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Tourism
Kimboza Arc Mountains: Home of eco-tourism
Posted: Wednesday December 12, 2007 9:18 PM BT
By By Gasirigwa Sengiyumva
Just after 60 kilometres east of Morogoro town there lies a unique, beautiful, remnant of the lowland eastern Arc and coastal forest type, rich in species of restricted distribution. It is known as Kimboza forest reserve.
- They contain plants and animal species only found in Tanzania
- Also found in Morogoro are some of the famous game reserves in the country

Kimboza catchments forest reserve started in 1999. This is one of the reserved forests under the central government. The forest harbours flora and fauna. It is also rich in bio diversity.

The reserve is in the eastern Uluguru Mountain foothills at an altitude ranging from 300 to 400 metres above the sea level. Access is from Morogoro town to Kisaki Road, between Mkuyuni and Matombo village. The forest offers a cool climate under the canopy of trees up to 40 metres high and all year around water discharging springs.

Four villages and four secondary schools surround the forest reserve. Various activities are being carried out to put the forests under forest management. These include ecological and social economic studies, initiation and support on alternative income generating activities, development of primary school teaching curriculum, training of villagers on various aspects of forests, sensitisation meeting on demarcation and zoning.

Birds, insects, primates and some historical sites add to the splendor of the forest. The road to Kimboza passes through historical buildings and the Waluguru local chief who is so welcoming and willing to give history for his chieftaincy.

It is easy to walk through the forest or drive through the road that traverses the forests into two parts. The forest lies in isolation being surrounded by Villagers who act as co-managers to this forest, benefiting directly from it.

Villagers and other stakeholders have identified several eco-tourism destinations.

Among them are the Kimboza springs. According to sources from the department of natural resources in the Office of Regional Commissioner, the forest was named after this his¬torical water spring. This one, together with other springs, the Nguru, Ukaguru and Uluguru Mountains in central eastern Tanzania and thence the Udzungwas.

From the Udzungwas, the Arc reaches as far as the Livingstone Mountains in the Republic of Malawi. The slopes of Arc Mountains are the oldest sanctuary of plants and animal species in Africa.

THE cobra is rated one of the most poisonous snakes in Africa. The venomous vipers are bred at a snake park in Mikumi.

The forests on the flanks of these mountains have been around for more than 30 million years ago. Because of the many plants and animals living in the forest slopes, the Arc contains the highest density of endangered species in the world.

Not all of them are known. Visiting scientists keep on finding new species. So far 96 endemic species of vertebrates have been found including sun-birds, chameleons and wide-eyed primate; the bush baby.

It is estimated that the Arc contains around 800 endemic plant species "including African violets, which are popular as garden plants around the world. Only Madagascar and New Zealand come near such density. If you wish to know; the Arc, Madagascar and New Zealand are the biodiversity 'hot spots' of the world.

Among the unique residents of the Udzungwas are the breastfeeding frogs in the Kihansi forests, the only of its kind known so far in the world.
Cultural tourism has been ignored for a long time. It is high time the people of Morogoro took a lead in inviting their counterparts across our boarders to enjoy and appreciate one another's culture, customs and traditions that define their ways of life.

The Maasai Culture and traditions have always moved people from various parts of the world to visit them, since their ways of living is almost unchanged, though the culture and traditions of other tribes around them have undergone some changes greatly. If one happens to visit Morogoro, he or she will be surprised to find massive numbers of these nomadic populations in the region.

The mountainous region of Morogoro is endowed with an abundance of natural tourist attractions. The potential of Selous Game Reserve, Mikumi and Udzungwa Mountain national parks to attract game hunters, vacationers and the like is enormous. These are places inhabited with varieties of animals and unique plant species.

Its beautiful scenery, the generosity of the people of this region, cultural tourism and camping sites, hunting safaris on free range areas, historical occurrences and excavations are not known to many, both within and outside the country.

This potential is largely untapped. Investment in lodges, tour operation, resorts, all weather land routes and promotion could pay dividends. Tourism in Morogoro could also provide opportunities for agents of tourism activities.

Nevertheless, forest fires and demand for fuel wood for cooking go up every year as the human population increases. This has been a challenge to conservation of microbiological plants and animals as well as other living being species in the region. It is necessary to match tree planting to deforestation.

At the same time, the rate at which Morogoro forests are depleted could be slowed down through the introduction and use of fuel saving fuel wood and cheap electricity for domestic use in rural and urban areas.

Investment in environmentally friendly manufacturing industries and agricultural inputs could save the region for the benefit of the present and future generations.
A tropical type of climate found in Morogoro allows different kinds of trees to flourish.

Daily News - Tuesday, October 23, 2007
 
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