North Pare Mountains Cultural Tour
The Northern Pare Mountains are situated 50 kilometers southeast of Moshi, almost in the shade of Mount Kilimanjaro. The mountains can be entered via the town of Mwanga, the district capital where huge palm trees grow abundantly in the water that streams downhill. From Mwanga a good sand road winds upwards to Usangi, the center of the Northern Pare Mountains. Surrounded by eleven peaks, the little town is a center of economic activities. Small local factories produce bricks, stoves, pottery and clothes. In their backyards, some families have local breweries, using traditional brewing methods inherited from their grandfathers. Every Monday and Thursday, there is a colorful market, where farmers from the surrounding villages come to sell their harvest. The mountains are among the most fertile in East Africa, and villagers do there utmost to use every square meter of cultivatable land. Hand-made dikes have drained swampy areas, terrace-building has enabled cultivation on steep slopes and traditional irrigation systems bring water to many farms. On top of the mountains are protected natural forests and moor lands, that often have the status of traditional clan-forest in the Pare culture. In these forests, ceremonies take place and witchdoctors perform their magic powers. From the mountain tops you have wide views over the surrounding plains, seeing the extensive Kisangara sisal estate, the long-drawn lakes of Jipe and Nyumba ya Mungu (“House of God”) and at the horizon the Taita and Kiteto hills. Mount Kilimanjaro is a stone’s throw from the area and at many places the impressive mountain is revealed for your eyes. Usangi Mangatu view tour: Through farms on the lower part of the slopes you gradually climb to the Mangatu moor land. On top you reach the Mbale clan-forest, from where you have excellent views of Mount Kilimanjaro and Lake Jipe. Goma caves tour via the farms around Usangi, you reach Goma hill, where a century ago the Pare chiefs dug deep caves to hide themselves against rival tribes and later the Colonial ruler. In a nearby hut the villagers still keep some 40 skulls of Pare chiefs who were killed in tribal and colonial wars.