Our base of operations is in a small village called 'Mbingu', Swahili for 'Heaven', and it is easy to see where the name comes from. Mbingu is fairly rural, approximately sixty kilometers from the nearest tarred road or electricity.
Located within the Kilombero Valley, in Morogoro Region. Kilombero is bordered on one side by the Udzungwa mountains, part of which is protected by a national park. Udzungwa Mountain National Park is famous for its bird, primate, and elephant species. The elephants are especially interesting as they are one of only a handful of populations of savannah elephants in a mountainous setting. Unfortunately due to increasing levels of deforestation for rice planting, elephant-human interaction is increasing. Our friends at the Southern Tanzania Elephant Project are doing an excellent job of working with local communities to reduce any threats of conflict. Tanzania has been suffering from a massive increase in elephant poaching over the past five years and we regret to say that the Udzungwa elephants have also been affected.
We are between a ten and fifteen hour drive from Tanzania's main city of Dar es Salaam, and the closest international airport. The driving time varies depending on the state of the road. Part of the drive takes us through the Mikumi National Park - it's rare to make the drive without seeing big game from the road. During most of the year the route is passable, but during heavy rains the last couple of hundred kilometres can get a bit muddy!