This leafy highland town is nestled in a fertile valley at about 1200m, surrounded by pines and eucalyptus mixed with banana plants and other tropical foliage. It’s the centre of the western Usambaras and makes an ideal base for hikes into the surrounding hills.
Lushoto is also the heartland of the Wasambaa people (the name ‘Usambara’ is a corruption of Wasambaa or Washambala, meaning ‘scattered’). Local culture is strong. In Muheza and parts of the Tanga region closer to the coast, Swahili is used almost exclusively. Here however, Sambaa is the language of choice for most residents.
Lushoto and its people; it would be hard to know where to start. It is a town that exists in a nebulous state of optimistic beauty after being hardened by stunning scenery and a breath of fresh air. Like all places where winter likes to settle in for a good, long stay, the people of Lushoto nearly always embrace every moment of cool weather. When you live, visit or grow up in Switzerland, Lushoto sounds about as close and familiar as Switzerland.
It has sweeping landscapes with their towering peaks with farms, the breathtaking view and endless vistas (green and lush scenery) that interest many visitors.
Lushoto boasts of a rich hinterland ideal for farming, which includes bananas, pears, pumpkins, tomatoes, potatoes, yams, maize, cabbage, carrots, capsicum, plumps or apples and more that find their market within the Tanga region and beyond.
Its rainforest is one of the most popular bio diversity places in Africa. Now, it is a centre of one of the best cultural tourism programmes in Tanzania – The Friends of Usambara (www.usambaratravels.com.).
The cultural tourism enterprise provides various activities for visitors, such as guided hikes and cultural visits to the Irente view point, Irente farm, Usambara farms, Magamba rainforests and more. Most of the incomes go to fund development projects such as drilling well in remote areas, building primary school and funding reforestation efforts.
In Lushoto, people live a more traditional lifestyle, and the locals are genuinely happy to see visitors walk by, greeting everyone with big smiles.
Location and access:
Lushoto is accessed via Mombo town on the Arusha to Dar es Salaam highway. Public transports to Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Moshi and Tanga are available daily.
Lushoto has several up-market facilities which include: Mullers lodge, The executive lodge, Irente Cliff lodge, Lawns hotel, Lushoto White House, Swiss farm Cottage, Irente Biodiversity Reserve, Mkuzi creek Resort and more.
USAMBARA CULTURAL TOURISM
Explore, learn and know how we live in the Usambara Mountain, the community history of the indigenous washambaa, and the immigrant local tribe of pare and mbugu, local royality from the ancient to the Germany and British colonial era.
ONE DAY TRIPS FROM LUSHOTO
Irente Viewpoint (5-6 hours, 15km)
From Lushoto, hike to this outlook for spectacular views of the village of Mazinde and the Maasai plains almost 1000 meters below. Eat lunch at the Irente Biodiversity Farm in their beautiful flower garden.
Magamba Rainforest (5-6 hours)
Walk through villages and farm land to the lush rainforest where you can see black-and-white Colobus monkeys. On the way back, pass by the historic royal village of the Kilindi (the Washambaa ruling clan) and an old German bunker dug during World War I.
Combined Trip—Magamba Rainforest & Irente Viewpoint (7-8 hours, 20km)
For shorter stays in the area, we recommend a combination hike to the Irente Viewpoint and Magamba Rainforest, where you can see Colobus monkeys.
Bangala River (5-6 hours, 15km)
Beginning at Mbuzii, descend slowly down the steep slopes of the Bangala River Valley toward the rising savannah heat. Visit a tree nursery, see traditional irrigation systems, and take in breathtaking views of the Maasai Plains.
Mkuzu Waterfall (5-6 hours, 15km)*
From Muller’s Lodge or Migambo Village, walk through the colorful forest to this local waterfall. Extend your tour by climbing Migambo peak (2400m high!).
Skyline (6-7 hours, 10km)
Jiwe La Mungu (“The footprint of man”)– Visit a famous cable system for transporting logs down the mountain, enjoy wonderful views of Maasai Plains. Learn about the people of the Usambara Mountains, such as the Pare and Shambaa.
Lushoto Town Tour (2-3 hours)
Explore Lushoto and learn about its rich history. View old structures from the town’s German colonial period. On Sunday and Thursday, this tour can be combined with a visit to the colorful Lushoto market.
Usambara Farm (4-5 hours)
Walk through the fertile farmlands of Jaegertal (“Hunter’s Valley”) to a fruit tree nursery. On your request the tour can be extended to include a hike to Vuli peak (2100 meters).
Combined Trip—Lushoto Town Tour and Usambara Farm (4-5 hours)
Tour Lushoto and learn about its German colonial past. Then walk through the fertile farmlands of Jaegertal (“Hunter’s Valley”) to a fruit tree nursery. On your request the tour can be extended to include a hike to Vuli peak (2100 meters).
Montessori Sisters of Ubiri (3-4 hours)
A short walk from Lushoto, visit this beautifully landscaped Catholic mission. Learn about, taste, and buy their locally made cheese, wine, and jams.
Growing Rock (5-6 hours)
From Soni, walk through the villages of Shashui and Kwemula to Kwamongo Peak (“God’s Peak”), famous for its multicolored butterflies and spectacular views of Lushoto and the Handeni plains. Stop by the Soni waterfalls on your way back to Lushoto.
Maweni Spice Tour (5-6 hours)
Hike from Soni to Maweni farm for a picnic in their beautiful garden surrounded by butterflies and a chorus of birds. Along the way, learn about the various spices grown in the Usambara Mountains.
Sakharani Wine Tour (4-5 hours)
Departing from Soni, walk through coffee plantations on the way to Sakarani where Usambara wine is processed. Upon your return, take in the Soni waterfall and visit the local market offering fresh fruits.
Ndelemai Forest (8 hours)
Departing from Soni, wind through coffee plantations and farmland. Explore the dense Ndelemai forest, and on your way back, stop for a visit in Magila Village, known for its traditional irrigation systems. Enjoy this walk through dense lush forests before catching a ride back to Lushoto.
MULTI-DAY TOURS FROM LUSHOTO:
Mtae: The World Viewpoint (2-5 days)
Trek through rainforests, traditional villages, and farmland; visit and sleep in a local home; see local pottery being made; watch the sun set from the top of a village; and experience the traditional life of the Shambaa people. This trip includes many opportunities to visit and learn about the development projects supported by our program. Return to Lushoto by bus, bike, or private transport.
Mazumbai Forest Reserve: The Galapagos of Africa (2-4 days)
From Soni or Bumbuli hike through tea and coffee plantations to the Mazumbai Forest Reserve, home to numerous birds species and black-and-white Colobus monkeys. Return to Lushoto by private transport.
Magamba, Irente, and Carter’s Viewpoint (2-3 days)
Trek through local villages and the Magamba rainforest to Irente viewpoint and then the Irente Biodiversity Farm, famous for their locally made organic food products. After staying overnight at the Farm, hike along the ridges of the mountains to Carter’s viewpoint. The next day, return to Lushoto or continue downhill to Mombo.
Lushoto, Rangwi convent to Mlalo viewpoint (2-3 days)
Trek from Lushoto to the Rangwi Convent for an overnight. Continue with a visit to a village of the Kilindi (the Washambaa ruling clan) and the headquarters of the Shambaa sub-chief to learn about the history of the Usambara chiefdom. This tour can be extended to include a visit to a Shambaa blacksmith at Tewe
Agro Community Cultural tours (2-3 days)
Stay with the local farmers, experiencing the village livelyhood.Visit the royal subchiefs of the mountains,get the chance to see the village festivals and learn how to step and Sing , the Shambaa and Mbugu traditional songs”
(West to East Cultural tour (5-6 days)
Have the general scope of the Usambara Mountains, trekking through the villages from the west to East via the natural forest of Mazumbai, Amani, and Nilo nature reserve to the Estern part of the Mountains.
Usamabara Royal Villages Cultural tour (4-6 days)
Get the chance to learn and experience, the existing culture in the royal villages and the royal families from the ancient time of the Shambaa kingdom to the modern
Kilimanjaro Acclimatization( 3-5 Days)
Lets acclimatize together by walking to the higher altitude villages and have what you deserve to climb the roof of Africa even mount Meru in regard to physical heath of the person.
Usambara bike tours ( 1-7 Days)
The Usambara Mountains is the best place for the mountains bikes, we save both sportsman and others who are in needs to bike and experience the natural and cultural beauty of the Usambaras
For further information contact:
Tel: + 255 787 094725 or +255 655 094725 or +255 272660132
Source: Tanzania Tourist Board – Destinations