When I was planning the very first trip to Tanzania, I accidentally stumbled upon gorgeous images from hiking in Usambara Mountains. I was so mesmerised by the place, that I immediately included Lushoto and hike in Usambara mountains into my Tanzanian travel itinerary. Usambara mountains are mountain range in North East Tanzania and its known for a region with chameleons, tea plantations and superb mountain views.
Getting to Usambara region is fairly easy with public transport. I have reached Lushoto from Moshi and the ride took about five hours with Fasaha Bus Company. If going from Arusha book Chikito bus line. If coming from Dar es Salaam you can take a direct bus by Ibariki company from Ubungo Bus station.When going to Lushoto make sure you sit on the left side of the bus – left window seat will allow you to enjoy majestic views on Usambaras.
Of course you may only chill out and enjoy the nature or you arrange any kind of hiking in Usambara region – from one day to several days depending on your time and how fit you are. I stopped for couple of nights therefore I decided to go for a full day hike from Irente View Cliff Lodge to Magamba forest, then descend into Lushoto and return back up to Irente village.
Usambara Mountains are not on the main Tanzania northern tourist circuit, but if you are looking for genuine and unique African experience then the effort of getting there will reward you with unforgettable memories. It just about five hours from Moshi to Lushoto and about seven hours from Arusha by bus.
Need a Guide in Lushoto – Usambara Mountains?
When I travel I always make sure i support locals. Despite of official Usambara society that provides »official« guides, I hired a local guide that also works in Irente View Cliff Lodge James. Afterall to me matters honesty, reliability and knowledge – James turned out a great source of knowledge in terms of history, flora and fauna of the region. James is born in irente village and knows every corner in the forests. He guided me from Irente to Magamba tropical forest through lush green hills and villages overlooking Lushoto and the hiking took a whole day till late afternoon by returning back to the Irente lodge. In the forest we tracked shy Colobus Monkeys.
Hiking in Usambara Mountains region was truly priceless experience – hiking with James who speaks fluent English and can tell you all about the local history, flora, fauna as well as point out many things I’d never noticed without his help. We saw black and white colobus monkeys in Magamba forest, several chameleons along the way, beautiful butterflies and numerous birds…
There are many different viewpoints : Mtae viewpoint, waterfalls (Mkuzu Waterfall), Mombo, tea plantations in the area and James can arrange it all. There are many varieties of hikes in Usambara and if you happen to have more time there are options of longer multiple day treks in Usambara Mountains region. To arrange a hiking in Usambara you can call or email to Irente View Cliff Lodge and ask for James. Since I spent few days with him I can recommend him as a guide and will definitely use him next time I visit Usamabara Mountains.