Agency’s Forest Conservator Charles Kaselya unveiled the plan over the weekend when briefing local tourists who were visiting the area located 17km from the country’s commercial capital—Dar es Salaam.
He said that the forest is home to velvet monkeys, black monkeys, butterflies, birds, dik-dik, duikers, adansonia digitata, and a wide range of snake species such as black mamba, and python. The reserve has a natural dam called Miwaleni, which houses fish species.
“In this area, there is a natural bridge called Mkangazi which is the main tourist attraction.”
According to him, there are 65 different tree species—Afzelia quanzensis, Annpna Senegalensis, hymenocardia Ulmoides, Warburgia Stahlmanii, and Erythroxylum Fischeri. “Most of those trees are suitable for medicinal and wood purpose but are not allowed for harvesting, it has been conserved for eco-tourism and research purpose,” he said.
The official called on Dar es Salaam residents to visit the area because it has a lot to offer them.
“We have decided to promote eco-tourism to earn revenue generated from eco-tourism activities and help communities living close to the forest to benefit from it in terms of employment and business,” Kaselya said.
Located in Mkuranga District, Coast Region, the reserve has 1,690 hectares of land and is endowed with natural tree species, which is suitable for medicinal and wood purposes, though they aren’t for harvesting.
In a bid to attract more tourists to visit there, TFS has built campsites for the visitors to camp and right now the agency invites investors who can build more accommodation facilities.
“We need accommodation facilities because tourists from Bulgaria and other foreign countries have started flocking to Vikindu Forest Reserve to see butterflies, natural dams, natural forests for research and learning purpose including other tourists’ attractions,” he said.
“TFS will soon construct two towers inside the forest reserve while tourists will be able to climb the towers to view all the forest reserve as well as view the whole Dar es Salaam city. We’ll also create a butterfly garden inside the forest reserve to allow tourists watch it and take photo more easily because is the best tourists attractions that attract more international visitors.”
In this financial year, the agency will construct msonge house, kitchen, reception office, rest house and restaurants where visitors will get meals.
Kaselya added: “Tourists can organize picnic inside the forest where a group of guests can eat, use toilet facilities and enjoy the scenery, we have shades, benches that have been made for visitors.”
According to him, the fee charged for local tourists keen to visit the area is 2,000/- per adult, children 1,000/- while foreigners are US$ 10 for adults while children are about US$ 5.