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Kilombero
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Kilombero

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... is an enormous remote valley in the southern region of Tanzania, which contains one of the greatest wetland areas in East Africa.

The Kibasira Swamp extends over 100km east to west and is the source of the Kilombero river, which flows through a network of gorges to join the Rufiji river inside the adjacent Selous game reserve.

This whole area is very little-visited. The town of Ifakara on the northern access point is remote enough, but is only the gateway to the distant landscapes that lie beyond.

South from the ferry which crosses the river at Ifakara, a dirt track leads around the southern fringes of the wetland. There are several forest and riverine reserves in which large mammals including elephant and lion still roam, although wildlife is under increasing threat from small-scale agriculture and commercial teak plantations.


How we like to include this area in trips ...

Although we have very much enjoyed visiting Kilombero over the years, the truth is that it is far too remote and peripheral for us to recommend to any but the most intrepid travellers.


Itete Mission is the only accommodation this far south and can be used by the extremely adventurous as a base to explore the landscapes and villages of this wonderfully remote corner. The church provides very basic accommodation, but meals taken around a long refectory table with all the various characters from the mission can be very entertaining.


The relatively few visitors who visit Kilombero tend to do so in combination with the key elements of interest in Tanzania South, notably Ruaha safari, Selous safari, Udzungwa Mountains safari and Mikumi safari.

Serious safari travellers often combine Tanzania South with further safari options in the Tanzania North region, including Serengeti safari, Ngorongoro safari, Tarangire safari and Lake Manyara safari.

Some visitors also combine with options further afield including Mount Kilimanjaro treks in the northeast of the country, Katavi safari and Mahale Mountains chimpanzee safari out west, Maasai Mara safari over the border in Kenya and Virunga Mountains gorilla safari over in Rwanda.

These mainland areas are also commonly combined with nights down on the Tanzania Coast, especially on Zanzibar Island, Pemba Island, Mafia Island or Fanjove Island, usually in trips of 10 to 21 nights.

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Jay Hanson
Jay Hanson, Senior Safari Consultant
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