It is a unique montane rain forest in the South Pare Mountains in Kilimanjaro Region. also, the highest altitude in the reserve has Shengena Peak, Chome Forest reserve has numerous bird species, it harbors' several types of monkey.CHOME FOREST RESERVE LOCATION
Chome Nature Forest Reserve in the South Pare Mountains in North-East Tanzania between 40 10' to 40 24's and 370 53` to 380 00`E and includes the highest ridge of the range and the highest peak of Mt Shengena (2,463m a.s.l), but it slopes down to an elevation of 1,250m a.s.l on its Eastern edge.
The South Pare Mountains form a part of the Northern section of the Eastern Arc Mountain group with the North Pare range to the North West, the Taita Hills in Kenya to the North East and the West and East Usambara ranges to the South East, and a chain of mountain ranges running South West.
Chome Forest is among the eight Nature Forest Reserves found in the Eastern Arc Mountains that are earmarked for upgrading to the World Heritage status. Furthermore, Pare Mountains are a part of a forested chain of mountains stretching across Tanzania and into Kenya known as the Eastern Arc Mountains.CHOME NATURE FOREST RESERVE (CNFR)
The Chome NFR climate indicates by bi-modal weather systems. Short rains occur between October and December while long rains fall between March and June. The amount of rainfall ranges from 1500-2000 mm in the western side of the forest to 3000 mm in the eastern side of Chome NFR. The dry season is between July and September. The high rainfall and extensive forest cover give the reserve a high catchment value. Moreover, it's mossy and bryophyte vegetation properties also make it efficient for taping atmospheric moisture. Annual temperatures vary from 150 C in July to 200 C in February. The impact of climate variability/change for the past five years has caused some of river that was flowing throughout the year from Chome Nature Forest Reserve to be dry (seasonal rivers) hence reduced water discharge from the forest.SPECIAL SITES AND FEATURES The Pares are informally tied up with the cultural and spiritual value of forests. Several sacred areas within the forest which are used for differents purpose, firstly, Ndiva Nkundu area is used for cleansing, Secondly, Shengena peak for worshiping and initiation of traditional healers, Thirdly, Kiete cha Mmbono a market place where communities from the East and West part of the forest met and traded. Several Clans have their own sacred grooves within and outside the forest. These include Kwanambache (inside the forest) adjacent to Marieni village while others found outside the forest include Itembua in Marieni village; Heiganda, Mtwisi and TiaIgoma in Duma village and Mpungi in Msindo village. Also Chome NR has some special features and sites inside and outside that a visitor may be interested to visit. Other special sites include clan and viewpoints inside and outside forests. CHOME FOREST RESERVE ACTIVITIES
Many unique species thrive in the Eastern Arc, including over 500 plant species and 136 vertebrate species that are found nowhere else on earth of which 18 are found in Chome NFR. Acre for acre
The Eastern Arc has more unique plant and animal species than anywhere else in Africa. The area is considered one of the planet's most important biodiversity hot spots.
Chome Nature Forest Reserve consists of a 16 km central ridge running north-south cloaked in lush, evergreen forest. Shengena Peak in the north-west of the reserve is the second highest peak in Kilimanjaro Region, after Mt Kilimanjaro. From Shengena Peak, visitors can enjoy spectacular views of Mkomazi NP, the North Pare Mountains, Taita Hills and even Mt Meru. The forest is the main source of water for the Same Town and the irrigation schemes in the adjacent lowlands.
The reserve is predominantly montane forest with patches of heath, montane grassland also, moss-draped elfin forest. Visitors can admire the impressively large East African Camphor trees, some reaching 30 m high and 2 met resin diameter. The South Pare Mountains is home to 4 species that only known from these Mountains (Chome NFR) including the bird, namely the South Pare white-eye and three amphibian species.
The mountains are classified as an 'important bird area'. reserve includes 95 bird species; Hunter's cist cola and the Red-capped tailor bird. There are two species of monkey present: Sykes monkey and the Eastern Arc race of the Angola pied colobus. Other mammals include elephant shrews, anomalies' and red duikers.
Villages that surround Chome have cultural diversity from various ethnic groups. The communities have traditional practices for the forest; varieties of religious worship and food type, The diversity of these ethnic groups could support cultural tourism.
There are several other attractions adjacent to CNFR such as Ndorumo Waterfalls at Vuje village, Ibwe la ngulwi and Ngulwi Caves at Mvaa village. During Traditional wars. These caves used for hiding also for killing abnormals born children.VISITOR ATTRACTIONS
There are a number of excellent hiking trails through the reserve's forest. All times shown are for walking there and back.
- Shengena Peak Trail, for an excellent view of Mkomazi National Park and Taita Hills in Kenya
- Turaco Trail, for keen birders
- Butterfly Trail, to see high montane forest with many species of butterflies, flowers, and epiphytes
- Thomson Waterfalls Trail
- Bat Caves Trail
- Bwambo Drive, to watch birds, monkeys, butterflies and enjoy various viewpoints over Mkomazi Game Reserve (4WD required)
There are 2 campsites, one inside the reserve and one next to the car park at the reserve entrance. Each campsite has a toilet and shower. There are no cooking facilities inside the reserve, so campers need to be completely self-sufficient. Alternatively, you can stay at one of the guesthouses in one of the villages surrounding the reserve or at the Nzoroko Hotel or Elephant Motel in the Same Town. also two guesthouses close to the reserve: Kisaka Village Inn in Chome (1.5 km from Chome NFR), Tona Lodge and Tona Annex in Manka (Mbaga Hills, 10 km from Chome NR).