13/128 Chapter
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  • udzungwa to ifakara
  • ifakara town
  • ifakara crossing
  • canoe trip
  • crossing to itete


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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.

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.
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