USAMBARA MONTAINS ITINERARIES

The Usambara’s 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.

The range is accessible from the towns of Lushoto in the west, and Amani in the east. The Usambaras are commonly split into two sub-ranges, the West Usambara and the East Usambara. The East Usambara is closer to the coast, receives more rainfall, and is significantly smaller than the west.

The East Usambara mountains belong to Eastern Arc Mountains, which is a chain of isolated mountains stretching in a great arc from Southeast Kenya to Southwest Tanzania. Geologically the mountains are very old – at least 100 million years. The total area of African rain forests diminished due to cold and dry periods which started about 2.5 million years ago. The Indian ocean maintained the moist climate required by the rain-forests. The individual Eastern Arc Mountains became isolated from the large African rain-forests and finally from each other.

The Climate of the East Usambaras differs from much of the rest of Tanzania. Rain can and does fall at any time of the year although there is a seasonal pattern. Tanzania has a hot, dry season in December-March, and a cooler, dry season in May to October. The ‘short’ rains occur in November and ‘long’ rains in April-May. The climate on the coast can be hot and humid, however, because of the altitude (800-1400m), the East Usambaras are cooler and wetter than the surrounding lowland. The rainfall averages over 1,500mm a year with an average temperature of 20C.

The East Usambaras are fairly densely populated, and lie within the more densely populated North of Tanzania. The area contains some 18 villages with a total population of about 15,500. An additional 4,000 people live and work on tea plantations in the area. The population is growing rapidly through a combination of natural increase and in-migration.

Different from the classic picture of East Africa – savannah – this is a lush and green area. The natural vegetation of submontane forest supports a wide variety of flora and fauna, much of which is endemic and for which the area is renowned both nationally and internationally. It is considered an international ‘hot spot’ for bio-diversity. The East Usambaras are particularly well known for bird life, with over 350 recorded species. The Usambaras are a bird-watching paradise. Abundant and diverse species can be spotted and according to experts, the Usambaras is one of Africa ’s best bird-watching locations.

There are many endemic plant and animal species in the Eastern Arc Mountains – more than 2000 plant species of which about 25% are endemic. Out of the 276 tree species 50 are endemic! The East Usambara mountains are the closest to the sea (only about 40 km) and due to moist climate the number of endemic species is remarkable. There are 16 tree species which can be found in the East Usambaras only. The forests of the East Usambaras have many rare species in all groups of animals, except mammals. High level of endemism are found amongst molluscs, amphibians and reptiles. The East Usambaras have been compared to Galapagos Islands with regard to diversity of endemic species.

The genus Saintpaulia, or African violet as it is commonly known originates from North-East Tanzania. During the year 1982, Baron Walter von Saint Paul Illaire, then District Commissioner of Tanga Province, found wild plants with small blue flowers. The species was introduced to horticulture and since then it has enjoyed spectacular and ever increasing popularity as indoor plant. Nowadays, the East Usambaras is one of the few places where Saintpaulia still occurs – there are eight species growing in the area.

Visitors come to the Usambaras to enjoy its nature, relax and hike. The main centre for visitors in the Western Usambaras is Lushoto town. In Lushoto, you can walk through the arboretum, hike in the forest, look for old buildings from the German and British colonial eras. A fascinating stop is the herbarium (pressed plant library) in Lushoto, which houses 1000s of pressed plants from Tanzania dating back to German times (1886-1916).

Located in the North-Eastern part of Tanzania, Lushoto is dubbed ‘the hill-station of Tanzania “. With the outlook dominated by the colourful mosaic of the Usambara Mountains, this lush area is welcome retreat from the busy cities and game parks of the country.

The Usambara Mountains,Lushoto district, is an excellent area for trekking, walking and hiking. You can make short walks around your hotel in Lushoto, Mkuzi or Mambo/Mtae or make more days walks via different hotels, homestay and guest houses. Fully prepared food,stay and transport of your luggage. Compose your tour according to your wishes and capacities. Use a GPS tracks or walk with a guide, but better with both GPS and a guide.

Walk 77KM from Mombo to Mambo and support the local communities, OR, skip Mombo and choose another starting point.

Day 1:

Mombo – Lushoto OR, start in Lushoto

Distance: 11km

Time: 5hrs

Accommodation: Tumaini in Lushoto (B & B)

Day 2

Lushoto – Mkuzi OR, start in Kuzi

Distance: 12.3km

Time: 4hrs

Accommodation: Mullers or Swiss farm

Day 3

Mkuzi – Kwekanga

Distance: 18km

Time: 6hrs

Accommodation: Kwekanga homestay or, stay another day in Kwekanga.

Day 4

Kwekanga – Papaa Moze OR, starts at Malindi

Distance: 11km

Time: 4hrs

Accommodation : At Papaa Moze

Day 5

Papaa Moze – Rangwi OR, walk directly to Mambo View Point

Distance : 13km

Time: 4hrs

Accommodation: At Rangwi sisters or Mambo view point

Day 6

Rangwi – Mambo View Point

Distance :12km

Time: 4hrs

Accommodation: Mambo View Point

Day 7

Mambo View Point – Cave walk

Distance: 3.4km

Time; 3hrs

Accommodation: At Mambo View Point OR, stay some more days at

Mambo View Point

Mambo View Point – Various activities

  • Forest walks (including Kideghe peak and waterfalls)

– Mkomazi National Park

  • Foot prints

  • Mountain biking

  • Cultural programs

  • Relaxing

  • Hiking between 3 and 8 days through various series

  • Fully prepared food, stay and transport of luggage

  • Pass by nice and clean guest houses, home stays and hotels

  • Enjoy the views and the hospitality of the local people

6 Days tour in Usambara Mountains.

Usambara Mountains are among the most biodiversity regions in the world, covered by a thick canopy of tropical forest. The Mountains offer terrain and wildlife uncommon throughout the rest of Africa.

Day 1

Moshi/Arusha/Dar es Salaam to Lushoto (4-5hrs drive)

In the morning at 7:30am depart from Moshi/Arusha or Dar es Salaam to Lushoto West Usambara where you will arrive in the early afternoon for lunch. Activities including Afternoon walks OR drive to Irente view point and Irente farm. The farmers produce many types of fruits and vegetable.

Dinner and overnight at Muller`s Lodge full board.

Day 2

Safari in Usambara Mountains

After breakfast driver to the Usambara Mountains through the Eastern Arc. Several shorts stops for pictures, sisal plantations, and environmental explanation. Lunch on the way before reaching the designation hotel which takes about 5-6 hours from Arusha. After check-in at the hotel take a short walk to the nearby waterfalls.

Dinner and overnight at Muller`s Lodge: full board.

Day 3

Usambara Mountain trek

After breakfast walk and tour the Usambara mountain forests. This is the great opportunity to see several forest birds species, reptiles, white colobus monkeys, and many more features. A picnic lunch is provided on the way. You can arrange a village tour where you can learn about the traditional way of life of the indigenous communities.

Dinner and overnight at Muller`s Lodge: full board.

Day 4

Safari in Korogwe

After breakfast walk to Vuga Peak where Mombo and Korogwe towns can see.

The walk takes about 4-5hours. The tour on Montane forest, a high chance to see most colorful forest bird species, reptiles (like chameleons), butterflies, black and white colobus monkey, blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, and forest flowers. Pick up lunch will be provided on the way during lunchtime. On the way vist the village close to Vuga peak. On arrival at the lodge, you can take a short walk for bird watching or to the waterfalls.

Dinner and overnight at Muller`s Lodge: full board

Day 5

Safari in Lushoto

After breakfast drive to Lushoto town for a full day tour 3-5 hours activities including visti to Irente farm. At Lushoto town if lucky for a market day, the group will have a chance to interact with the local people who came to the market for various businesses. After this tour move to Irente farm via Irene viewpoint to observe the view of Maasai plains where domestic stock roams of a view of lake Chala (Alkaline lake) Mazinde town and the main road to Dar es Salaam.Pass through sugarcane,bananas,coffee,potatoes and vegetable plantations.On arrival at the farm, the lunch will be saved. Walk back to Lushoto passing through natural trails inside the Montane Forest.

Upon the interest, short walks can be arranged for bird watching or to the waterfalls.

Dinner and overnight at Muller`s Lodge: full board.

Day 6

Departing day

After breakfast drive to Arusha/Moshi or Dar es Salaam.

Email us for quote or give us a call to discuss your perfect Safari booking today.Choose your days you will prefer to stay and let us know as well,2 Days,3 Days,4 Days,5 Days,6 Days Or more days!!.

Trip Includes:

Private car

Private Guide

Private driver

Three meals a day

Bottled water every day

Guide and driver salaries

All entry fees

Trip excludes:

Tanzania Visa: $100 per person on arrival

Personal expenses (eg.laundry,telephone, beverages, etc)

Meals not listed above

Optional Tours (short safari after your climb etc)

Tips and any item of personal nature.

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