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 – UTPVP” passion, 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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.