Template Image Utengule Sights & Activities
Here is a selection of the sights and activities that we at the lodge recommend our guests to visit and experience. Click on the link below the map to get a more detailed view of the surroundings.

View Sights and Acitivties for the Utengule Coffee Lodge in a larger map

Dar es Salaam to Mbeya
Wildlife Parks

Utengule Coffee Lodge and vicinity
The Rift Valley | Mbeya Peak

Mbeya to Tunduma Road
Songwe Bat Caves and Hot Springs | Mbozi Meteorite

Mbeya to Tukuyu/Lake Nyasa
Ngozi Crater Lake
Kaporogwe Waterfalls | Kiwira Natural Bridge

Lake Nyasa and vicinity
Lake Nyasa & Matema Village | The Matema Pot Market Ikombe Village Market

Kimani and Chimala Area
Nyeugenge/Kimani Waterfalls | Kitulo National Park

The Rift Valley

Utengule is inside the Rift Valley although at an elevated point offering a majestic view over the huge plain. It is here where two tectonic plates of the earth crust move apart, it is therefore geologically a highly interesting area. Geographically Utengule lies between Lake Tanganyika and Lake Nyasa, which both form part of the Rift.

The central area of the valley is rugged with several rivers and there are a number of interesting things to see. Hot springs boil water from deep underground to the surface, there are big bat caves and on several locations beautiful marble is excavated from the valley walls. Geologists and Scientists regularly visit the area in search of dinosaur fossils.

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Kitulo National Park

The recently established Kitulo National Park is yet rather unknown and seldom visited. It contains one of the most incredible natural flower gardens on earth and is home to countless rare botanical species. Among flower enthusiasts it is particularly well-known for the large number of orchides and the carpets of Red Hot Poker, which is best between December and March each year.

The Park can be reached within 1 1/2 hours drive and more information are available at Tanzania Parks.

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Mbeya Peak

The 2826 meters high Mbeya Peak rises majestically into the sky right behind the Utengule Coffee Lodge. It is the dominant part of the Mbeya range, which flanks the Rift Valley on the northern side. There are two routes to the top of the mountain and in both cases a local guide is strongly recommended:

Tough route: Start in the very early morning hours at the Utengule Coffee Lodge and walk through the Acacia hills behind the Lodge straight towards the mountain. This walk brings you through grassland, local fields and villages to the foot of the mountain. You may ascend the Peak over the left or the right reach – the latter is the easier walk. The walk up and down, with a good rest on top will take you about 9 – 10 hours

Easy route: Drive early morning by car to the Lunji Farm, which is near the foot of the mountain. Start your walk from the coffee fields and approach the Peak from the right side. Don’t forget to turn around from time to time and admire the magnificent view into the mighty Rift Valley below you. This route will take about 3.5 hours to the top and 2.5 hours down.

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Songwe Bat Caves and Hot Springs

First of all, Bring a torch! You'll need it in this massive system of caves where the bats dwell. About 28 km from Mbeya turn right almost immediately after the bridge that crosses the Songwe river. Continue up the hill and enter limestone country! You'll find plenty of lime kilns lying around. The kilns are worth looking at! Leave your vehicle at the top of the escarpment, by the barracks, and make your way down to the cave entrance on foot.

Bat Caves
These lie along a small scarp in the limestone on the lefthand side. They can be entered through horizontal gaps in the rock. Take caution entering as there are very deep holes made to excavate the bat guano. With a torch and care, it is however, possible to explore the cave and see both bats and porcupine.

Hot Springs
If the path is followed down and into the valley below the bat caves, a series of small hotsprings can be found. The colouration of the rock surrounding the hot spring is due to minerals and algae.

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Mbozi Meteorite

The Mbozi meteorite, the world’s 8th largest, is a rare and unusual sight and impresses by it’s weight of 12 tons. Probably after flying for millions of years through space, it hit the earth’s surface at least a thousand years ago. Before it touched the atmosphere it must have been a multiple of its size but the rest burned all up on the way down to the ground. The Mbozi Meteorite belongs to the Siderites and consists of extremely hard material, mainly iron.

The meteorite was first reported by W.H. Nott in October 1930. Only a small section was visible above the ground but later it was fully excavated and a supporting foundation built. There are no legends about the fall and no crater visible and it is almost certain that it arrived many thousand years ago.

The drive to the Mbozi Meterorite from Utengule takes about 1¼ hours on mostly good roads.

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Ngozi Crater Lake

The 2621 meters high Ngosi mountain is a volcano which went silent probably a million years ago. The centre of the mountain collapsed and filled with rainwater up to about 200 meters below the rim of the caldera. Depending the source the crater lake is said to be 3 – 800 meters deep.

There are local legends surrounding this mystic place and the local people believe the rain god is living inside the crater together with a mighty serpent which has magical power…

The flanks of the mountain are covered by a magnificent highland forest, featuring huge trees and beautiful flowers. The area is often submerged in a mixture of swirling clouds and strong sunlight, making the visit of this place a truly unique experience.

The foot of the mountain can be reached from Utengule in a bit more than one hours drive. Ngosi crater is located near the road to Lake Nyasa and can therefore conveniently be combined with a visit to the Lake.

The walk to the crater rim takes about 45 minutes and it is recommended to hire a local guide.

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Kaporogwe/Makete Waterfalls

These impressive falls are created when the Kiwira river hurls itself over a ledge of basalt lava resting on softer Karoo sandstone. Take a walk to the bottom of the falls and look up at the massive falls as they plunge down. Utimately go to the vista point/picnic spot located behind the falls, underneath a huge slab of basalt, where you get to see the back of the falls.

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Kiwira Natural Bridge

Also known as Daraja la Mungu (The Bridge of God) is a natural rock bridge formed by lava from Mount Rungwe over the Kiwira river. It is a beautiful sight and why not stay for a picnic and enjoy the amazing view while you're there. The bridge itself can be crossed with care.

Legend has it that Chief Mkwawa's mother commited suicide here by throwing herself into the river through a small crack, below which the river is visible.

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Lake Nyasa and Matema Village

At the northern end of Lake Nyasa lies the fishing village Matema. The smooth sand beach in this area combined with the massive Livingstone Mountains to the left provides for a spectacular sight – doubtlessly one of the most beautiful places of Africa. Lake Nyasa is a warm clear water lake, which is filled with colourful aquarium fish. People in the area live primarily from smallholder agriculture and fishing. In the mornings and evenings the fisherman set the nets from dugout canoes in total silence.

Please visit http://wildcichlids.com/ for further info on Lake Malawi.

The place is perfect for families even with small children and apart from swimming in the warm water there are numerous other activities. With simple diving goggles one can admire the colourful fish, there is an ancient pottery at Ikombe village further down the shore and there are several exciting hiking routes to the Livingstone mountains.

Matema is a place where one can also just rest and enjoy the feeling of an unspoiled and tranquil Africa. The mornings and evening light is splendid and invites for a stroll along the shore.

There is the Matema Beach Resort guesthouse which offers single and double room accommodation. Drinks are available at the reception and simple food can be ordered from the Resort cook but there is no regular restaurant operation. Utengule can provide special services in this respect.

Matema can be reached from Utengule in about 3 hours over mainly good roads. The drive leads through village area where the cultivation of tea, cocoa and tropical fruits can be seen..

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The Matema Pot Market

On Saturday mornings, pots are brought by canoe from the neighbouring village of Ikombe to be sold at a busy general market. The market is held about 1 km along the shore from the Lutheran Guest House. At the market you'll find many things up for sale, ranging from pots and pans to clothes and vegetables.

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Ikombe Village

The pots which are commonly on sale in Mbeya and Matema markets are made by the women of this village. The material used is a whiteish clay produced from a great intrusion of feldspar. If you're up for it you can go there and see them being made. The village is reached by continuing along the lakeshore past the market and following a track which goes along the side of the cliff or by canoe.

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Kimani River and Nyeugenge Waterfall

The lonely valley down which this river falls stretches southwards from the road for some 25 km. Only one small village lies within it, but more that one waterfall. 80 km from Makambako the road passes through the village of Kimani, and crosses the river. Immediately after the bridge a track leads off through houses to the left. Drive through the houses until you meet a larger road, which used to be the original gravel road. Keep a look out for a small white building perched up on top of a hill to the right.

Waterfall Picnic Site
The road to the left continues to near a small waterfall with a good pool for swimming and shady trees in the dry season. It is possible to wade across the river, or make ones way across the rocks.

Nyeugenge Waterfall
From the first waterfall continue on the track up the valley for 17 km. This road was made when the Ministry of Water constructed a water takeoff and pipeline to supply water to the villages on the main road, it passes through "miombo" woodland - in the months of September and October beautifully colored in tones of copper, bronze, green and gold - autumn in the spring. A sign on a tree indicates a branch off to the left, and a short distance along this branch one comes to the end of the road. The waterfall, a magnificent drop of some 120 meters is a beautiful sight in front of you. One can walk down to the base of the falls, and there is a pool in which one can swim if the river is not too high. The main track continues two or three km further to the top of the falls, but unfortunately the Water Authorities have closed off the track to vehicles. However, if you have the time and the inclination you can walk, or leave the car at the barrier and then walk one or two kilometers beyond the top of the falls there is a magnificent sump. To reach it climb the right-hand slope and follow the river round to where it takes a sudden bend and is flowing in a gorge at the head off which is a fine fall. At the top of this fall, the river plunges down a hole and flows out with force half way down the cliff. During the rains, when the river is high, the whole sump is covered. This area is now inside the Mpanga-Kipengere Game Reserve.

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Wildlife Parks

The Mikumi National Park is crossed by car on route between Dar es Salaam and Mbeya and is a convenient overnight stop over. The Ruaha National Park lies east of Utengule and can be reached either by chartered plane in one hour or by car in seven hours.

Click on the link to find out more about Mikumi National Park.

Please visit the website of our partner camp in Ruaha www.tandalatentedcamp.com

Wildlife photos courtesy of Carl Jägersten.

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