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Southern Highlands- What to See/Do?

Seattle, Washington
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Southern Highlands- What to See/Do?

My boyfriend and I will be traveling in the Southern Highlands to visit a friend in Morogoro in July/August. We are student travelers so as much as we would like to do a southern circuit safari, after some initial research we are realizing it probably won't be an option. Any suggestions on other things to do/see in the vicinity of Iringa, Morogoro, and Mikumi? Is it feasible to do a day-trip or 1 night safari in Ruaha or Mikumi? We've heard that the Kilombero wetlands and Udzungwa forest are cool, but don't know a lot about them. Thanks, as always, for your advice!

Edinburgh, United...
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1. Re: Southern Highlands- What to See/Do?

Oh lucky you! This is a really idyllic part of rural Tanzania, and there's tons to do there- last time I was in Iringa I even I had a full guided tour of the chilli sauce factory, but that's probably not for everyone... Some great hiking certainly in the area. You'll also be passing right through Mikumi, so you should actually see some wildlife from the bus (make sure you get window seats!) I saw my very first wild elephants this way- just incredible.

However, I would really urge you to try to do even a night in Ruaha or Mikumi- safari is utterly magical and definitely worth pushing the boat out for- it broke my budget into bits in my backpacking days, and I have never regretted it, even though it meant I had to spend the next 6 weeks sitting on the beach eating next to nothing. Getting down to Ruaha would be the ultimate, but the additional distance means cost, so perhaps Mikumi would be your best bet. A short trip out of Morogoro would probably be your best bet, and if your friend is there they may we be able to put you in touch with someone reputable. If not, I always recommend the Bradt guide to anyone visiting Tanzania, but if you're looking to keep costs down, I'd also suggest Lonely Planet (and perhaps also posting on their Thorntree Forum which has quite a few budget travellers on it).

Have an amazing trip,

Alexandra Matts- Travel Director- Extraordinary Africa

melbourne
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2. Re: Southern Highlands- What to See/Do?

The Udzungwa forest is really "cool",, beautiful birds and if you are lucky Red Colubus monkeys...very rare and only found there. There are some guest houses really close by and the park is fantastic for walks.

I would do a safari in Ruaha 1 night if I had the chance you should be able to set this up from Iringa.

The River and Elephants not to mention lion and Kudu. make Ruaha special.

While there I would not miss Ismilia the stone age site not far from Iringa....shouldn't be missed stone axes lying in the sand as you walk around with other stone age tools.....The place is beautiful.

For people who want to travel on the cheap local transport with local guest houses.....the Rough Guide is by far the best guide book.....my view.

The author travelled around Tz on the cheap so has some great insights.

Edited: 10 June 2014, 10:21
3. Re: Southern Highlands- What to See/Do?

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Brisbane, Australia
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4. Re: Southern Highlands- What to See/Do?

I did a lot of research on this area a while ago, and found a TO in Iringa who could provide lots of suggestions and also arrange a trip to Ruaha & all other places you are interested in. They are tatanca safaris, and Rose was very responsive and helpful to email with. This trip is still on the backburner for me, for my second trip. Hope this might help

Findlay, Ohio
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5. Re: Southern Highlands- What to See/Do?

Look at the list of Top Questions about Tz on the right side of this web page. The 6th question from the bottom of the list ( How can I get a very inexpensive safari for a couple of days? ) will tell you how to do a safari at Mikumi for the least cost.

I have done a one day safari at Ruaha many times. When I'm in Iringa I sometimes will drive out to Ruaha very early in the morning and return in the late afternoon for a one day trip to Ruaha. If you stay at the MR Hotel in the city center they will be able to arrange for this from the front desk. The MR Hotel is a good hotel, very inexpensive (I think I paid about $12 for a room there, but don't remember for certain.)

Findlay, Ohio
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6. Re: Southern Highlands- What to See/Do?

I should have also mentioned, when you are in Morogoro you might want to go our to Sokoine University of Agriculture (just outside town on the Iringa Road, off to the left as you are leaving town). They have a Hero Rat project there which is very interesting, and they welcome visitors. You can find them on the web at www.apopo.org/en/ They train African Pouch Rats to sniff out land mines and you can see the whole operation there. And you might even want to adopt a rat.

Seattle, Washington
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7. Re: Southern Highlands- What to See/Do?

Thanks everyone for your advice! Karl, I've heard of Hero Rats and it's awesome to hear that people can go see them, I'd love to check the project out.

Findlay, Ohio
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8. Re: Southern Highlands- What to See/Do?

I have been there several times, although not recently. The people operating this were very accommodating and friendly, and explained everything very thoroughly. The only problem which I had was I was in a closed room where they were training the rats to sniff gunpowder and recognize it. There was one rat scampering around on the floor. I had sandals on and I knew that rat was going to run over my feet, and that made me a tad anxious. I saw the trainer with another rat on his lap and he was petting it like he would a cat, I kept watching him do this and kept thinking to myself; if he can do this I can allow that rat to walk over my bare feet. The rat did, and I just stood there and let it. That was a tad unnerving for me.

9. Re: Southern Highlands- What to See/Do?

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