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Magoroto Forest Estate: The Perfect Tanga Getaway

 

Camping in Tanga

Magoroto Forest Estate is Tanzania’s newest forest retreat situated near Muheza, Tanga, about 6 hours drive from Dar Es Salaam. It has a tropical rain forest climate with spices, birds and a man-made lake, making it the perfect getaway from the city. It was originally set up by German colonisers who wanted to create a lake to relax at (after a hard day’s colonising I guess?) After passing through many different hands, it is finally open to the public for the enjoyment of all.

Magoroto Forest Tanzania

Getting there:

It is possible to reach Magoroto Forest by public transport, if you are willing to take a boda boda from Muheza village. However, I chose to travel with a group. Solo travel in Tanzania can be expensive and difficult so I was really excited to hear about Unzip Tanzania.

Unzip Tanzania are a new travel collective who organise group trips to off-the-beaten-path destinations in Tanzania. They organise everything from camping equipment to transport to meals, making it an easy and affordable way to see this huge country. Plus there’s the added bonus of having a cool bunch of people to share the travel experience with!

I spent 3 days at Magoroto Forest, although 4 would be perfect. Once your body starts relaxing, it’s hard to want to board a bus back to the city, so I suggest taking 4 full days to truly unwind. That being said, I’ll give you my 3 day itinerary as it fits perfectly into a normal weekend break.

Day 1: Arrival, tent setting and sleep!

The drive to Magoroto Forest from Dar es Salaam is an adventure in itself. It’s a 4-6 hour drive on pretty mountainous terrain so I was glad to be in a bus full of fun people to make the journey seem quicker! Once we began the drive up the mountain from Muheza, I knew we were on our way to somewhere special. The views were spectacular (although I recommend closing your eyes if you’re afraid of heights!) When we arrived, it was already dark so we just ate and pitched our tents. I fell asleep easily in the cool mountain air and woke up to this breathtaking view.

Magoroto Forest Tanzania

I love how they have incorporated the camping area on the lakeside so we really felt at one with nature.

 

Day 2: Hiking, swimming and campfire fun

Magoroto Forest Tanzania

Day 2 began with breakfast with a view. We were then presented with three options- an easy, medium or hard hike. We were all low on sleep so I was relieved when the whole group decided on the medium option. Apparently the hard one has views the whole way to Mombasa but I honestly have no regrets…it gives me an excuse to go back!

If I’m honest, until this trip I will just say I was not hiking’s biggest fan! It has taken me a long time to admit that, because I love the views, the photo opportunities and the feeling of accomplishment, but hiking itself? It usually comes close to killing me!

This time was different though. First of all, for one of the first times in my life, I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t an experienced hiker. Usually I spend my time trying to keep up and pretending I’m still breathing but this time I was able to place myself solidly in the middle of the group and not have to fake an injury just to stop and take a breath. I had finally found my people!

Magoroto Forest Tanzania

Smiling faces for the whole hike!

The hike itself was not too difficult. The terrain was uneven and a long sustained incline, but the group atmosphere kept everyone moving. When we got to the top, we had to stop and take a few minutes silence at the view. Perfection!

Magoroto Forest

My favourite part of Magoroto Forest was the lake. It is set up perfectly for relaxation. There are rafts, a boat, tubes, sun loungers and even a diving board. I could have easily spent three full days relaxing here.

Magoroto Forest Tanzania

Day 3: More swimming, tree planting and the long journey home

On the way back to Dar es Salaam, Unzip revealed a bonus activity that they like to do everywhere they go- tree planting! The manager of Magoroto Forest Estate explained to us that the steep cliffs on the drive up the mountain used to be full of trees. The main function of the trees were to offer some protection to drivers on the narrow road if an accident occurred. Sadly, in recent years the trees were being cut down for firewood.

In partnership with Magoroto Forest Estate, Unzip arranged for us to plant some new trees with the agreement that Magoroto Forest will plant some more to improve the safety, and environment bordering the road to the estate.

Magoroto Forest

They will also engage the local community to take care of the trees and ensure they grow tall and strong like the ones that previously stood there. It was great to be able to give something back to the natural environment after spending a whole weekend enjoying it.

Magoroto Forest

Magoroto Forest is an oasis of calm, tranquility and natural beauty. Have you visited? Let me know in the comments what your favourite part was!

Looking for more getaways from Dar es Salaam? Check out The Best Beaches near Dar es Salaam.

24 thoughts on “Magoroto Forest Estate: The Perfect Tanga Getaway

  1. Milan Nsaji Geofrey

    My favorite part, rather parts were the breathtaking beauty of the reserve, it perfect sense of tranquility that’s in tune with nature m, without forgetting the lake,friendly staff and locals.

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      I agree, the staff are so friendly and accommodating! They have worked hard and really made this a must-visit destination in TZ

  2. Michelle M

    I love the idea of planting a tree on your trip, that’s a neat way to give back to the area you visit. I have never visited, but Magoroto Forest definitely looks relaxing.

  3. Hayley

    Oh wow I’ve never heard of this but it looks and sounds amazing!! I would love to camp on the lakeside in a setting like this, so beautiful 😊

    1. Othmen

      It’s my home Country but I never heard about it ,it’s my first time to get to know that we do have an amazing place like that, hope to go out there as soon as possible, Do any body knows how much is the price for the Local?any contact number or email Mangoto Forrest
      Chao

  4. Krista Staudinger

    What an awesome camping adventure! Even though I tend to stray away from organized trips, it seems like this would be the best way to experience camping in Magoroto Forest. It’s always nice not to have to worry about all the logistics! I also love how you guys planted trees with Unzip.

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      I usually prefer to organise my own trips too and even the organisers were asking “but why are you coming with us when you could arrange this yourself?” My answer is – the atmosphere. I know when I go on a trip with Unzip Tanzania, I will make new friends and am guaranteed a fun time.

  5. Emily

    How special that you got to give a little something back to the landscape before you left! I’ve never visited Tanzania, but I’ve been to similar reserves in Southeast Asia—actually you final few pics remind me of a park I visited in northern Cambodia. Beautiful 🙂

  6. Aimee Horgan

    Oh wow how beautiful is Tanzania! We’re actually considering Tanzania as part of our honeymoon next year. It looks like an untouched paradise and off the beaten track which is exactly what we’re looking for. Cheers for the tips.

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      You should definitely come to Tanzania for your honeymoon. It has everything – mountains, lakes, beaches, cities, animals, forests. I don’t know of a country with a more diverse landscape. You should check out Mafia Island as an alternative to Zanzibar if you really want to get off the beaten track.

  7. Emma

    I love the sound of this- what a relaxing / disconnected few days ! this ! How awesome- especially the tree planting! I did not visit when in Tanzania, unfortunately I did not have the time.

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      It’s a blessing and a curse that Tanzania is so big. Now that I live here I’m getting to see more of the country but most tourists don’t have the time to go to more remote places.

  8. Nadia

    This looks amazing, and the fact that you planted trees makes it even more so!! I love participating in ethical activities whilst on holiday 🙂

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      I do too and always try to choose my activities based on that. This was my first trip with this group but since then, on other trips we have visited community projects. I think it’s a really great add-on to a trip

  9. Rachel Silverwood

    Your description of Hiking is 100% me every time I do one hahaha! I’m now going on the hunt to find the perfect hiking group too. Also planting trees is a fantastic way to give back to the beautiful landscape: what an awesome trip 🙂

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      Going with this group has changed the way I look at hiking. I know there are lots of different groups out there but the fact that no one in this group took themselves seriously and we were able to crack jokes the whole way really helped!

  10. Ashley

    What a fun trip! That lake is gorgeous and I LOVE that you planted trees to make the road safer. I also love the part about faking an injury to catch your breath…been there 😉

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      Haha hiking is so rewarding but there is little I hate more at the actual time of the event!