The southern highlands are great for hiking off the beaten track and are the home of the Kipunji monkey. This a new genus discovered in 2003 on Mount Rungwe. These remote highlands cover an area between Lake Malawi and Tanganyika. The Ruaha River has its source in the Southern Highlands.
- Birding & Primate Viewing:Good
- Best time to visit the southern highlands: June - December
- How to get to the southern highlands: you can drive, fly or take the train.
- Safari types available: Walking Safari
Amongst the primates, as well as the Kipunji, the isolated Red Dilepis Colobus occurs in Mbisi, and a unique race of Black and White Colobus is found in forests around Mt Rungwe.
The Southern Highlands is made of a progression of mountain ranges and volcanoes covered by a mosaic of forest, grassland and Miombo Woodland. It includes the two highest peaks in southern Tanzania, Mt Mtorwi at 2,961m and Mt Rungwe 2,960m. The Ngozi crater lake and Mbozi Meteorite are also sites of interest to be found in this area.
There are a range of hotels in the towns but most of the hiking is over several days so you need to be prepared to camp.
Southern Highlands Locations view all
One of the Great Gardens of the World, with over 40 species of wild orchid alone, Kitulo Plateau is a floral paradise. One of Tanzania's newest National Parks, this is the first in tropical Africa to be gazetted primarily for it's floristic significance. Kitulo is also of interest to ornithologists, being registered as an important bird area.
Lake Nyasa (also known as Lake Malawi) is the third largest African Great Lake (after Lake Victoria and lake Tanganyika), the eighth largest lake in the world and has a total surface area of about 29,600 km?. It is 550 kilometers long and 75 kilometers wide. Lake Nyasa is situated between Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania bordering all three. It is the second deepest lake in Africa and its tropical waters have more fish species than any other lake on Earth.
Mbamba Bay is a small idyllic beach town on the shores of Lake Nyasa (or Lake Malawi). It is rarely visited and tourism has hardly developed here. The beautiful bay has a long sandy beach flanked by granite rocks and numerous rocky islands. Mbamba bay has only a couple of places to stay, both quite basic.
Mbeya is a large town in the southwest of Tanzania, the gateway to the Southern Highlands. It's fairly new town built to service the gold mining in the area (which ceased on the 1950s). This unusually developed town has all grades of accommodation and makes a good stopover to rest on long safaris. There are plenty of walking opportunities in the area including the two climbable mountains of Mbeya and Loleza Peaks, which dominate the Mbeya skyline. Another interesting excursion is the Mbozi Meteorite, weighing in at 12 tonnes is the eigth largest in the world.
Ngozi Crater Lake is a sight of outstanding natural beauty and a superb hiking location. A green shimmering lake walled by the collapsed caldera of the extinct Ngozi Volcano. The peak of Ngozi is 2,620m and is the highest point of the Mporoto Ridge Forest Reserve.
Songea is the capital of the large Ruvuma Region in southeastern Tanzania.The city has a population of approximately 130,000 (census 2002). It is also the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Songea.