primate conservation. There are eleven primate species here, of which five are endemic. We were actually lucky enough to see the endemic red colobus monkey.
If that was not enough to make you want to pack your bags and get on the next plane to Tanzania, then you should know that it is also one of the IBA areas (Important Bird areas of Africa). Udzungwa hosts the second highest bird diversity in Africa after Ituri forest in DRC.