'The Land of Waterfalls'
The Reserve was officially established in 2002 covering a total area of 1,574.25 Km2. . It is located between altitudinal range of 1,080 metres and 2,858 metres above sea level falling within three Districts of Wanging’ombe to the East, Makete to the South in Njombe region and Mbarali District to the north and northwest in Mbeya region. The Reserve consists of the Kipengere, Mpanga, Lugala, and Chafukwe Mountains, which provides scenery of beautiful green mountains, sprawling plains, dramatic valleys, and snaking rivers with unique waterfalls.
The Reserve lies between latitudes 8°50’S and 9°10’S and between longitudes 34°00’E and 34°30’E forming the part of natural features known as the Southern Highlands. The highlands form a great Arc of high ground 1300-3000m, where the Kipengere Ranges border Kitulo Plateau to the west.
The main office of the Reserve is located at Ilembula town along Njombe to Mbeya road.
Visitors are enchanted by an intricate network of trails weaving through the “brooding and primeval” forests of Mpanga Kipengere Game Reserve Mountains. There is a hike for everyone, from a half day trek to the strenuous multiple days, expedition up the Mountains through dramatic valleys carpeted by beautiful flowers and dotted with magnificent waterfalls. The most popular, however, is a day hike to the magnificent Kimani Waterfall, which plunges 70 meters into a picturesque jungle valley. Swimming at the bottom is part of the fun! In addition to hiking, visitors can enjoy mountain biking and climbing.
Mpanga Kipengere Game Reserve is the most popular for recreation. There, nature lovers, mountaineers and hikers are treated to wonderful views of cascading waterfalls, snaking rivers and colorful flowers. Visiting the picturesque Kimani waterfalls is a must when visiting the reserve. The Reserve is filled with beautiful plants including the tuberous orchid. Like other attractions in the Southern Highlands, it also has its fair share of endemic species. These wonders include the nosed chameleon, marsh widow, Njombe cisticola, Kipengere seedeater, and the very rare Fufumka bird. The reserve is also a home for migratory bird species.
Wildlife Available in the Game Reserve
The reserve harbors diverse species of small to mega fauna including mammals such as the Greater Kudu, Common duiker, Baboon, Steinbuck, Dik dik, klipspringer, Senegal dwarf galago, Otters and Vervet monkeys to mention a few. For Bird watchers, the Reserve claims its fame for bird watching as it hosts birds like Denham’s bustard, Njombe cisticola, Kipengere seed eater, Red winged starling, Ash starling, blue swallow and a good number of migratory species in different seasons of the year. Reptiles and amphibians are also but of the inhabitants of the reserve where lucky visitors can see Monitor lizards, Nosed chameleon, Serrated hinged terrapins, Natal sand frog and Bufo spp.
The Kipengere range of mountains like their neighbors of the Eastern Arc are extremely biodiverse. As a part of the “African Galapagos,” as many call the region, the ranges are home to thousands of endemic plant and animal species. The reserve has two main habitats types which are afro-montaneforest- grassland mosaic and mid-altitude miombo woodland.
The reserve offers unmatched camping experience to visitors who love to go óff the beaten track’ to explore natural beauty, star gazing, sharing food and drink together. Each campsite offers dramatic view and are installed with standard washroom facilities, provisional kitchen space with shade, dining area with reliable water supply. Furthermore there are several accommodation facilities of different budgets that visitors can opt to use in the nearby towns of Makambako and Mbeya.
One can visit the reserve at any time of the year but the best time is from June – December where most of the areas are accessible as water decreases in the rivers and allow people to trek to different attractions found in the reserve.
The high way from Dar es Salaam – Mbeya to Zambia (TANZAM ROAD) passes along its northern boundary at Ilembula town provides easy and reliable access to the game reserve.
The reserve can also be accessed through railway transport using Tanzania-Zambia railway (TAZARA) scheduled train from Makambako Rujewa and Igurusi stations. From there visitor can drive to Mpanga Kipengere head office at Ilembula along Njombe –Mbeya Trunk road.
There is no reliable airstrip within the reserve but it is possible for one to fly to nearby airstrips at Ilembula, Chimala and Njombe by chattered planes or Songwe International Airport – Mbeya. Distance from Mbeya town to the reserve entrance gate is 88.3 Km and 110.2 Km from Songwe International Airport.
Mpanga Kipengere Game Reserve,
P.O Box 66,