Arusha Cultural Tour/ Usambara Mountains

The Usambara mountains are situated in the North Eastern part of Tanzania between Mount Kilimanjaro and the Indian Ocean. The mountains rise up steeply from the surrounding plains and can only be entered via a few roads. The only tarmac road in the area winds along a small river to Soni and Lushoto, the largest towns in the area. Because of its pleasant climate, the mountains were favoured by the Germans and the English during colonial times as is evidenced by the numerous historic buildings from the past. From a distance the mountains are a colourful mosaic. On the fertile slopes around Soni and Lushoto farmers cultivate small plots but further away from the towns large areas are still covered by dense tropical forests. The viewpoints on the southern and western side of the Usambara are well known for the spectacular views of the plains of Mkomazi and Handeni. Kilimanjaro can be seen on the horizon and at the end of the day the sunset turns the area into a tremendous pallet of unforgettable colors. Irente viewpoint: From this famous viewpoint you can see the village of Mazinde almost 1000 meters below the vast Maasai plains beyond. On the return trip to Lushoto you can visit the Irente Farm cheese factory and the royal village of Kwembago. You can enjoy a whole meal picnic at Irente Farm.

Arusha Cultural Tour/ Usambara Mountains

Detailed itinerary

Usambara Farm and Flora Tour:
This walk takes you trough the fertile farmlands of Jaegertal to a fruit tree nursery where you can learn about different varieties of fruit trees and their propagation. You can continue uphill to the village of Vuli to learn about local soil conservation, irrigation projects and farming methods. You can return to Lushoto via the Arboretum.
Growing Rock:
From Soni you walk to the top of Kwamongo Mountains Peak, famous for its multicoloured butterflies, via the villages of Shashui and Kwemula. From Kwamongo you have views of Soni, Lushoto and the Handeni Plains. You descend to the village of Magila at the foot of the “Growing Rock” to visit a soil conservation project and learn why the rock is growing.
Magamba Rainforest:
This tour begins with an uphill walk from Lushoto to the royal village of Kwembago, where you can 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 of black and white colored monkeys. The return to Lushoto passes via the old German Middle School and the village of Magamba.
Mazumbai Forest:
This physically challenging walk begins in Soni and passes via Kwamengo and Magina. From there, the walk continues to the Bumbuli Mission – a historic German settlement – and continues to the Mzumbai rain forest reserve, a birdwatchers paradise. After enjoying the forest you return to Soni via the villages of Mgwashi and Kwesine.
Bangala River:
From the village of Mbuzii you weave slowly down the steep slopes of the Bangal River Valley, at times wading trough cool mountain streams that offer a welcome relief to the rising savanna heat. Trough the walk you see traditional irrigation systems and have a beautiful view over the Maasai plains. Before returning to Lushoto you visit a local farm and nursery.
Western Usambara:
From Lushoto you pass trough tropical rainforests, the ocher mountains and trough valleys to the villages of Lukozi, Manolo and Sunga before finally reaching your destination at the historical village of Mtae. On the route you can reach several superb viewpoints and visit various development projects.
Our guides are all former students of the Shambalai Secondary School in Lushoto. Some of them have to wait one year for further education, others won’t continue studying and are trying to find suitable work like tour guiding. All speak reasonably good English, are familiar with the area and can tell you many stories about history and the daily life of the Shambaa people.
Development Projects:
The projects focus on improving the farming and irrigation system, which is seen as one of the main factors for raising the standard of living. Improvements of the traditional irrigation systems are combined with afforestation, soil erosion control, introduction of cross breeding and strengthening of the social organization. Irrigation dams, many terraces and contour lines are the most visible results of the projects. But when speaking with farmers you may notice that their increased awareness of social and environmental problems and their determination to change may even be a more valuable result.


  • The cost of all ground transportation and Fuel
  • Full-time safari guide and his associated expenses
  • Park entrance fees
  • Accommodation and meals


  • Items of personal nature like Laundry, Beverages, Flights, Beers, Beverages
  • Tipping of staff
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