Nestled at the base of the central Usambara Mountains, the Amani Nature Reserve is well off the beaten path of the usual safari circuit, but makes a perfect stopover on longer trips and while driving to the Swahili Coast. It’s quiet, tranquil setting offers the perfect opportunity to relax from the rigourous schedule of vehicle-based safaris. Although the area has been the focus of conservation efforts and botanical research for over a century, the Amani Nature Reserve has only been a protected area since 1997. International efforts to preserve the beauty of the Usambara forests within its boundaries have met with much local success.
Guided nature walks, prohibited in Tanzania’s national parks, are a unique feature of the nature reserve and offer an exciting opportunity to view the flora and fauna of the area up close. For the aspiring African botanist, Amani Nature Reserve’s incredible diversity of plant life — between 600 to 1,000 different species — is sure to attract. The East Usambara Conservation Area Management Programme created and maintains the nature trails, as well as training guides in an effort to encourage village collaboration and conservation efforts. Short or long walks can be arranged, and the guides are very knowledgeable about local species, bird and insect life, and traditional plant uses.