The Usambaras consist of two mountain blocks; the smaller is the East Usambaras lying closer to the coast with slightly higher rainfall. This block is less populated and its primary attraction is the Amani Nature Reserves, approached from Muheza, with its botanical garden, butterfly farming, tea & spice plantations. The West Usambaras are separated from the East by a valley and are approached via the district centre of Lushoto.
The mountains boast of over 3000 plant species in total and over 600 tree species. The Usambaras are part of the Eastern Arc Mountains which run parallel to the Tanzanian coast extending into Taita Hills in Kenya, and recognized as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. This exceptional diversity attracts naturalists and nature lovers from all over the world who come to watch birds, study trees and flowers or butterflies.
The Usambara Mountains, situated in the north eastern part of Tanzania, are known for their pleasant climate, beautiful view points and fertile slopes. Favoured by the Germans and English during colonial times, the area is rich in historical buildings from the period. Excursions, which take half day or less, will include hiking and visits to Wasambaa villages, where visitors may have a glimpse of daily life of the local people.
- Irente viewpoint
Hike up the Irente viewpoint to get a panoramic view of Mazinde village almost 1000 below and the vast Maasai plains beyond. On the way back, visit the Irente Farm cheese factory and the royal village of Kwembago.
- Usambara flora and fauna
Walk through the fertile farmlands of Jaegertal to a fruit tree nursery and learn about different varieties of fruit trees and their propagation. Continue uphill to the village of Vuli to see projects on soil conservation, irrigation and farming methods.
- Magamba Forest
Walk uphill from Lushoto to the royal village of Kwembago, where you learn about the cultural history of the Kilindi ruling clan. From Kwembago you have a beautiful view of Lushoto and the Maasai plains. Proceed to the Magamba rainforests, home to black and white colobus monkeys. Return via an old German Middle School, a German trench dug during the First World War and the village of Magamba.
- “Growing Rock”
The “Growing Rock” tour starts from Soni. Walk to the top of the Kwamongo mountain, famous for its butterflies, enjoy views of Soni, Lushoto and the Handeni plains from the peak. Visit the villages of Shashui and Kwemula on the way. Descend to the village of Magila at the foot of the “Growing Rock” to visit a soil conservation project and learn the mystery about the rock.