Situated in the north-east of Tanzania. With their wide vistas, cool climate, winding paths and picturesque villages, the Usambaras are one of Tanzanian's highlights.
The Usambaras are a part of the ancient Eastern Arc chain which mountains stretch in a broken crescent from the Taita hills in southern Kenya down to Morogoro and the southern highlands. They are estimated to be at least 100 million years old and the rocks forming them may be as much as 600 million years old. The mountains are home to an exceptional assortment of plants and animals and represent one of the highest degrees of biodiversity on the continent.
Nobody knows which people first settled in the Usambaras, only that the ancestors of the present Sambaa people came hundreds of years ago. In the mid 18th century a Sambaa kingdom existed which had about 60.000 people.
In the latter half of the 19th century it is reported that there was a lot of war and terror with neighboring tribes which ended with the German colonization. The Germans discovered the charm of the Usmabaras and they established Lushoto (during those days named Wilhelmsthal) and it was a favoured holiday spot for colonial administrators. Today you still find many traces of the German times. Tanganyika became a British mandate territory after World War I. The British administration continued to reserve and exploit forests. After independence in 1961 the Ujamaa politics or so called "African socialism" of Tanzania's first president Nyerere brought one of the best organized village communities in Africa which still exists today in the Usmabaras.
Besides the historical sites the Usambaras have a lot of interesting places and activities. It is a exquisite place for hiking, bird watching, mountain biking or relaxing.
The Usambara Mountains are situated in the northeastern part of Tanzania between Mount Kilimanjaro and the Indian Ocean Region of Tanga. It has been dubbed the "Galapagos" of the plant world. This incredibly beautiful and lush area is a welcome retreat from Tanzania’s game parks and cities. Because of its pleasant climate, the mountains were favored by the Germans and the English during colonial times, as is evidenced by the numerous historic buildings from the past. The mountain region is ideal for hiking as well as some spectacular driving.
From a distance the mountains are a colorful mosaic. On the fertile slopes around Soni and Lushoto farmers cultivate small plots but further away from the towns large areas are still covered by dense tropical forests.
The viewpoints on the southern and western side of the Usambaras are well known for the spectacular views of the plains of Mkomazi and Handeni. Kilimanjaro can be seen on the horizon and at the end of the day the sunset turns the area into a tremendous pallet of unforgettable colors.
The following day tours we do not organize ourselves, but encourage you to join a local tour Guide in Lushoto town.
This most famous viewpoint in the Usambara Mountains is just an hour's walk from Lushoto. Centre From the viewpoint you see the village of Mazinde almost 1,000 meters below you. On the way back you pass the village of Irente juu, where you will visit the crossbreeding and soil conservation projects at Mr. Mwindadi's hamlet. The trip can be extended with visits to a nearby waterfall and the viewpoints of Kambe and Kwa Mkeke.
Starting from Lushoto Centre you walk through one of the most fertile parts of the Usambara mountains to the village of Vuli. On your way you will visit a cheese factory and learn about the different trees and plants in the area. In Vuli you visit some farms where people are just starting soil conservation and irrigation projects. After an extensive explanation about farming in the Usambara Mountains, you return via another route to Lushoto. End of short visit in Lushoto.
Starting from Soni you walk through the villages of Shashui and Kwemula to the foot of Kwa Mongo. In half an hour you can climb this mountain which has a colorful variety of butterflies on top, and oversee the Southern Usambara Mountains, including Soni and Lushoto, and the Handeni plains. From here you descend to Magila, situated on the foot of the growing rock, where you visit two irrigation projects and the tree nursery of the primary school. The farmers and schoolteachers will tell you all the ins and outs of their development projects and explain, before your return to Soni, why the rock is growing.
Walking along river valleys, sometimes wading through the water, you descend to the village of Bangala. On your way you have a beautiful view over the Maasai plains; you will see a traditional irrigation system and can visit a Wasambaa farm. In Bangala you can visit the tree nursery at the primary school and afterwards take a bus back to Soni or walk back via Vuga hill.
via the villages of Lukozi, Manolo and Sunga you reach the former German settlement of Mtae. On the way you pass through tropical forests, trek over mountains, go to several superb viewpoints and visit various development projects. If time permits you can also trek past Mlalo
Via Kwa Mongo and Magila (irrigation and soil conservation projects) you go to Bumbuli mission (historic German settlement). From there you make a tour through the Masumbae forest reserve, famous for its many birds, and return to Soni.
via Magamba tropical rain forests, trek towards Klaizi village. Located near Mloala village lies the village of Kilieti , where you can find Namisfueli Nyeki developing pottery workshops. Visitors can observe and participate in the age-old tradition of pottery making
They are all former students of the Shambalai secondary school in Lushoto. Some of them have to wait one year for further education, others won't continue studying and try to find suitable work. All speak reasonable to good English, are familiar with the area and can tell you many interesting stories about history and daily life in the Usambara Mountains. They hope to earn some income through their work as guides and at the same promote village development to improve the living conditions of the Shambaa people.
From Lushoto town you walk up to the royal village of Kwembago then you enter the rain forest on Magamba home to black and white Colobus Monkey and vervet Monkeys.After the forest you walkthrough the villages of Magamba to the village of Lukozi where by you spend the night in the local guest house.
From Lukozi you walk through the trakitional villages of Malindi and Longoi to the village of Rangwi and spend a night there. On the way you see the local people live and you see how they apply the local farming. You also visit the projects supported by the Cultural Tourism.
On this day you walk through the villages of Mamboleo and Sunga to the village of Mtae where you spend a night there.On the way you visit stone terrases (on of the supported projects), pottery women and the traditional healer with the nice viw points.The villge of Mtae is also known as the world view poit.
On this relaxing day you have the option towalk arround Mtae and visit the small village of Mtii where was a sub-chief during the Kingship of Usambara Kingdom.And on this day also the tradition dance can be arrenged from the Traditional healer.
On this last day you walk from Mtae through the villages local villages of Goka and Moa to the historical village of Mlalo. From Mlalo you see the historical Mission and you get the history about chief Kighobo who foretold the coming of the white people to Usambara.
Your arrival in the Usambara Mountains can be made by public bus or by private car from Moshi or Arusha. The price of the tour, if begun by bus, is $40 per day. If begun by private car, the price is $140 per day including tour, meals and accommodation (B&B) Maxim 2-5 People.
Accommodation there are good hotels, hostel around lushoto town range about 40$- 50$ dollars and also mid-Range Hotel are available Range from 80$ -150$ Dollars all hotels and Hostel are for Bed and breakfast. This tour can be done either by camping or lodging it is in your Choice. .
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