You Can Now trek along Elephants from Udzungwa to Nyerere National Park in new tourism package

Tired of the usual game drives in Tanzania’s Northern Tourism Circuit? Then try a walking safari which connects two spectacular National Parks in the Southern Circuit.

It will be the first such trekking adventure in East Africa, connecting two National Parks along a wildlife passage route and is to be featured in Morogoro Region.

A new package of tourism links the mountainous Udzungwa National Park with the country’s largest National Park, the Nyerere, cutting across more than ten local villages that may also offer cultural tourism attractions.

The proposed walking Safari between Udzungwa Mountains and Nyerere National Park, allows visitors to trek on foot along the new 12 kilometers route, cutting across several local villages but keeping adjacent to the soon to be fenced wildlife corridor linking the two destinations.

Joseph Chuwa is the Morogoro Region’s Natural Resources Officer. He reveals that villagers living along the newly hatched elephant corridor are being assisted to forge and guide tourists on the proposed walking tourism Safari as means of income generation but also to encourage their participation in conservation.

The Nyerere-Selous-Udzungwa walking Safari is thus anticipated to be a new product hatched from the conservation joint venture between local villages and conservationists, including the Southern Tanzania Elephant Program and the Tanzania National Parks, with support from the United States Agency for International Development, through the USAID Tuhifadhi Maliasili Project.

The Wildlife Corridor Restoration Manager for the Southern Tanzania Elephant Program (STEP), Joseph Mwalugelo, said they have been working hard to restore the Udzungwa-Selous-Nyerere wildlife corridor, including the recently built Elephant Underpass.

This is not an ordinary bridge over a river, but special underpass to allow elephants from Udzungwa Mountains to walk underneath the road as they migrate downhill to Selous Game Reserve and Nyerere National Park (Photo by Marc Nkwame)

The route which elephants use to traverse between Udzungwa Mountains and Nyerere National Park has been reclaimed after compensating several villages within the landscape which is home to the biggest Meta Population of Jumbos.

Conservators have just earmarked and cleared the new Kilombero Elephant Corridor which measures around 12 kilometers long and up to 200 meters wide now officially links the highlands of Udzungwa Mountains with the Nyerere National Park located downstream.

Elephants and other ungulates have been using the corridor to transverse between the two parks as well as Selous Game Reserve.

The route now also includes a specially constructed underpass which allows elephants and other wildlife species to safely cross the rather busy Ifakara to Dar-es-salaam Road through the tunnel underneath.

Local scribes, who happen to be members of the Journalist Environment Association of Tanzania (JET), paid a visit to the newly revived wildlife connectivity corridor in the Kilombero District of Morogoro.

They were told that the newly restored wildlife passageway will be electric fenced on either side, to avert Human-Wildlife Conflicts.

According to experts, this will be the first corridor in the country, being protected by electric fencing on either side, as well as surveillance cameras.

It is also going to yield a special walking Safari as tourists will be able to walk along the fenced corridor from Udzungwa to Nyerere as they watch animals, sample the attractive landscapes and interact with villagers in the process.

The new package is mapped within the Kilombero Basin, featuring the Mwanihana forest in Udzungwa Mountains, the Magombera Forest Nature Reserve below it and Nyerere, which is Eastern Africa’s largest National Park.

It will be one of the results from the maiden assessment of Wildlife Corridors in Tanzania was conducted in 2009, in the mission led by the Southern Tanzania Elephant Program’s Chief Executive Dr Trevor Jones.

The follow-up assessment was implemented by USAID through the Promoting Tanzania’s Environment, Conservation, and Tourism Project (PROTECT) in association with the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute.

Meanwhile it was revealed during the special corridor restoration forum of experts recently held in Dodoma City that Tanzania has identified a total of 61 wildlife corridors that still exist after hundreds of such passageways got blocked by mostly human activities including settlements, agriculture and livestock grazing as well as industrial developments.

The Deputy Secretary General in the Prime Minister’s Office, In-charge of Policy, Parliament and Coordination, Anderson Mutatembwa officiated the meeting of experts in Dodoma.

“Delegates are being updated on the common understanding regarding issues pertaining wildlife corridors,” Mutatembwa explained.

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