Usambara Mountains Cultural Tourism
Welcome to the green and fertile Usam-bara Mountains, where you can
expe-rience all facets of African rural life and enjoy the marvellous views over
We farmers of the Usambara mountains offer you:
- visits to superb viewpoints on the edge of the Mountains
- a visit to several development projects in the district (soil conservation, irrigation, cross breeding, afforestation, health care)
- a climb to Kwa Mongo, the mountain home to a vast number of beautiful butterflies
- walks through dense natural forests and along small rivers that race downhill
- a view into the history and daily life of the Wasambaa farmers
-visits to a traditional pottery village
The profit will be used within the several development projects in our district:
Your visit helps us to improve our living conditions.
A local tourism programme executed with advice from the Tanzanian Tourist Board and SNV - The Netherlands Development Organisation
The Usambara mountains are situated in the North Eastern part of Tanzania between Mount Kilimanjaro and the Indian Ocean. The mountains rise up steeply from the surrounding plains and can only be entered via a few roads. The only tarmac road in the area winds along a small river to Soni and Lushoto, the largest towns in the area. Because of its pleasant climate, the mountains were favoured by the Germans and the English during colonial times as is evidenced by the numerous historic buildings from the past.
From a distance the mountains are a colourful 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 Usambara 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 colours.
We have developed various modules that show you the most interesting and fascinating places in the mountains.
One day modules from Lushoto
Irente Viewpoint tour (4 to 6 hours)
This most famous viewpoint in the Usambara mountains is just an hours walk from Lushoto. From the viewpoint you see the village of Mazinde almost 1,000 meter 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.
Usambara farm and flora tour (4 to 5 hours)
Starting from Lushoto 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.
One day modules from Soni
Growing rock tour (4 to 5 hours)
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 colourful 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.
Bangala river tour (5 to 7 hours)
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.
Several days modules
Western Usambara mountains tour (3 to 5 days)
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
Mazumbae forest reserve tour (4 to 5 days)
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.
Potter Traditional Adventure tour
Via Magamba tropical rain forests, trek towards Klaizi village. Loacated 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.
Our guides 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.
With German (GTZ) and Dutch (SNV) assistance the Usambara farmers have started several development projects over the past years. The projects focus on improving the farming and irrigation system, which is seen as one of the main factors for raising the standard of living. Improvements of the traditional irrigation systems are combined with afforestation, soil erosion control, introduction of cross breeding and strengthening of the social organisation. Irrigation dams and many terraces and contourlines are the most visible results of the projects. But when speaking with farmers you may notice that their increased awareness of social and environmental problems and their determination to change it may even be a more valuable result.
The profit from the tourism programme will be used in these various development projects.
For futher information and bookings please contact your tour operator, or contact ythe touirist information centre in the town of Lushoto (located nearby the NMB Bank)
The tourist information cnetre is an initiatve of the Friends of the Usambara Society (P.o. Box 151, Lushoto, Tel. Lushoto 132)
Please avoid unoauthorised guides. Always try to demand receipts for any payments, this will help to ensure that your fees are going towards development of the village. Asante Sana
TTB Information Centre Arusha
(Boma road - next to Jambo Snacks: Tel: 057-3482/ 3483)