Hiking in the Uluguru Mountains

The verdant Uluguru Mountains – home to the matrilineal Luguru people – rise up majestically from the plains just south of Morogoro, dominating vistas from town. Part of the Eastern Arc chain, the mountains are home to a wealth of birds, plants and insects. These include many unique species, such as the Uluguru bush shrike. The only comparable mountain-forest area in East Africa, as far as age and endemism are concerned, is the Usambara Mountains. Sadly, due to the Uluguru’s high population density, most of the original forest cover has been depleted, although small protected patches remain on the upper slopes.

Hiking is the best way to explore and to get acquainted with the life of the local Luguru. The best contact for organising things is the excellent Chilunga Cultural Tourism in Morogoro town. Routes include a half-day return hike (US$27 per person) to Morningside, an old German mountain hut to the south of town at about 1000m; and a day’s return hike (US$45 per person) to Lupanga Peak (2147m). Lupanga is the highest point in the immediate vicinity, although views from the top are obscured by the forest. A recommended cultural walk is to Choma village, about an hour's walk beyond Morningside, and often included in a two-day, three-night tour (US$85 per person).