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Usambara Mountain Cultural Trek

Map

Route map for Usambara Mountain Cultural Trek (DTUM)

Day 1 Lushoto (L)

Approximate Distance: 235 km
Estimated Travel Time: 4-5 hrs

Meet your CEO and the rest of the group at 6am in the morning for an early welcome meeting then transfer to the bus station for your public bus ride to Lushoto, your base for the Usumbara Mountains. The bus stops in Moshi for a quick breakfast, and after arrival, explore the village during the free afternoon, while preparing for your upcoming 4-day adventure. Any luggage not needed for the trek may by left behind in Lushoto, and picked up upon return on day 10.

Lushoto which is in the Usambara mountains is four hours drive on tarmac roads from Tanzania’s business and financial capital Dar es salaam, three hours from the Kilimanjaro International airport and two hours drive from Tanga.

The Usumbara Mountains are a mountain range in North-East Tanzania, approximately 70 miles (110 km) long and ranging from 20 to 40 miles (30-60 km) in width. Mountains in the range rise as high as 8,000 ft (2,440 m). The viewpoints on the southern and western sides of Usumbara are well known for the spectacular views of Mkomazi and Handeni plains. Mt. Kilimanjaro can be seen on the horizon and at the end of the day the sunset turns areas into tremendous pallets of unforgettable colors.

The Usumbaras are fairly unique in that, being in East Africa, their unspoiled regions are covered in the tropical forest which today remains mainly in the west of the continent. Considered tremendously significant ecologically, there are many protected zones throughout the range which are being expanded and contributed to by the Tanzanian government, associated NGO's and research teams. Several species can only be found in the Usumbara forests, including the Naduk eagle owl, Usumbara alethe, and the Usumbara weaver. Some of the very important medicinal plants such as the Quinine tree are found here.

The surrounding region was among the first in East Africa to be settled, in 1902, by European farmers. The nearby town of Amani was a popular German resort for many years in colonial times. Much of the mountains are used in the production of coffee, sisal, tea, and cinchona, with rice grown in the swampy foothills. The inhabitants are one of the very friendly people found in Tanzania, mostly the Wasambaa tribe.

Day 2-3 Usumbara Trek – Lushoto to Rangwi (2-3 hours), Rangwi to Mtae (3-4 hours) (2B,2L,2D)

Begin the 4-day trek with a morning trip through the Tanzanian countryside.

The trek begins with an uphill hike through protected rainforest, with chances to see the black and white Colobus monkey. You’ll stop for a picnic lunch made on route, enjoying it while surrounded by local farmland and great views. As well, you are trekking through a rural, but inhabited area, so take advantage and interact with the locals en route. Finish your day arriving at a local guest house, the Rangwi Mission where you will stay with the sisters/nuns, who will prepare a fantastic meal.

On day 2 walk through traditional villages and farming areas. Interacting with people, the hike continues to the womens pottery group in the village of Sunga. Here you may learn how to make local clay pots and the folklore of the traditional craft. Spend your night in the Mwivano guest house in Mtae village.

Day 4-5 Usumbara Trek – Mtae (3-4 hours), final day (3-4 hours) (2B,2L,2D)

Starting from Mtae, this walk loops up into the rain forest, stopping at a local school, where passengers are entertained by songs from the students, and have a change to give gifts, interact with the Children, and learn about the school system. Dig in to your picnic lunch en route and back to Mtae in the afternoon. You will spend another evening in Mtae village.

On day 5 stop in at Magamba village en route back to Lushoto. Walk to Irente viewpoint and have lunch at Irente farm. Visit a traditional healer on your return walk to Lushoto. Enjoy a well deserved rest and shower upon arrival into Lushoto.

Day 6 Arusha (B,D)

Approximate Distance: 235 km
Estimated Travel Time: 4-5 hrs

After this fabulous experience in the Usumbaras, we have to leave the mountains behind us and start heading back to Arusha, where you can enjoy the last evening with your travel companions and experience a truly unique "local dinner” in the private home of a local family in Arusha – an authentic community experience to cherish forever.

Arusha, also known as Tanzania’s “safari capital”, is undoubtedly the most important center in northen Tanzania. With many protected national parks, reserves, and mountains nearby (on a clear day, it may be possible to see Mt. Kilimanjaro in the distance), Arusha is a modern town, and with its markets, services, and fine location, it is a great base for your safari trip.

Arusha officially became a city on the 1st of July 2006. The primary industry of the region is agriculture with large vegetable producers sending high-quality produce to Europe. The city and its environs are also spotted with large coffee plantations, adding to the area’s charm. Though in recent years, due to the coffee crisis, many local farmers have been badly hit, and now subsistence farming is the most common source of livelihood.

Arusha owes its name from the local Wa-arusha people who resided here for hundreds of years, and is historically and politically significant city within East Africa. In 1961 the official documents ceding independence to Tanzania were signed by the United Kingdom in Arusha. Six years later the Arusha Declaration of Self Reliance in Tanzania was signed. On the 4th of August 1993 the Arusha Accords were signed by representatives of competing factions in the civil war in neighbouring Rwanda. After the Rwandan genocide, the UN Security Council decided by its Resolution 955 of 8 November 1994 that Arusha should host the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The establishment of the tribunal with its employees has influenced the local economy of Arusha.

Day 7 Arusha (B)

Depart Arusha any time.