So unknown is the destination of Lake Jipe not even many Tanzanians know of its existence or location. This lovely lake is sandwiched between the stunning Pare Mountains and the majestic Kilimanjaro. This small lake [30 km sq] and straddles the border between Kenya and Tanzania. It has a many water birds and is one of the few places in East Africa that the Lesser Jacana and Purple Gallinule are common.
An exciting way to experience the lake and the wildlife is to take a local canoe. These wooden canoes sit three people and a young Chagga tribesman will sit at the rear and paddle you around the lake. Don't haggle too much about the price, allow these young men to make a little money from tourism to feed their families. A good portion of the lake has become a little overgrown with papyrus; however it looks nice and is also used by the local people use for thatching their houses.
The East Usamabara Mountains is accessible with care and a robust 4 x 4. In these mountains is the Amani Game Reserve [Amani being Swahili for peace]. This Game Reserve is made up of lush cool forest and teaming with rare birds.
Thirteen species of birds are registered on the list of threatened species. It is these mountains where the world's favorite flower, the African violet, was discovered. Trekking through these sometimes very cool and wet forests is the equivalent of being transported back to pre historic times. The effort and time spent traveling to this area is rewarding indeed; the experience so moving to be almost magical or spiritual.
Once you have climbed up and through the sometimes quite steep forest, you emerge onto the Amani Plateau. This is a place where few tourists bother to visit, if you like unusual nature destinations away from the crowds this should be on your list of places to visit.The Udzungwa Mountains National Park was created primarily for the protection of flora rather than fauna. This park is a series of mountain rangers and interlocking valleys, it is the place that time forgot, it is a park without roads, here you must leave the comfort of your 4 x 4 and walk! This park is becoming increasingly popular for either a day or two day visits. Longer trails over several days are organized but only experienced hikers can mange this difficult train.
These mountains, because of low density tourism are pristine and largely untouched by humans.Uru village is on the rather unfashionable side of Kilimanjaro; it is not a tourist destination. There are no trials for the tourists, no curios, and no young people wanting to give you a guided tour for a small fee. If you have a day to spare; and want to see the real Africa then take a cultural visit to a village such as this. It is especially good for people who want to get away from the tourists and feel they are in Africa proper. A few hours spent here, exploring the small paths that wind up and down the mountainside is well worth the effort of the walking.
It is also an enjoyable experience to have lunch with a local family before returning down the mountain. This is a cultural visit but without being contrived in any way. You experience this cultural without realizing you were ever on a cultural visit..For more detailed information see http://www.betheladventure.
co.uk and for a non-tourist information page see http://www.parksadventure.com support responsible tourism and change lives.
By: Ian Williamson