The Eastern Arc is a chain of ancient forested mountains stretching across Tanzania and into Kenya. Many unique species thrive in these isolated massifs, including over 500 plant species and numerous animals that are found nowhere else on earth. Acre for acre there are more unique plant and animal species in the Arc than anywhere else in Africa, and the area is considered one of the planet’s most important biodiversity hotspots.
Mkingu Nature Reserve, in the South Nguru Mountains, is an area of dense mountain forest with dramatic viewpoints. Mkingu Nature Reserve is the largest forest remaining in the South Nguru Mountains. The forest is home to many plant and animal species including Black-and-white colobus monkeys, Mountain galagos and Black-and-rufous elephant-shrews. Some of the plants and animals that are found in Mkingu are unique to this forest never having been recorded elsewhere including 19 plant taxa. There are seven vertebrate species that are unique to the South Nguru Mountains. Between 2007 and 2013, six new amphibian species were recorded from the South Nguru Mountains. For bird watchers, the reserve offers a chance to see 215 bird species including a rare chance to see Moreau’s sunbird and Banded green sunbird.
The South Nguru Landscape is the main water catchment area for the Wami River. This river provides water to Chalinze Town, the Mtibwa sugar plantation and many villages in Morogoro and Coast Region.
Mkingu Nature Reserve offers visitors an opportunity to explore and experience this forest wilderness. As tourism is still relatively new, nature trails are under development. Visitors should check with the Conservator for the latest information about campsites and recommended trails.
At 2140 m.a.s.l Makunguru Peak offers spectacular views over the north-western part of the reserve. The peak can be reached from Maskati Village along the Maskati - Kombola trail (3 hrs walk from Maskati Village centre).
There are two trails under development (in 2014):
This trail starts at Maskati Village and ends at Kombora sub-village in Ubiri Village. The trail takes approximately 4 hours to walk. The trail passes the Makunguru Peak and the Dibohero waterfalls.
This trail starts at Mhonda Village and passes through Kwelikwiji, Mafuta and then Ubiri Villages.
From Mhonda Village, the trail passes through farms and then up into the forest where it follows a ridge.
The walk takes 7 hours at a steady pace. The trail passes the dramatic Lusingiso waterfalls and leads to
the camp site at Mafuta Village.
As none of these trails are marked on the ground, it is essential that visitors are accompanied by a local guide
The reserve is most easily reached via Turiani Town, which is about 120 km from Morogoro Town. From Turiani visitors can either continue north towards Maskati Village; or access the reserve via Mhonda Village.
Information about guides and other attractions is available from the Nature Reserve Office in Mkindo village. To find out more about the Nature Reserve and the facilities on offer call or e-mail the Conservator.
Simple guest houses are available in Madizini Town. Within the Mkingu nature reserve, there is one camp site with basic camping facilities approximately 800 metres from Mafuta Village centre on the eastern side of the reserve. Campers need to be completely self-sufficient in terms of camping equipment, food, drinking water and cooking facilities. Basic supplies are available in Madizini Town.
Visitor fees help to protect and conserve the forests.They must be paid before entering the reserve. Visitor fees can be paid at Mkingu Nature Reserve Office in Mkindo Village.
Guides charge TZS 10,000 per person / day for nationals and residents; and US$ 25 for non-residents. The Conservator can provide information about guides.