The East and West Usambara Mountains are located northwest of Dar and are part of an ancient necklace of mountains called the Eastern Ark. The main centers for visitors are Lushoto town and Mkuzi/ Migambo area around 15 kms. from Lushoto on murram roads.
The Usambaras are considerably older than Mount Kilimanjaro and Meru. Though the mountains were thrust upwards around 25 million years ago, the rock which forms the mountains are at least 600 million years old. Archaeological evidence shows there were Neolithic settlements of iron-working communities 3,000 to 3,500 years ago. Bantu speaking people began migrating, probably from the Congo area, around 2,000 years ago. These migrating people probably integrated with the original inhabitants of the mountains and make up today the Shambaa people.
During the 19th century when the Germans colonized Tanganyika the named Lushoto Wilhelmstal after the Kaiser, their mountain capital. The Germans thought Lushoto would be a great coffee growing area, but they were proved wrong. Coffee fared poorly due to wind, low fertility after a few years of cultivation, diseases and pests. However the area proved to be a great fruit growing area. Today Lushoto produces most of Tanzania’s plums and pears.
Though coffee failed, sisal flourished. The plants were originally imported to Germany from Florida by an Amani researcher named Richard Hindorf. Hindorf had 1000 plants sent to Germany, of these only 200 survived, which were shipped to Tanganyika. The 62 plants that survived this last shipment became the parents of Tanganyika sisal industry, of which by 1908 over 10 million sisal plants were growing on the plains beneath the escarpment of the Usambara mountains.
TOUR TITLE – OHTL – 25 – THE ARK MOUNTAINS CULTURAL TOUR.
TOUR CATEGORY – STANDARD HOTELS.
OUR LENGTH – 6 NIGHTS – 7 DAYS.
DESTINATION – NORTHERN TANZANIA – USAMBARA.
Day – 1 – Arusha – Lushoto.
After breakfast drive with your private transport to Lushoto town where you check in a Hotel for lunch. Afternoon and evenings at leisure or go for sightseeing. Dinner and overnight.
Day – 2 – Lushoto – Irente View Point. (5 – 6 hours)
After breakfast drive to the famous Irente view point where you can see the village of Mazinde almost 1000m. below the vast Maasai plains. On your way back to Lushoto you visit the Irente farm cheese factory and the royal village of Kwembago. Dinner and overnight.
Day – 3 – Growing Rock (5 – 6 hours)
Breakfast at 08:00a.m. drive to Soni and trek to the top of Kwa Mongo mountains peak famous for its multi colored butterflies, via the village of Shashui and Kwemula. From Kwa Mongo you have views of Soni, Lushoto and Handeni plains as you descent to the villages of Magila at the foot of the Growing Rock to visit a soil conservation project and learn why the rock is growing.
Day – 4 – Magamba Rain Forest. (5 – 6 hours)
After breakfast with picnic lunch boxes begin your tour trekking up hill from Lushoto to the royal village of Kwembago, learn about the cultural history of the traditional ruling clan, the Kilindi. From Kwembago you have a beautiful view over Lushoto and the Maasai plains. You proceed to the lush Magamba rainforest, home to black and white colobus monkeys. The return to Lushoto passes via an old German middle school and the village of Magamba. Dinner and overnight.
Day – 5 – Usambara Farms. (4 – 5 hours)
After breakfast walk through the fertile farm land of Jaegertal to a fruit tree nursery where you will learn about various different varieties of fruits. Break for lunch and continue your tour up hill to the village of Vuli to learn about the soil conservation, irrigation projects and local farming methods. Evening return to Lushoto via the Arboretum.
Day – 6 – Montessori Sisters of Ubiri (3 – 4 hours)
After breakfast take a short walk from Lushoto to the Catholic mission of the Montessori Sisters in Ubiri. At this beautifully landscaped mission you can learn about, taste and buy locally made cheese, wine and jam. Later return to your Hotel in Lushoto for dinner and overnight.
Day – 7 – Lushoto – Arusha.
Breakfast at 08:00a.m. drive back to Arusha while enjoying the scenery of the rolling Usambara mountains.
End of Our Tour.
- The above prices are based on a minimum of 2 persons.
- A price reduction of USD 100 per person is available for a group above three persons.
- Six persons and above may enjoy up to USD 200 saving on the per person rate.
- The rolling mountains – Growing rock, Magamba rain forest, Usambara farms and
- Montessori Sisters mission, Taste and buy locally made cheese, wine and jam.
- 1 night Hotel accommodation in town Hotels.
- Accommodation and meals as per itinerary.
- All village entry fees.
- Transportation and cultural tours while on safari.
- Transfers to and from the Airport.
- Visa and vaccination fees.
- International flight tickets.
- Things of personal nature.
- Tips to driver guide, Hotel and Lodge staff.