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.
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Irente Viewpoint Irente viewpoint is one of the most famous view points in Usambara Mountains. We meet in Lushoto and walk from Lushoto to spectacular Irente View point. On the way to Irente viewpoint, we usually meet locals and children so there will be plenty opportunities to see rural village life in Usambara Mountains. Once we reach Irente viewpoint at sea level of approximately 1500m, you will be rewarded with stunning views. You can see Mazinde village 1000m below and vast maasai steppe in the distance, the main road from Arusha, Moshi to Tanga and Dar. On return back you can visit Irente farm for your Lunch. Irente farm sells delicious home made brown bread, cheese, all sorts of home made jams (pineapple jam among others), fresh passion juice, fresh cut fruit and yoghurt.
Hike to tropical Magamba forest begins with an uphill walk from Lushoto to the royal village of Kwembago, where you will learn about the cultural history of the traditional ruling chief clan of the Kilindi tribes of the centuries – old kingdom of Washambaa from Kwembago. On the way to Magamba forest we will also pass by the german settlement. Tropical Magamba forest is home to famous black and white colobus monkey, blue monkey and natural habitat to beautiful and colorful birds a not to mention butterflies. Once we are done walking through dense Magamba forest we take another way back to Lushoto or take private transport to Lushoto – depends on you!
Hike to Mkuzi waterfalls will take you with an uphill from Lushoto to the village of Jaegertal. During the walk I will tell you more about historic background of the area. You will be surprised, how rich in history this area is! I am sure we will find some chameleons too! if you dont know it yet, Usambara mountains are home to chameleons that can be spotted in almost every bush if you know were to find them. On the way to Mkuzi waterfalls we will pass by natural forests and farmlands before we arrive to Magamba village until we reach Mkuzi waterfalls. We will settle for a picnic lunch and while enjoying the nature and beautiful Mkuzi waterfalls, you can bring swim suit and swim in the pools. As you will definitely be tired from lots of walking and swimming, we will return back to Lushoto by local taxi!
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