Uporoto, Kipengere, and Livingstone Ranges
The Eastern Arc Mountains offer the best panoramic Tourist Attractions. Not only do the famous wildlife parks in northern Tanzania offer the best tourist attractions by their animal diversity. Birdlife, natural forests, waterfalls, and natural scenery are unbeatable tourist attractions easily found in the Eastern Arc Mountains, covering a large geographical area of eastern Tanzania.
Their cool weather is exceptional. Southern Highlands of Tanzania is the most attractive destination, dominated by the Eastern Arc Mountains, made up of Uporoto, Kipengere, and Livingstone ranges.
The Eastern Arc Mountains are listed as a global biodiversity hotspot. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) recognizes the Eastern Arc Mountains as a “Global 2000 Hotspot”. Conservation International ranks the Eastern Arc Mountains together with the East African Coastal Forests as the 24th most important global biodiversity hotspot for plant endemism. Combined, these 24 top biodiversity hotspots hold almost 50 percent of the world’s plant species within their borders.
In the Eastern Arc, these high levels of flora and fauna species endemism are contained in only 5,000 square kilometers of highly fragmented and isolated forests; hence the synonymous title of “The Galapagos of Africa”. The Eastern Arch forests maintain vital water catchments badly needed by communities in the surrounding villages, dry low lands, and several major urban centers in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania.
Eastern Arc is also the source of timber and other forest products in the Southern Highlands, notably the scenic Sao Hill, Mgololo, and other forests in the Iringa, Njombe, and Mbeya regions. Timber is the leading economic activity for communities living in Mufindi, Njombe, and Mafinga localities.
The mountains provide favorable weather conditions for tea plantations covering the Southern Highlands of Tanzania, which are major economic activities in those areas. Uporoto Mountains, Kipengere, and the Livingstone Mountains in Mbeya are rich with avifauna (birdlife) and plants. The Eastern Arc mountains, on the other side, stand as the major source of income for local communities in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania, while providing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in those areas.
Under good management of resources, the Eastern Arc ranges would support economic development in local communities, hence, raising the level of income generation among local communities depending on their resources.