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Usambara Mountains

Usambara is a beautiful mountain range with grassy plains and virgin tropical rainforest. The area has many colorful villages you can visit during your stay here. The Usambara mountains are located northeastern Tanzania, near Mkomazi National Park, about 3 hours’ drive (110 km) west of Tanga.

It is one of the undiscovered places in Tanzania. And this is what makes it a true paradise for nature and hiking lovers. The lush green mountains have a cool climate that is ideal for walks and hikes. But one of the best reasons to hike the Usambara mountains is the amazing view. You’ll see sweeping hills, mountains, valleys, farmland, picturesque villages, colourful markets and plantations everywheer you go.

The Usambara mountains comprise the easternmost ranges of the Eastern Arc Mountains. They are 90 km long and about half that wide. Faulting and uplifting formed them nearly two million years ago, and they are composed of Precambrian metamorphic rocks.

Birds in Usambara

Usambara Mountains are very unusual in East Africa with their natural regions still covered in tropical forests and therefore they are considered a tremendously significant ecologically and a biodiversity hotspot with many protected zones. Several species are living in the Usambara forests, including the Usambara eagle-owl, the Usambara akalat, the Usambara weaver and the African violet. You can also spot other bird like the Mountain buzzard, Crown eagle, Eastern bronze-naped pigeon, Lemon and Dusky turtle dove and the Hartlaub’s Turaco.

Flora and Fauna found in the Usambara mountains

You can find over 3000 plant species and over 600 tree species that thrive in the Usambara mountains. Therefore it is rknown as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. It herefore attracts naturalists and nature lovers from all over the world who come to watch birds, study trees and flowers or butterflies. Several species are endemic to the Usambara forests.

Most common animals in Usambara Mountains

  • Usambara eagle-owl
  • African violet
  • Usambara akalat and weaver
  • Mountain buzzard
  • Crown eagle
  • Eastern bronze-naped pigeon
  • Lemon and Dusky turtle dove
  • Hartlaub’s Turaco
usambara eagle owl

Usambara Mountains highlights

  • many colorful villages
  • one of the undiscovered places in Tanzania
  • true paradise for nature and hiking lovers

 

Usambara Mountains facts

  • 2 millions years old
  • 90 km long and about half that wide
  • tropical rain forest

Hiking activities

You can go for a hike with a local guide and discover the beautiful diversity of this vast area. On a clear day you can see the grass plains of Mkomazi as well as Kilimanjaro and enjoy the beautiful views that this area has to offer. During this special walk you will have the opportunity to meet the locals who will wave to you and give you a friendly smile. The locals are very hospitable and if you are open and interested, you will be spontaneously invited to get to know them better.

You can hike up the Irente viewpoint to get a panoramic view of Mazinde village almost 1000 m below and the vast Maasai plains beyond.

Or walk through the fertile farmlands of Jaegertal to a fruit tree nursery and learn more about the different varieties of fruit trees and their propagation. The “Growing Rock” tour starts from Soni where you walk to the top of the Kwamongo mountain, famous for its butterflies and enjoy views of Soni, Lushoto and the Handeni plains from the peak.

Travel time to Usambara

  • about 3 hours’ drive (110 km) from Tanga
  • Arusha – Usambara: 8 hrs
  • Moshi – Usambara: 6 hrs

Travel Tips from our experts about Usambara Mountains

My name is Kennedy and I am a mountain guide at Usambara Mountains for 11 years. Our guests come here for hiking in the untouched forest and are always impressed with the stunning views you can along the way.

My advice:

How long to stay? 2 days

Which hotel?

  • EAST – Magoroto Forest Estate (silver)
  • WEST – Mambo View Point (silver)

 

Best time to visit Usambara Mountains

Although the climate is comfortable year-round, paths get too muddy for trekking during the rainy season from March through May. The best time to visit is from June to October, after the rains and when the air is clearest.