Southern Highlands (Tanzania)
Southern Highlands is a region of Tanzania.
Base yourself in Iringa to visit this region. New gates on the West of Uduzungwas make this park very accessible from the town and Ruaha is one of the hidden gems among Africas parks.
Mufindi is a short drive or bus journey from Iringa and worth a couple of days.
Too many people race past this gem of a place to try and get to the beaches of Zanzibar and miss on of the really inspiring places that Africa often keeps so well hidden.
Ruaha National Park is a stunningly beautiful park with the widest variety of wildlife in east Africa. It is the park all the people in the know go to. No traffic jams of safari vehicles which you find in the north and low park fees, currently only $20. Uduzungwas is an unexplored wilderness and a birder and hikers paradise. Get info from Riverside campsite on a fabulous new campsite near one of the new park entrances. Ask at Neema Crafts (a fabulous project in itself which is well worth a visit and a tour of their centre) about the rock paintings newly discovered in the area.
Isimilia stone Age Site is one of the best stone age sites in the world. It is just outside Iringa town and as an amazing array and number of stone age tools discovered at the site. A hike there through the gorge between the fabulous eroded towers of rock is well worth it.
Mufindi is a great place to stop to see another side of Africa. Wander amid lush fields of tea in stunning hill and forest scenery with breathtaking views. Stay at Matamba farm cottages or Foxes Highland lodge. A great place to go to unwind.
Do not pass through this beautiful part of Tanzania without at least a day or half day in Iringa and make sure you visit Neema Crafts Centre for People with disabilities. Ask for a tour of their centre and they will be happy to show you round. It is a truely heartwarming project and one of the most remarkable you will find in Africa. It is also a great place to get the lowdown on the sights and people of this region.
Neema Crafts Centre is the place to eat here. Great food, great prices in a great environment in the heart of Iringa. Wifi internet or use their internet cafe. Their Guest house/Hostel will be up and running in early/mid 2011
Local delicacies: chips mayai (chip omlete!), Ugali etc. for the more exotic in some villages you still find a few of the elders who eat Sondo. These are the grubs of various species of wood borer beetles from different acacia trees which they deep fry. They range in size from an inch long to four inches. If you can get you head around popping them in your mouth they are really very nice with an interesting texture!