Not only does Tanzania offer first-class wildlife viewing…
Udzungwa Forest Tented Camp: Our full report
Udzungwa Forest Tented Camp, also known as Hondo Hondo Tented Camp, is located in the Kilombero Valley, bordering the Udzungwa Mountains National Park. It is a small, rustic lodge, which has six tented en-suite rooms and five traditional thatched huts – and is well situated as a base from which to explore the often-overlooked Udzungwa Mountains.
Nobody from Expert Africa’s team has yet visited this lodge, but we’ve asked the managers to tell us a little about both the camp and the environment. They commented:
’The forested slopes of the Udzungwa Mountains offer a remarkable amount of biodiversity – encompassing more than 50% of the country’s plant and animal species, including 300 endemic animals, and 800 endemic plants. There’s a great range of activities to do here, focusing not only on the wildlife and vegetation, but also on the culture and people of the area. Two hours’ drive away, Mikumi National Park is home to elephant, buffalo, zebra, giraffe and even the occasional lion – so game drives here offer the more standard safari experience. Closer to Udzungwa Forest Camp, the floodplains provide great mountain-biking terrain, while exploring the Kilombero River in a traditional dugout canoe will give you a glimpse of local village life along the river (and even the occasional crocodile or hippo!). Guided village tours and a visit to a rubber plantation are also possible.
Udzungwa Forest Tented Camp was set up by four Brits who, after bringing research groups to Udzungwa for many years, became increasingly frustrated with the lack of decent accommodation in the area. Deciding to take matters into their own hands, they started by setting up a very simple campsite and have gradually built up the camp over the past few years – with more plans in the pipeline! Although they now employ a manager to take care of the day-to-day running, they’re still very actively involved and can be seen in camp most weeks.
Currently, there are six tented rooms at Udzungwa Forest Tented Camp, all of them simply decorated, using local sustainable materials such as coconut wood and bamboo. All rooms have a proper bed, complete with colourful throw made by the local Ifakara Women Weavers group – one of the lodge’s community support projects. Each tent has solar-powered lighting and a socket for charging phones and camera batteries. At the back of the tent, the open-air bathrooms have flush toilets, and a solar-heated “rain shower" from which you can enjoy the views into the nearby forest. Simple yet comfortable, the rooms are not luxurious, instead aiming for a natural feel that is in keeping with the surrounding environment.
The five thatched huts are much simpler with just a simple bed and mosquito nets.
The rooms are all spread out around “The Glade", a natural clearing at the edge of the forest where they’ve placed the “Canopy Bar" – reputably one of the best spots to sit and watch the troops of monkeys which favour the area! Over the next few years they’re planning to add a swimming pool, some additional rooms and a new restaurant on top of the hill.’
Our viewUdzungwa Forest Tented Camp is clearly a simple camp, and is likely to suit those who want something a little different from the standard safari experience. A stop here is primarily to explore the beautiful Udzungwa Mountains and to seek out their wildlife, but will also help visitors to get a feel for rural life. A trip to Udzungwa is most easily combined with Mikumi National Park or the Selous Game Reserve; ask us for the latest details on this camp, and how to include it into your trip.
Power supply: Solar Power
Laundry facilities: 0