THE Udzungwa Mountains are a mountain range in southcentral Tanzania. The mountains are mostly within Iringa Region, south of Tanzania’s capital Dodoma.
The Udzungwa Mountains are part of the Eastern Arc Mountains, and are home to a biodiverse community of flora and fauna with large numbers of endemic species.
The mountains are home to the Hehe people, and the name Udzungwa comes from the Kihehe word “Wadzungwa”, which means the people who live on mountainsides. Iringa is the largest settlement in the mountains, and the regional headquarters.
The Undzungwa Mountains cover an area of 16,131.40 km², the largest of the Eastern Arc ranges. The highest peak in the range is Luhombero at 2,579 metres (8,461 ft). The mountain range extends generally northeast-southwest.
The Usangu Plain lies to the northwest, drained by the Great Ruaha River and its tributaries. The Great Ruaha River separates the Udzungwa Mountains from the Rubeho Mountains and Uvidunda Mountains to the northeast. The Kilombero River valley lies to the south and southeast.
To the southwest the Makambako Gap separates the Udzungwa Mountains from the Kipengere Range. Both the Great Ruaha and Kilombero rivers are tributaries of the Rufiji River, which empties into the Indian Ocean. The Lukosi River originates in the central part of the range, and empties eastwards into the Great Ruaha.
The Little Ruaha River and its tributaries drain much of the western portion of the range, emptying northwards into the Great Ruaha. The Udzungwa Mountains intercept moisture-laden winds from the Indian Ocean, and receive more rainfall than the surrounding lowlands.
Most of the rainfall occurs in the November-to-May wet season, although mist and light rain occur at higher elevations during the dry season months.