The Uluguru Mountains rise up from the plains just southeast of Morogoro, dominating vistas from town. Part of the Eastern Arc chain, the mountains contain some of Africa's oldest original forest plus 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 (p168).
The main tribal group in the Ulugurus are the matrilineal Luguru, who earn their living primarily through subsistence agriculture. Due to the high population density in the Ulugurus, most of the original forest cover has been depleted - you'll see this immediately on the hillsides - with only a few small protected patches remaining on the upper slopes. This deforestation has led to severe erosion.
The best contact for organising hiking guides is Chilunga Cultural Tourism (p275) in Morogoro. Come prepared with a jacket, as it can rain at any time of year. The shortest route from Morogoro is to Morningside, an old German mountain hut to the south of town at about 1000m. The path, which can easily be done in half a day return, starts at the regional administration buildings about 3km south of Morogoro at the end of Boma Rd. From here, a track leads uphill and then curves to the right through small farm plots and degraded forest before reaching the Morningside hut. It's possible to camp at Morningside with your own tent and supplies; there's a small waterfall nearby. Once at Morningside, it takes another 40 minutes or so to reach the border of the Uluguru North Forest Reserve. It's generally not permitted to continue beyond here because of sensitivities about the Bondwe Peak communications tower higher up the slopes. There has been a spate of muggings on this route recently, including attacks on hikers who were accompanied by guides. Don't bring any valuables, be wary of strangers who arrive wanting to join your group and think twice before you consider camping.
Another possibility from town is the hike to Lupanga Peak (2147m), the highest point in the immediate vicinity, although views from the top are obscured by the forest. The starting point is at Kilakala Secondary School, 1km east of town off Old Dar es Salaam Rd. The trek is detailed in the Uluguru tourist-information booklet mentioned below; it takes about five hours return. Since part of the hike is in the forest reserve, you'll need to first get a permit (Tsh5000) from the Catchment Office (h 7.30am-3.30pm Mon-Fri) in Morogoro. It's 1.5km north of the town centre on the road to Msamvu junction, in an unmarked building on the left just after crossing the second set of railway tracks. There are also various cultural walks from Bunduki, about 2^ to three hours drive south of Morogoro, and best accessed with your own 4WD. Transport can also be arranged with Chilunga (about Tsh50,000 per vehicle).
The Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (WCST; % 023-261 3122; [email protected]; 1st fl, Bodi ya Pamba Bldg, Old Dar es Salaam Rd, Morogoro), in collaboration with the Uluguru Mountains Biodiversity Conservation Project, has published Tourist Information for the Uluguru Mountains, with detailed route descriptions and information on places to stay. It's for sale at the WCST office in Morogoro or can be downloaded for free at www.africanconservation.com/uluguru (click on Contents, then on Section 4).
until about 4pm (Tsh2500, hours). Buses from Dar es Salaam going southwest towards Mikumi and Iringa begin passing Morogoro about 9am.
To Arusha, several direct buses daily do the route (nine hours), including Shabiby, originating in Dodoma.
To Tanga, there is a direct bus daily (Tsh5000, five hours), departing by 8am.
The main dalla-dalla stand is in front of the market, where there is also a taxi rank. There's another dalla-dalla stop and taxi rank further east along Old Dar es Salaam Rd before the post office.
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