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Things to do in Usambara

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USAMBARA MOUNTAINS offers a series of different activities that natural environment can afford along with traditional and culture of the indigenous. Most of the main activities that one can do while at Usambara mountains are the highlighted however it’s Usambara Tourism Promotion and Volunteer Programs – UTPVPpassion, eagerness and mission to see Usambara being the most preferable country side destination full of fun with desirable activities in comparison to other inland destinations.

1)   Bike Tour

It’s your turn to leave a four-wheel vehicle and start your mountain bike riding across and around the Usambara mountains escarpments and experience the different view of its landscape. This is among the popular tour as it gives tourists a chance to explore different places in a shorter time without using a vehicle.

2)   A hike to Mtae

This is the most popular hike most visitors prefer, it’s a fantastic tour which combines several attractions such as forest walk with spotted black and colobus monkeys, traditional villages, viewpoints, visiting pottery women group, get informed about the history of Chief of washambaa, learn the life style of Shambaa people as the main tribe in Usambara mountains. Mtae village is situated at the edge of the mountain, from there you can see Mkomazi National Park, Maasai plains, on clear days you can see Kilimanjaro mountain, Tsavo National Park in Kenya and Taita Hills in Kenya.

3)   Home staying

It actually needs some more time comparing with other activities but you properly get involved with daily activities of certain families. You will learn how people live which includes cooking on traditional cookers, land cultivation, gardening, Poultry, beekeeping, milking cow or goat, cattle grazing and much more, furthermore this home stay will strengthen your knowledge and vocabularies of Swahili language. A day or two is okay for this kind of tour.

4)    Irente and Yoghoi Viewpoints

Irente viewpoint and Yoghoi viewpoint are two different view locations but in similar locality and descriptions. The hike to these stunning view points starts from Lushoto town, hike to this outlook spectacular views of the village of Mazinde and the Maasai plains almost 1600 meters above sea-level. It’s a great place to spend some hours enjoying bird songs viewing Usambara mountains escarpments, experience the marvelous Usambara sunset and eat your picnic lunch or snacks just at your own pace.

5)   Beekeeping project and local jam production

You can visit and learn how women, catholic nuns and Irente biodiversity use local fruits to make bread jams, fresh juice and cheese. You can also visit Mwamboa beekeeping group found at Mwangoi area how the group was formed, how they make bee hives, bees cycle life, the honey harvesting, production and packaging. It’s a valuable thing to learn all that and even support the efforts revealed by these groups.

6)   Historical buildings and earlier graves

Lushoto a home of Usambara mountains has still the evidence of German colonialization in some of the architectures. You can pass-by few earliest constructed structures and graves. This town tour can either be a guided tour or a solo tour however for better information you might pick a well informative guide to lead you. To mention few of the buildings are current police station, District Commissioner building, President rest house, A German trench which was dug during World War I, etc

7)  Market Tour

The market tour is such a lovely activity that can be conducted on Thursday and Sunday on each week whereby most women from various villages gather at the market area selling their local products such as vegetables, Irish potatoes, cardamom, cowpeas, pineapple, maize, beans, cassava, rice, wheat, jewelry etc it’s the best area you can buy the local products and learn how local people trading, their agricultural activities and economic wellbeing.

8)  Magamba Rainforest

Walk through villages and farm land to the lush rainforest where you can see black and white colobus monkeys. On the way back, pass by the historical royal village of the Kilindi (the Washambaa ruling clan) and an old German bunker dug during World War I.

9)   Mkuzi waterfalls

Usambara Mountains are dotted with several other small waterfalls worth checking out like Mkuzi waterfalls which possess the pool for swimmers. It worth visiting this waterfall for the great Usambara swimming memories.

10)School visiting

You can visit baby class, primary and secondary schools that are nearby centers or along your hiking trail. The visiting has managed to open a new venture between students and visitors. This interchange has brought in some positive response such as volunteers, donors and sponsorship to both school premises or to individual student. However it gives visitors an overview of what kind of education pupils are going through and what are the challenges that both teachers and students experience. Pupils will appreciate if you can bring them some simple gifts like pens, pencils etc

11)Mkomazi National Park

Game drive, camping, site seeing, bird watching, watching safari and hiking (uphill). Learn more about conservation and rhinoceros at Mkomazi rhino sanctuary. Animal that can be spotted at Mkomazi NP are giraffe, oryx, gerenuk, hartebeest, lesser kudu, eland, impala and Grant’s gazelle share the reserve with elephant, buffalo and numerous predators including lion, leopard and cheetah. In all, 78 species of mammals have been recorded.

The birds of mkomazi are even more numerous with over 400 recorded species. Doves, hombills, weavers and guinea-fowl are present in large numbers as well as such striking species as the martial eagle and violet wood-hoopoe. You can visit this park either from Moshi or from Usambara mountains.

12)Soni Waterfalls

Explore the roaring cascades of water and you are sure to see amazing Usambara natural wonders. Soni waterfalls is a beautiful and stunning waterfalls originated from several Usambara mountains water streams that meet at Bangala river to make this awesome waterfall. It’s among Usambara great places you should not miss visiting.

13)Kwamongo mountain peak, Growing rock

This hike can also be done in connection to Soni waterfalls, from Soni you walk through the village of Shashui and Kwemula to Kwamongo peak (sometimes called God’s peak) famous for its multicolored butterflies and spectacular views of Lushoto, Mombo sisal plantations, famous Mzeri ranch and the Handeni plains.

14)Macadamia Nuts, Chenin Blanc and the Benedictine Brothers Sakharani

You can drive or hike to a curvy road to the Benedictine Monastery at Sakharani. There brothers who grow and sell macadamia nuts and have a vineyard. The monastery is on what used to be a coffee plantation owned by an Englishman. The monastery is a jumble of farm buildings, workshops, a rectory and a small church. You can have a glass of the monastery’s Chenin Blanc with somewhat called grade two macadamia nuts.

15)Mazumbai Rainforest

Hike to Mazumbai rainforest via Mbokoi village at the top of the ridge offering superb views and a chance to meet local people. When entering the forest you will spot various species of birds as well as black and white colobus Monkeys, incredible place to observe the nature. The 320 hectares forest reserve has been set aside for ecological contorting and high education studies. Stretching from 1350m above sea level to 1900m at the top where the zone bounds off vegetation change. Mazumbai is a bird lovers paradise. You will walk through the farm land, learn about old farming prctices in the Usambara mountains. Mazumbai is one of the richest forest environment in Africa.

16)African Violet / Saintpaulia (flowers)

Was firstly discovered at Usambara mountains by German District Commissioner of Tanga province in 1892 Baron Adalbert Emil Walter, he collected the seeds and sent to his father in German Ulrich von-St Paul Illaire who was amateur botanist and the president of the Dendrology Society of German. He planted the tiny seeds in his home town greenhouse of Fischbach, he managed to get them to germinate and grow them until they bloomed. He also gave some seeds to his friend Hermann Wendland who by then became a director of the Royal Gardens of Herrenhausen in Hanover. The Plant was successfully multiplied all over Europe and America, Wendland classed the African violet in the Gesneriaceae family. He gave the Botanical name of Saintpaulia in honor of his friend. To date we can still find wild African violets growing and available at Usambara mountains mostly in the Amani Nature Reserve.

17)Saadani National Park

 Saadani NP is located between Pangani District and Bagamoyo District easily reachable from Usambara mountains. It’s a great combination to do if interested in Usambara hiking, Beach excursions and Wildlife adventures. Saadani is the only wildlife sanctuary in East Africa to boast an Indian Ocean beachfront: ‘where beach meets bush’. It is unique in that it is both a savannah and a coastal park. Saadani is small at 1,100 km² but is very diverse. Within its boundaries are beautiful beaches, a stretch of the Wami river before it meets the sea, the biodiverse Zaraninge coastal forest and acacia savannah. A wide range of grazers and primates can be seen on game drives and walks, among them giraffe, buffalo, warthog, common waterbuck, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, wildebeest, zebra, red duiker, grey duiker, dik-dik, sable antelope, yellow baboons, as well as vervet, colobus and Sykes’ monkeys. Herds of elephants are encountered with increasing frequency and several lion prides are resident, together with leopard, jackal, African civet, serval cat and spotted hyena. Take a leisurely cruise up the Wami River looking for hippo, the illusive crocodile and Nile monitors. There are over 220 species of birds.


 


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