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, descend to Lushoto and then back up to Irente village.
Although 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.
Need a guide in Usambara?
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 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), 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. To arrange a hiking in Usambaras 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.