Mazumbai bronchure


Mazumbai Forest Reserve is a 320 ha of montane evergreen rainforest stretching from 1300 to 1900 meters above sea level located in Lushoto District in the West Usambara Mountains between latitude 4o50’S and longitude 38o30’E. The forest reserve is one of the best examples of pristine rainforest of this type remaining in East Africa. The forest not only serves as a sanctuary for rare and endemic plant and animal species in Usambara mountains, but also provides water catchment proprieties essential to the surrounding human population. The forest is owned and managed by Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA).


Short history

Mazumbai Forest Reserve was originally on the Mazumbai Coffee Estate which was presented to the company’s first Swiss manager, Mr. HugoTanner on his retirement in 1944. In 1968 the son of Hugo Tanner, John Tanner then donated the forest to the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) with the stipulation that it be preserved and that visiting researchers would be welcome to study there. In addition in 1982 when he left the country, he donated again to UDSM a chalet which he was living at Mazumbai to serve as accommodation to visitors.

The management of Mazumbai Forest Reserve at UDSM was under the custodian of the Division of Forestry of the Faculty of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Sciences at Morogoro until 1984 when the Faculty was transformed into a full-fledged University and became known as Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) and the Division of Forestry was elevated to Faculty of Forestry. Hence SUA inherited the forest reserve which was allocated to the Faculty of Forestry (now Faculty of Forestry and Nature Conservation) as a custodian. Consequently forest managers, forest guards and forest attendants are employed by SUA to ensure that local villagers do not take fuel wood or medicinal herbs from the forest.


Weather Conditions

Mazumbai receives 1230 mm annual rainfall which is divided into two rainy seasons: the short rains from October to December and the longer more reliable rains from April to June. The estimated evapo-transpiration of the forest is 110 mm annually meaning a surplus of water is produced every year. The mean annual temperature is 15°C with coldest period being May, June and July with 12°C and driest period being in January, February and March with 20°C.


Vegetation and Flora


Mazumbai Forest Reserve vegetation is stratified into five vegetation communities located in different altitudinal bands of the forest:- (a) at 1468 masl: Sorindeia usambarensisParinary exelsaNewtonia buchananii forest, (b) at 1515 masl: Strombosia scheffleriCraibea brevicaudataPachysteh msoloIsoberlina scheffleri forest, (c) at 1527 masl: Syzygium guineenseSorindeia usambarensisParinari exelsaNewtonia buchananii forest., (d) at 1662 masl: Ocotea usambarensis – Syzygium guinenseParinari exelsa forest and (e) at 1770 masl: Agauria salicifolia – Ocotea usambarensis – Cryptocarya liebertina forest.

The emergent tree species reach heights over 50m and diameters up to 2 meters. In addition many porous huge trees are supported by huge buttresses and have long creeping roots. Typical lower storey plants include species of Dracaena, Maytenus and Rauvolfia.

The forest is also important for the Africa violets (Saintpaulia spp) and a number of fungi and foliicolous lichens.



Mazumbai Forest Reserve is a haven to a variety of animal species. Some of the forest animals include Rock hyrax (Heterohyrax brucei), Tree hyrax (Dendrohyrax arboreus), bushpig (Potamochoerus porcus), bush baby and elephant shrew, blue monkey (Cercopithecus mitis), Forest duiker (Cephalophus grimmia), Abbot’s duiker (C. spadix), Suni (Neotragus moschatus), Civet (Civettictus civetta), Angolan black and white colobus monkey (Colobus angolensis), and squirrels (Protoxerus spp).

There are also various types of poisonous and non-poisonous snakes including green mamba, green bush snake, gaboon viper, Usambara bush viper and boom slung. The forest is also a birds paradise and has an endemic rare banded green sunbird. The forest also has many types of amphibian including the endangered Mazumbai Warty Frog (Callulina kisiwamsitu) which is both ground-dwelling and tree climbing.


Accommodation and other facilities

Mazumbai Forest Reserve has two beautiful Swiss chalets built in 1940’s which they can accommodate 12 people. The chalets grand living rooms are heated by a warm fireplace, creating an ambience of relaxation after long hikes in the forest. In addition the centre provide cutleries and kitchen assistance to visitors and also there is small library with collections of research reports mainly about the Mazumbai forest and adjacent forests and villages which are made available to researchers and students as reference materials.


Visitors’ camp at Mazumbai

The chalets are surrounded with a tranquil well-tended flower gardens and evergreen lawns with beauty that enchants the visitor. The lawns are also used as camping sites. There is also enough supply of unpolluted fresh water originating from streams in the forest. The water is also used to run a Swiss hydroelectric generator to produce electricity for lighting in the houses.


Research and field practical training


Mazumbai Forest Reserve has been attracting field practical training and research activities by local and foreign students, staff and researchers in the fields of botany, forestry, zoology and other sciences, including tropical forest ecology.

Since 1995 the forest reserve has managed to host and maintain the School for International Training (SIT) from United States of America (USA) who brings their students to Mazumbai to conduct field practical and independent study project (ISP). Currently there are more than 100 ISP reports at Mazumbai library since the SIT programme started.


Visitors attractions

Some of the attractions at Mazumbai Forest Reserve include:

      i.        Natural forest

    ii.        Swiss hydroelectric power generator

   iii.        Beautiful scenery of Swiss chalets, flower gardens and evergreen lawns

   iv.        Nature trails:-

a.      Kwangoto mountain: It takes 4-5 hours walk to view different type of trees, vegetation communities and different animals such as rock hyrax.

b.      Kwamshunde road: it takes 1-2 hours walk to watch nocturnal animals including elephant shrew and view water fall and streams

c.      Kwemapipa area: it takes 2-3 hours walk to view big trees with huge battress and long creeping roots and watch bush pigs.

d.      Kwemamboma area: it takes 2-3 hours walk to watch different type of trees with different size of buttresses

e.      Mayo road: it takes 2-3 hours walk to watch birds, black and white colobus monkey, chameleon  and nocturnal bush baby (komba)


How to reach Mazumbai

The Mazumbai Forest Reserve is 55 km from Mombo town, along the Dar-es-Salaam/Arusha highway. From Mombo, a 15 km drive on a paved road will take you to Soni town.  From Soni a 25 km drive on an all-weather earth road to Bumbuli town. Then a 15 km drive from Bumbuli to Mazumbai Forest Reserve


Map of Tanzania showing the location of Mazumbai Forest Reserve in the insert






Mazumbai Forest Reserve

P.O.Box 152, Soni Tanzania


E-mail: or





Name of employee




Saidi S. Kiparu

Principal Forester and Forest Manager



Julius M. Mhema

Assistant Superintendent of Auxiliary Police



Salum A. Nkaya

Senior Office Attendant



Richard M. Mndolwa

Assistant Inspector of Auxiliary Police



Daudi J. Shekibua

Cook II



Joyce B. Makeve

Corporal of Auxiliary Police



Yose W. Kaniki

Forest Attendant II



Abasi A. Mhema

Forest Attendant II



Imamu J. Gendo

Forest Attendant II



Godfrey F. Mhema

Forest Attendant II



Christopher M. Walisha

Forest Attendant II