Hiking One of Tanzania’s Last Tropical Coastal Forests
Much of Tanzania’s coastline has been damaged by heavy deforestation, but thanks to conservationist Charles Dobie, more than 100 acres of lush tropical, coastal forest have been preserved in pristine condition.
The forest is situated on the relatively undiscovered southern Tanzania coastline, just 35km south of Dar es Salaam, and is one of the most bio-diverse indigenous coastal forests in East Africa.
The forest is home to more than 132 different species of trees, including mango trees and the Marula tree (prized for its rich bounty of fruit, and the oil from the kernel, which is used to make moisturizer). Four species of monkey cavort in the forest, including the black-and-white colobus, as well as many species of birds, baboons, and wild pigs.
This lush section of coastline is home to Ras Kutani (www.selous.com/ras-kutani), a unique boutique beach retreat. Ras Kutani offers the epitome of barefoot-luxury and a hideaway for those seeking solace, luxury and peace and quiet. The accommodations comprise of nine open-fronted spacious cottages, each with a large verandah with a covered sand floor, seating area, hammocks and views of the lagoon, beach and Indian Ocean
Dobie, who owns Ras Kutani, is committed to forest preservation, and hopes to share that passion with visitors. The resort offer From Tree To Tree self-guided tours, which steer guests through this eclectic ecosystem on a fascinating hike. The corresponding map highlights each point of interest along the walk from the wild custard apple shrubs to the African Breadfruit trees, where you’re likely to find Sykes’ monkeys, yellow baboons, Blue Duiker and Giant African land snails.
The forest isn’t the only attraction, though. The temperate seas and proximity of coral reefs ensure a wealth of marine life. Dolphins, whales, turtles and other sea life frequent these waters, and there’s even a shipwreck for divers and snorkelers to explore. Complimentary snorkelling equipment, kayaks and boogie boards are available for guests. In season, turtles come to nest along the beach and guests are invited to get involved in projects that look out for their welfare.
If You Go
Africa Odyssey (Toll Free 1-866-356-4691 / www.africaodyssey.com) offers seven nights at Ras Kutani, followed by a three-night safari experience at the boutique Selous Safari Camp from $5,611 per person (saving $1,400 per person).