Location and legal status
This reserve is found in Manyoni district in Singida region. Manyoni district lies between 3°S to 7°S and 34°E to 35°E with general altitude of 1500m asl. Aghondi National Bee Reserve (ANBR) lies between 690054 and 69127 Easting and between 9362416 and 9359890 Northings coordinates. It is at a distance of about 6 km from Manyoni town westward alongside Manyoni-Tabora railway line, specific means to reach Aghondi national bee reserve is by train or road. This Bee Reserve is bordered by Manyoni town at it's East, Mbugani, Kashangu villages and Minene swamp at it’s South, Aghondi village in the West and a railway line at it's North.
ANBR has got about 2162 Ha (21.62 Km2) which is part of 410,000 Ha of the Itigi unique thickets and has a boundary of 12.16 Km long. It is surrounded by Manyoni village forest and bee reserve at it's north while to the east, there is Kipondoda village forest and bee reserve with vegetation categorized as Itigi thickets.
ANBR was declared to be a National Bee Reserve in October 19, 2005 and Gazetted through Government Notice (GN) No 130 of 2019. It is owned by the Central Government under care of Tanzania Forest Services Agency.
The Reserve has two types of vegetation that is Itigi thickets and Miombo woodland forest which possess an immeasurable significance in conservation of biodiversity. These vegetations present a complex interspersion of cover type and a huge variety of plant species. Throughout most of ANBR undercover vegetation form complex irregular mosaic vegetation. In general, this reserve has two kinds of forested areas classified into Itigi thickets and Miombo woodlands. These two have great influence on bees and beekeeping, it makes the area appropriate/ideal place for establishment of Bee Reserve.
Itigi thickets is a name given to special thickets endemic to Itigi (Manyoni district) in Singida region. Itigi thickets though fragmented, forms another ecosystem in this area, which is unique in its occurrence, earmarked as one of sensitive ecological site for conservation (IUCN and WWF 2001). Dominant species for Itigi thickets includes but not limited to Ndarambwe - Pseudoprosopsis fischer, Mnang’ana - Combretum celestroides, Mtunduru - Dischrostachys cirenea, Mpelemehe - Grewia platyclade, Mbefu - Bussea masaiensis, Msada - Vangueria infausta, Msogomazi - Albizia petersiana. Such thickets cover a fairly large area and provide shelter to wild animals and several bird species.
The second forest vegetation is Miombo forest with a dominant tree spp of Brachystegia boehimii, Braychystegia spicifomis, Julbernardia globiflora, Combretum spp, Burkea Africana, Pterocarpus angolensis, Pterocarpus tinctorius, Swartzia madascariencis, Dalbergia melanoxylon.Most of these plant species secrete nectar and others produce pollen or both nectar and pollen rendering ideal place for beekeeping. Both Itigi thickets and miombo woodland species attract honeybees and therefore beekeeping is one of essential economic activities in this area.
Apart from beekeeping, ANBR holds other human supportive activities significant to nearby communities’ livelihood. Among these are Farming, Livestock keeping and small-scale traders of farm produce, animal and bee products, collection of roots, barks and leaves for medicinal purposes. There are certain attractions that can attract tourism related activities including eco-tourism and tourism products and services such as lodges, trails and guided tours. These can be done by involving private sector.
Such attractions in Aghondi Bee Reserve includes; unique Itigi thickets itself characterized with various blooming flowers plants presenting a spectacular scene to view when bloom. This Bee Reserve is a home of wild animals and has a wide range of wild animals including elephants, Greater kudu, Lions, Warthog, rabbit, dik-dik, bush pigs, Ratel, Aardvarks Mongoose, snakes such as puff-adders and black mamba. A wide range of avifauna (game birds) such as Guinea fowls and flancolins occurs in ANBR. Reptiles are also found in the ANBR. Most common insects among numerous species are honeybees and a significant number of stingless honeybees, butterflies, dragonflies, termites and beetles. Also, Minene dam presence increases specialty of the site because it attracts wild animals during dry season. Minene dam and its surrounding swamp is a very significant place where many species of butterflies can be observed. It is also a very important source of water for survival of bees, birds, frogs and Water beetles that always enjoys the water in Minene dam.