Name of site: Mkingu
Designation: Forest Nature Reserve
Gazette notification: Government Notice No.104. Forest (Mkingu Forest Nature Reserve) Declaration Order, 2016. JB No. 2620 (1: 50,000) of 2008.
Mkingu Nature comprises two former forest reserves, notified as follows:
NguruSouthForest Reserve: GN No. None, JB 84 and JB 1069 of 1955; and
Mkindo Forest Reserve: GN No. 409 of 3/12/1954. JB 212 and JB 2034 of 1980.
Land ownership: Tanzania Forest Services, Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism
Area (ha): 26,334 ha
Centre point: Between latitude 6°01’ - 6°13’ South and longitude 37°26’ - 37°37’ East
Mountain Block: Nguru
Geography: The landscape is undulating, with sharp broken mountains and some very steep terrain. Peaks include Mkindo and Mndela.
Settlements: 25 villages, comprising a total population of 51,037 (2002 census), surround the proposed Nature Reserve, which is isolated from other forest fragments by settlements, Turiani town and commercial sugar cane and rice plantations. One of these villages, Ubiri (or Kombola), with 1,382 people, is an enclave within the Reserve.
Altitudinal range: 380 – 2,140 m (Maskati peak)
Climate: Estimated annual rainfall is 1,200 – 4,000mm. The dry season lasts from June to September but it is not marked on the eastern side, which experiences maximum rainfall. Maximum temperature ranges from 12°C to 24°C.
Vegetation: There are seven vegetation types: lowland rain forest, sub-montane forest, montane forest, upper montane forest, drier-montane forests, heath and miombo woodlands (Lovett and Pocs, 1993).
Species diversity: The Nguru Mountain block is one of the wettest parts of the EasternArcMountains, with which is attributed its higher number of number of endemic plant and animal species than many other mountain blocks.
Outstanding universal values
Mkingu Forest Nature Reserve hold 137 (25%) of the 554 plant taxa endemic to the Eastern Arc Mountains. They are the fifth most important block, after the Udzungwa, Uluguru and West and East UsambaraMountains, with respect to EasternArcMountain endemic plants.
Mkingu forest Nature Reserve offers visitors an opportunity to explore and experience this forest wildness . As tourism is still relatively new, nature trails are under development. Through nature trails, visitors will pass through and visit many attractions found along our trails. Currently we have three nature trails:
Mhonda – Mafuta trail
This trail starts at Mhonda village and pass through Kwelikwiji, Mafuta and then Ubiri villages. Form Mhonda village, the trail passes through farms and then into the forest where it fillows a ridge. The walk takes 7 hours at a steady pace. The trail pass trough intact, evergreen forest passing the pool at the meeting point of the Chazi and Mlangali rivers, seven chambered Malolo cave, old German Boma and finnaly reaching dramatic 200 metre high Lusingiso waterfalls. From the falls, visitors can proceed to the camping site at Mafuta village (approximately 1 hour from the falls). As none of these trails are marked on the ground, it is essential that visitors are accompanied by a local guide.
Maskat – Kombora trail
The trail starts at Maskat village and ends at Kombora sub village in Ubiri. The trail takes approximately 6 hours to walk. The trail passes the 2,140 metre high Makunguru peak with spectacular views over the north – west part of the reserve then the beautiful Dibohelo water falls (2 hours from Kombora)
Ubiri – Pemba trail
The trail starts at Ubiri village passes through a dense forest with large number of birds, reptiles and amphibians of different species. Through this trail is where visitors can see and feel the real nature of the forest.
Out of nature trails, there are more attractions found in different angles of the reserve. Visitors can visit a very dense and virgin forest used for Waluguru ritual activities through their Chief Kingalu. They can also visit a place where the white Colobus mankeys are found and rocks with foot print (believed that the first life also started at Mkingu). Visitors can also visit Mikumi National Park in a single day (its about 180 km from Mkingu FNR)
The reserve is most easily reached via Turiani Town, which is about 120 km from Mororgoro town. From Turiani visitors can either continue north towards Maskati village or access the reserve via Mhonda village
Simple guest houses are available in Madizini town. Within the Mkingu Forest Nature reserve, there is two camp sites with basic camping facilities one is approximately 800 metres from mafuta village on the eastern side of the reserve and second is allocated at Maskat village on the western 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.