Journey of the week: climbing in Tanzania’s Uluguru Mountains

They’re not Tanzania’s highest or most spectacular peaks, however the Uluguru Mountains make for an attention-grabbing climbing journey inside straightforward attain of the capital, Dar es Salaam, says Sophy Roberts within the .

A four-hour drive west of town, this fertile and densely populated vary is a part of Africa’s Japanese Arc mountain chain, which stretches from the Taita Hills in Kenya to the Udzungwas, a bit of additional south. It’s residence to the Waluguru, a individuals with a singular matrilineal tradition, and, in its remotest reaches, there are remnants of historic forests which have “the sensation of a misplaced world”. Quite a few uncommon vegetation and animals inhabit these sylvan heights, together with two spectacular fowl species discovered solely right here – the “bottle-green” and crimson Loveridge’s sunbird, and the yellow-breasted Uluguru bush-shrike.

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The regional capital, Morogoro, was a important staging publish for nineteenth century caravans travelling inland from the coast. It nonetheless appears like a “crossroads” and a “melting pot” – albeit a charmingly laid-back one, with large avenues flanked by mango bushes, and slot machines that “trill within the entrance of the streetside bars the place boda boda drivers hang around ready for commerce”.

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You may keep at the Mbuyuni Farm Retreat, a 20-minute drive away. It has 4 cottages with glass doorways that open onto a garden the place weaver birds dart to and from nests that cling “like baubles” from the acacias. There’s a fairly pool, and a very good restaurant that sources substances from the homeowners’ natural farm.

Native tour operator Charles Masunzu is an effective information to the mountains, which rise to 2,630 metres. He’s a educated naturalist who may also help you see a few of the 135 plant species distinctive to this vary; he’ll take you to go to caves – labyrinths of “cool corridors” the place bats nest – and on bivouac journeys deep within the forest, the place there might be solely a mosquito internet between you and the celebs. 

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