The Iraqw people inhabit the Mbulu Highlands south and west of the Ngorongoro Crater, where they have formed a very intensive agro-pastoralist livelihood. Deep valleys, terraced fields, houses perched on peaks or clinging to the edge of cliffs are typical to the enchanting landscape. Due to the high population density, most of the native forest has been cut-down for agriculture or to plant non-native trees for fuel and building material. However the Nou forest is a protected forest. The forest sounds like a forest from “nowhere” and indeed, it is an isolated little visited remnant of montane (highland) forest on the Mbulu plateau. Dorobo has collaborated with the neighboring Iraqw villages and the regional forest department to use the area for tourism which also supports its main purpose – a watershed area for the surrounding areas. The highland forests rarely have the large mammal densities of the savannah though there are still a few elephant using the area. But the old growth forest plants and trees are great and there are birds and critters one will not easily see elsewhere e.g. Olive Flanked Robin Chat & the Hanang Hornless Chameleon. A visit to Nou integrates cultural interaction with walking and exploring this enchanted forest.
The high elevation, cooler temperatures, fresh air filtered through a massive green canopy of leaves make this often a great place to spend a day or two for walking, learning forest ecology and a bit about the surrounding Iraqw people who are our hosts and guides while in the area. For those looking for a longer adventurous hike, a day hike to a remote waterfall is a must!
41 Years of Dorobo Safaris: Connecting People, Wildlife, and Education in the Heart of Tanzania's Natural Wonders