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Usambara Mountains


Part of an ancient 25 million year old necklace of mountains called the Eastern Arc, the Usambara mountain range is one of the gems of Tanzania. The Usambaras offer incredible natural biodiversity, especially bird-life and great walking culminating in breath-taking viewpoints.

The Usambara mountain are located between Mount Kilimanjaro and the Indian Ocean. Some of the peaks rise to over 2000 metres. Between steep cliffs and rocky hilltops are set small communities of the pastoral Usambani tribe. The high altitude and fertile soils attracted German, British and other European settlers. This is an excellent place to visit for a few relaxing days if you are travelling overland between the coast and Kilimanjaro and the Northern National parks.

Lushoto at the heart of the Usambara mountains, can be reached in a 6 hour drive from Moshi. It is a further 4 hours drive to Tanga from where there are daily flights to Zanzibar, or 5-6 hours drive to Pangani or Saadani. Although a variety of accommodation is available in the area, we recommend two places in particular:

  • Muller's Lodge - a beautifully built old farm house with a very relaxed and comfortable atmosphere taking you back 50 years in time.
  • St. Eugen's Hostel - a modern and very well presented guesthouse adjoining a Montessori Training College set in spacious gardens.

Both offer guiding services for walkers. Available walks include:

  • Forest walk
  • Waterfall walk
  • Mountain walk

Wildlife to be seen includes the elegant Colobus monkey, blue monkey and wide variety of birds. In the rain forest euphorbias, acacias, giant ferns, palms, lobelias, camphorus (Japanese and Usumbarus), eucalyptus and fig trees are all to be found.

Lengths of walks can be varied from just an hour or so to all day long taking a packed lunch with you. To be able to see something of the region it is best to spend at least two nights in the area.

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