Rift Safari
Travelling along the Rift Valley:  Udzungwa Mountains
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Sanje Fall, Udzungwa Mountains Udzungwa Mountains are part of the Eastern Arc, a very ancient mountains chain that extends from southeastern Kenya to southern Tanzania and includes, from north to south, beyond Udzungwa Mountains, the Taita Hills, northern and southern Pare mounts, western and eastern Usumbara Mounts, Nguu and Nguru, Ukaguru, Uluguru, Rubeho, Malundwe e Mahenge.

The geological origin of the chain goes back, according to geologists, to 165 million years ago and it was stretching from West to East Africa connecting the entire continent to Madagascar. The current configuration is supposed to date back to about 30 millions years ago with the formation of the Great Rift Valley which bisects the continent. Thanks to the isolation produced by the tectonic cleavage and to the climatic factors stability [in this case the monsoons, which have ensured regular rainfall in the last 40 million years] this chain of mountains has preserved in some areas a great bio diversity. The most important of these areas are exactly the Udzungwa Mountains where not only many ancient species have been preserved but also an indipendent evolution of the flora and fauna has taken place resulting in a variety of endemic species impossible to find anywhere else in the world.

This little but precious national parks hosts 4 endemic species of primates [Sanje mangabey, Iringa red colobus monkey, Uhehe galago also know as Iringa galago and a subspecie of the dwarf Amani mountains bushbaby]; 16 mammals; 50 reptiles; 70 species of spiders and many butterflies among which the Emperor swallowtail [Papilio ophidicephalus] the largest butterfly of southern Africa; 33 species of anphibians; 22 birds species; 1500 flora species among which 20 different kind of african violets.
Altitude in the park ranges from 200 to 2500 meters above sea level and vegetation varies from lowland forest [with trees reaching 50 mt height] to miombo and bamboo forest.

Udzungwa mountains was declared in 1992 national park because of its flora. The number of visitors is therefore particularly low and mainly restricted to scholars and researchers except some visitors who has decided to visit the southern parks [mainly selous and Ruaha] by 4x4 and who normally choose the shortest walk to Sanje waterfalls.
There are no roads in the park but only a few walking trails:

Luhomero:
At least 6 days are necessary to reach Luhomero, the highest peak [2576 m.] The trail starts at Udweka, on the western slopes. There are no sign along the way and one has to be accompanied by an armed ranger and a guide. It requires to be well-trained.

Mwanihana:

This is a 3 days trekking [38 Km] to reach the second highest peak, Mwanihana, It is a beautiful trek passing through all the areas of the forest before reaching the prairie at 2111 meters altitude The trail follows the river course which need to be crossed about 12 times. It requires to be well-trained. An armed ranger and a guide are necessary since there's the possibility to encounter buffaloes or elephants along the way.

Sanje Falls:
The Sanje Falls circuit is the most popular one [5 km, about 5 hours]. Before reaching the falls one will pass through different areas of forest. The first two falls are clearly visible from the dense forest and offer natural pools where bathing is possible. The third waterfall can only be seen on the way back. White colobus and red colobus monkeys might be sighted along the way and red colobus and black. The trekking requires to be normally trained. One must be accompanied by ranger and guide.

Prince Bernhard Waterfall:
A one hour walk in the forest up to the modest prince Bernhard waterfalls. One does not need to be accompanied by a ranger or by a guide. Blue monkey and the endemic red colobus, the chequered elephant shrew and the red duiker might be seen along the way Non richiede di essere accompagnato da ranger e guida. Lungo la via si potrebbero incontrare il cercopiteco dal diadema e le endemiche colubus rosse, toporagni e duiker.

Chameleon Rhampholeon brevicaudatas