Nilo Nature Forest Reserve (NNFR) was established on 07/12/2007 and published in the official gazette GN No.234. Nilo Nature Reserve is a result of upgraded conservation status of Nilo Forest Reserve which was delineated and described on plan No. JB 2229 of the Forest and Beekeeping Division in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism. The Plan is deposited with the Director of Surveys and Mapping Division of the Ministry of Lands, Human Settlements Developments, Dar es Salaam as registered plan No. 30462.
Ownership, governance and administration:
Nilo Nature Forest Reserve is owned by Central government under Tanzania Forest Services (TFS) Agency, Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism. The immediate in-charge of the forest is the Conservator of NNFR. The Conservator reports to Zonal Manager (TFS) Northern Zone who is again answerable to the Chief Excecutive of Tanzania Forest Services (TFS) Agency. The conservator works in partnership with 17 adjacent villages as well as other Non-governmental organizations (such as EAMCEF, TFCG, district councils etc. NNFR is managed according to the Forest Policy of 1998 and the Forest Act No. 14 of 2002.
Nilo Nature Forest Reserve is situated in the north west of the East Usambara Mountains. It falls under the jurisdiction of three districts authorities namely; Korogwe, Muheza and Mkinga in Tanga Region. In Korogwe District, NNR is bordered by Magoma Division specifically Kizara, Magoma and Kerenge Wards. In Muheza District, it is bordered by Amani Division specifically Zirai and Misalai Ward while, in Mkinga District NNR is bordered by Maramba Division specifically Mhinduro Ward.
The reserve is situated between 040 50’ - 40 55’South and 380 37’- 380 40’ East as extracted from Topo sheet No. Y742 (DOS 422) Sheet 110/3 ‘Hemagoma’. Also can be read on the coordinates N 9455 000 and E 4550 000. Nilo Nature Forest Reserve can be reached from three directions:-
1. From Korogwe town to Magoma – Kwetonge road then to the nature reserve head office at Kizara village, a total distance of about 78 km.
2. From Tanga city to Maramba – Mashewa – Kwetonge road then to the nature reserve head office at Kizara village
3. From Muheza – Amani Nature Reserve road up to the junction at Bulwa then to Kizerui village which will lead you drive through the nature reserve to the reserve headquarter at Kizara village a total distance of 33.5 km from Bulwa junction to the reserve headquarter.
Size and boundary:
Nilo Nature Forest Reserve is the second largest contiguous forest block under protection, preceded by Amani Nature Reserve in the East Usambara Mountains. Nilo Nature Forest Reserve has an area of 6,025 ha as indicated in the Government Notice No.234 of 07/12/2007. The boundary length of NNR is 75km (50 km being in Korogwe District and 25 km in Muheza and Mkinga Districts). Nilo Nature Forest Reserve is ‘Y’ shaped. The southern border of the eastern ‘arm’ is close to Semdoe Forest Reserve, whilst the western border of the western ‘arm’ faces Lwengera valley and across to the West Usambaras. A central ridge runs along the southern ‘leg’ of the reserve towards the proposed Derema forest corridor, which is planned to link Nilo Nature Forest Reserve and Amani Nature Forest Reserve through Kambai and Semdoe Forest reserves.
Tourism attractions and services:
In the Nature Forest Reserve, there are special sites of cultural importance used by local people as worshiping sites. Such sites include Holy water point at Kizara ward where there is myth that once apon a time a Bishop blessed the place after feeling thirsty and water came out to drink. Even today the water is still trickling. Other special sites include a campsite known as Denmark close to Kizara village which is the largest camping site formally used by Sikh Saw Mills for its logging crews. The road from Amani via Kizerui village towards Kizara village passes through this campsite. Tuvui falls and Kwemakulo area where one can view the famous Saint paulia and remnants of the Ocotea usambarensis patches are additional recreational areas in Nilo Nature Forest Reserve. The Zumbe Kuu falls near Kizerui village is at a height greater than 30 m in the Semdoe River. Two worship areas are found at Lutindi peak and Kwemkole village called “Hundu.”
Tourism in Nilo Nature Forest Reserve:
Nilo Nature Forest Reserve, with its beautiful dense montane rain forest has potential for the establishment of strong ecotourism. The reserve is included in East Usambara Man and Bioshere reserve (EUMAB). According to the research done by Frontier-Tanzania (2002), the reserve has the highest Biodiversity value compared to other forest reserves in East Usambara. These include rare, endangered, vulnerable and threatened species of outstanding values. Additionally, NNFR is surrounded by 17 villages that have high culture diversity from various ethnic groups. These communities have traditional practices for the forest, varieties of dances and food types. The diversity of these ethnic groups could support cultural tourism.
Tourists Products for Nilo Nature Forest Reserve:
Nilo peak is the 1st highest peak in the reserve as well as in East Usambara having an elevation of 1,506 metre (asl) followed by Lutindi peak (the 2nd highest peak) having an elevation of 1,400 metres (asl). Lutindi peak provides an opportunity to see almost 90% of dense forested Mountain Arcs found within the reserve and East Usambara. Lutindi peak is a good place where apart from enjoying cool weather associated with wind blowing at moderate speed, also to the western direction of this peak you can see a valley, an interested geographical feature namely Lwengera valley which separate East Usambara and West Usambara mountains.
Lutindi Peak (1,400 m asl)
2. Holy water Point:
An historical point found within the reserve along the Kizara – Kizerui drive route. It is believed that in a number of past years, a Bishop and his porter were on the travel from Amani to Kizara. The porter felt thirsty, unfortunately they had no water and the place too, as a result the Bishop blessed the place and water came out. Even today water is there and people use it for drinking and other uses for local belief.
Holy water point
Holy water point
3. Tuvui water falls:
It is very close to Denmark campsite and office headquarters about 200 metres. Water is falling on rocks laminated with endemic, beautiful and famous flower in Eastern Arc Mountains called African violet flower (Saint paulia).
4. High Diversity of Flora and Fauna:
According to the research done by Frontier – Tanzania 2002, the reserve has highest biodiversity value compared to other forest reserves in East Usambara. These include rare, endangerd, vulnerable and threatened species of outstanding values. All eco-tourists and researchers with various interests (eg bird watchers, botanists and zoologists as well as mountain climbers/hikers will satisfy their needs when visiting our nature reserve.
High Diversity of Flora
Tourism products in areas adjacent to NNFR:
Other attractions that are available adjacent to Nilo Nature Forest reserve include:
Zumbe Kuu waterfalls: Found 1 km from the reserve
Lake Kumba: Found 20 km from the reserve