Mount Hanang stands as the third highest peak in Tanzania, following Kilimanjaro and Meru, with an elevation of 3,676 meters above sea level.
The mountain boasts steep slopes with varying vegetation as you ascend. Its western side is dominated by rocky terrain and steep slopes, while valleys and ridges characterize the eastern and southern sides.
Nestled in Manyara region, Tanzania, the Mount Hanang Nature Forest Reserve (MHNFR) is a stunning central government-protected area that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and rich biodiversity. Let’s take a closer look at this hidden gem in Tanzanian wilderness.
Where is Mount Hanang ? Location and Accessibility
Situated in Hanang District, the reserve spans an area between Latitude 040 25.00′ to 040 29.00′ South of the Equator and Longitude 350 21.64′ to 350 27.00′ East of Greenwich.
It’s approximately 4 kilometers North of Katesh Township, the administrative center of Hanang District. You can access the reserve from the Southern side at Katesh Township and the Eastern side at Gitting village, which is approximately 240 km from Arusha town.
The reserve covers an area of 5,871 hectares with a border length of 35.676 km.
Why should you climb Mount Hanang ?
1.Rich Biodiversity and Vegetation
MHNFR is renowned for its rich vegetation and diverse species, thanks to its wide altitudinal range and rainfall. The reserve features:
- Montane forest on the southern and northern slopes.
- Dry montane forest on the western slopes (between 1,980-2,780 m).
- Grassland and Bushland (between 2,100-2,700 m).
- Thicket at the reserve’s edge.
- Moorland, Heath, and upland above 2,700 m.
- Some of the dominant tree species include Juniperus procera, Albizia gummifera, Catha edulis, and more.
- The reserve is also home to a variety of wildlife, such as klipspringer, velvet monkeys, leopards, and a wide array of birds and insects.
2. Cultural Significance
Mount Hanang holds cultural significance for the Barbaig and Iraqw tribes, native to Hanang District. The majestic Ficus trees play a vital role in local worship ceremonies.
The three summits of Mt. Hanang offers breathtaking panoramic views of Hanang District, Soda lakes of Balang Dalalu and Gendabi, and other natural wonders.
3. Tourism and Accommodation
For travelers, clean and reasonably-priced hotels with excellent services are available in Katesh Township.
One option is the Summit Hotel, offering comfortable stays at just 10 USD per day. Local tour operators in Arusha and Babati can arrange transport to the reserve, along with experienced local tour guides.
In addition, Mount Hanang Forest Nature Reserve’s proximity to the great rift valley makes it an ideal destination for big game viewing and photographic tourism.
Explore the enchanting beauty of Mount Hanang and experience the best of Tanzania’s natural wonders and cultural heritage.