Mang’ula is a picturesque rural Tanzanian village. Situated at the base of the Udzungwa Mountains escarpment where the soil is fertile, the village benefits from a very good rainy season and plentiful water coming off the mountains  year round.  Like most villages, the centre is a bustling and chaotic muddle of small dukas (shops), mechanics workshops, rice mills and colourful market stands. Radios compete for the loudest position while tradesmen and customers alike do the same. The vibrant shop fronts are set against the red earth of the bumpy roads, all with the vivid forest green of the mountains in the background.  As you move away from the main drag things quieten down into sleepy, shaded rural life. Children dominate the scene, dashing around with home made toys, or speeding down rough roads on bikes that are much too big for them. Women at home call out their daily news to their neighbours, while hand milling the maize or sorting through rice – all grown locally in the Kilombero Valley.

Across the TAZARA railway line in Mangula is a sizeable rubber plantation, recently privatized after being mismanaged by the state since 1974. The tour takes about 1 hour, and will give you a comprehensive knowledge into the process of extracting the latex, and preparing it for export. The general manager or one of the owners will be your guide, and answer any questions you have. You can go by car, or cycle there.  We recommend a cycle ride as the route takes you through the surrounding shamba land, villages and sugar plantations

This small remaining area of forest is just outside the border of the Selous Game reserve. As the trees have been cut down, the monkeys have been squeezed into the smaller area, and Blue Monkeys, Udzungwa Red Colobus and Black and White Colobus are usually easy to see. It has the advantage that no park fees are necessary. You can also visit by car, or cycle here with a guide.

 

Cycling

A popular activity from Hondo Hondo is cycling. Come with your own bike, or rent one. We have a selection of mountain bike sizes for all ages and helmets if you like. Unfortunately there are no cycling trails within the National Park itself (and if there were, they’d be a “black run”), but the valley provides plenty of great cycling terrain full of things to see.

You can combine cycling with other activities such as village tour, rubber plantation and canoeing adventures and it is possible to go with one of our guides to explore the local rural villages, and this provides a great opportunity for photography and interaction with rural Tanzanian life.

Intrepid explorers can go even further, anywhere, freestyle (you can’t get lost – we’re at the base of the huge mountains), out onto the Kilombero Floodplains through sugar plantations, local shamba (farms) and open bush land. The cycling is generally easy, as the valley is mostly very flat. It can however, be quite wet in some areas so be prepared for a muddy adventure!

Mang’ula Village Tour

Mang’ula is a picturesque rural Tanzanian village. Situated at the base of the Udzungwa Mountains escarpment where the soil is fertile, the village benefits from a very good rainy season and plentiful water coming off the mountains  year round.  Like most villages, the centre is a bustling and chaotic muddle of small dukas (shops), mechanics workshops, rice mills and colourful market stands. Radios compete for the loudest position while tradesmen and customers alike do the same. The vibrant shop fronts are set against the red earth of the bumpy roads, all with the vivid forest green of the mountains in the background.  As you move away from the main drag things quieten down into sleepy, shaded rural life. Children dominate the scene, dashing around with home made toys, or speeding down rough roads on bikes that are much too big for them. Women at home call out their daily news to their neighbours, while hand milling the maize or sorting through rice – all grown locally in the Kilombero Valley.

Rubber plantation

Ever wondered where rubber comes from?  Looking for something educational to do with the family, or simply interested in seeing part of one of Tanzania’s agricultural industries?  This half day trip takes you to a local rubber plantation where the friendly manager will show you around the farm.  Follow the progression of the rubber from the trees being planted through the harvesting of the latex right up to the basic processing to get the product ready to be transported away from Kilombero and out of Tanzania, here it will be turned into tyres, wellington boots and all sorts of other useful products.

Magombero Forest

Nearby Hondo Hondo lies a small fragment of forest, isolated from the main National Park and from the Selous Game Reserve 15km the other way.  This forest fragment is all that remains of the carpet of trees which once lay across the Kilombero Valley floor, and it is now surrounded by sugar cane plantation and other agricultural land use.  Within the forest you can find a plethora of bird life and also a heavy concentration of primates, particularly colobus.  A half day trip here can be done on bicycle from Hondo Hondo and is a great way to spend a few hours without hiking into the National Park itself.