iVisa.com

Usambara Mountains

Usambara Mountains

The Usambara's are a part of the ancient Eastern Arc chain which mountains stretch in a broken crescent from the Taita hills in southern Kenya down to Morogoro and the southern highlands. They are estimated to be at least 100 million years old and the rocks forming them may be as much as 600 million years old. The mountains are home to an exceptional assortment of plants and animals and represent one of the highest degrees of biodiversity on the continent.

The range is accessible from the towns of Lushoto in the west, and Amani in the east. The Usambaras are commonly split into two sub-ranges, the West Usambara and the East Usambara. The East Usambara is closer to the coast, receives more rainfall, and is significantly smaller than the west.

The East Usambara mountains belong to Eastern Arc Mountains, which is a chain of isolated mountains stretching in a great arc from Southeast Kenya to Southwest Tanzania. Geologically the mountains are very old - at least 100 million years. The total area of African rain forests diminished due to cold and dry periods which started about 2.5 million years ago. The Indian ocean maintained the moist climate required by the rain-forests. The individual Eastern Arc Mountains became isolated from the large African rain-forests and finally from each other.

The Climate of the East Usambaras differs from much of the rest of Tanzania. Rain can and does fall at any time of the year although there is a seasonal pattern. Tanzania has a hot, dry season in December-March, and a cooler, dry season in May to October. The ‘short’ rains occur in November and ‘long’ rains in April-May. The climate on the coast can be hot and humid, however, because of the altitude (800-1400m), the East Usambaras are cooler and wetter than the surrounding lowland. The rainfall averages over 1,500mm a year with an average temperature of 20C.

The East Usambaras are fairly densely populated, and lie within the more densely populated North of Tanzania. The area contains some 18 villages with a total population of about 15,500. An additional 4,000 people live and work on tea plantations in the area. The population is growing rapidly through a combination of natural increase and in-migration.

Different from the classic picture of East Africa – savannah - this is a lush and green area. The natural vegetation of submontane forest supports a wide variety of flora and fauna, much of which is endemic and for which the area is renowned both nationally and internationally. It is considered an international ‘hot spot’ for bio-diversity. The East Usambaras are particularly well known for bird life, with over 350 recorded species. The Usambaras are a bird-watching paradise. Abundant and diverse species can be spotted and according to experts, the Usambaras is one of Africa ’s best bird-watching locations.

There are many endemic plant and animal species in the Eastern Arc Mountains - more than 2000 plant species of which about 25% are endemic. Out of the 276 tree species 50 are endemic! The East Usambara mountains are the closest to the sea (only about 40 km) and due to moist climate the number of endemic species is remarkable. There are 16 tree species which can be found in the East Usambaras only. The forests of the East Usambaras have many rare species in all groups of animals, except mammals. High level of endemism are found amongst molluscs, amphibians and reptiles. The East Usambaras have been compared to Galapagos Islands with regard to diversity of endemic species.

The genus Saintpaulia, or African violet as it is commonly known originates from North-East Tanzania. During the year 1982, Baron Walter von Saint Paul Illaire, then District Commissioner of Tanga Province, found wild plants with small blue flowers. The species was introduced to horticulture and since then it has enjoyed spectacular and ever increasing popularity as indoor plant. Nowadays, the East Usambaras is one of the few places where Saintpaulia still occurs - there are eight species growing in the area.

Visitors come to the Usambaras to enjoy its nature, relax and hike. The main centre for visitors in the Western Usambaras is Lushoto town. In Lushoto, you can walk through the arboretum, hike in the forest, look for old buildings from the German and British colonial eras. A fascinating stop is the herbarium (pressed plant library) in Lushoto, which houses 1000s of pressed plants from Tanzania dating back to German times (1886-1916).

Located in the North-Eastern part of Tanzania, Lushoto is dubbed ‘the hill-station of Tanzania “. With the outlook dominated by the colourful mosaic of the Usambara Mountains, this lush area is welcome retreat from the busy cities and game parks of the country.

In this section

Getting there

Best time to visit


Usambara Mountains Articles

Kilwa Kisiwani Articles

Dar es Salaam City Articles

Udzungwa National Park Articles

Selous Game Reserve Articles

Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority Articles

Mount Ol doinyo Lengai Articles

Tarangire National Park Articles

Saadani National Park Articles

Rubondo Island National Park Articles

Mount Kilimanjaro National Park Articles

Mkomazi National Park Articles

Mikumi National Park Articles

Lake Manyara National Park Articles

Kitulo National Park Articles

Katavi Region Articles

Katavi National Park Articles

Gombe National Park Articles

Arusha National Park Articles

Serengeti National Park Articles

The Great Serengeti Migration
The great Migration of the Serengeti is considered one of 'The Ten Wonders of The Natural World’, and one of the best events in Tanzania to witness. A truly awe-inspiring spectacle of life in an expansive…

Logo Not Available

Author:
Zina Dale

Category:
Articles

Lake Natron Articles

Lake Eyasi Articles

Lake Chala Articles

Lake Nyasa Articles

Kaporogwe Falls Articles

Lake Victoria Articles

Pare Mountains Articles

Uporoto, Kipengere and Livingstone Ranges Articles

Mpanga Kipengere Game Reserve Articles

Lake Jipe Articles

Matema Beach Town Articles

Lake Ngosi Articles

Mbozi Meteorite Articles

Nyumba Nitu Natural Forest Articles

Kijungu Falls, Natural Bridge and Kiwira River Articles

Mbeya Region Articles

Njombe Region Articles

Lake Tanganyika Articles

Mahale Mountains National Park Articles

Ukerewe Island Articles

Zanzibar Island Articles

Tabora Town Articles

Mikindani Town Articles

Iringa Town Articles

Musoma Town Articles

Mtwara Town Articles

Mwanza City Articles

Lushoto Town Articles

Arusha City Articles

Tanga City Articles

Karatu Town Articles

Dodoma Town Articles

Pangani Town Articles

Kigoma Town Articles

Bagamoyo Town Articles

Saanane Island National Park Articles

Mount Meru Articles

Kalambo Falls Articles

Materuni and Kuringe Waterfalls Articles

Rundugai Hot Springs Articles

Moshi Town Articles

Amboni Caves Articles

Ruaha National Park Articles

Dar es Salaam Marine Reserve Articles

Mafia Island Marine Park Articles

Mikindani Bay Marine Reserve Articles

Mnazi Bay-Ruvuma Estuary Marine Park Articles

Olduvai Gorge & Laetoli Articles

Maziwe Marine Reserve Articles

Tanga Coelacanth Marine Park Articles

Chumbe Island Marine Sanctuary Articles

The Nature Forest Reserve Articles

Nachingwea Town Articles

Liwale Town Articles

Ipole WMA Articles

Mbomipa WMA Articles

Enduimet WMA Articles

Morogoro Town Articles

Mnemba Island Conservation Area Articles

Burunge WMA Articles

Randilen WMA Articles

Ikona WMA Articles

0

Usambara Mountains Accommodations

Kilwa Kisiwani Accommodations

Dar es Salaam City Accommodations

Udzungwa National Park Accommodations

Selous Game Reserve Accommodations

Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority Accommodations

Mount Ol doinyo Lengai Accommodations

Tarangire National Park Accommodations

Saadani National Park Accommodations

Rubondo Island National Park Accommodations

Mount Kilimanjaro National Park Accommodations

Mkomazi National Park Accommodations

Mikumi National Park Accommodations

Lake Manyara National Park Accommodations

Kitulo National Park Accommodations

Katavi Region Accommodations

Katavi National Park Accommodations

Gombe National Park Accommodations

Arusha National Park Accommodations

Serengeti National Park Accommodations

Lake Natron Accommodations

Lake Eyasi Accommodations

Lake Chala Accommodations

Lake Nyasa Accommodations

Kaporogwe Falls Accommodations

Lake Victoria Accommodations

Pare Mountains Accommodations

Uporoto, Kipengere and Livingstone Ranges Accommodations

Mpanga Kipengere Game Reserve Accommodations

Lake Jipe Accommodations

Matema Beach Town Accommodations

Lake Ngosi Accommodations

Mbozi Meteorite Accommodations

Nyumba Nitu Natural Forest Accommodations

Kijungu Falls, Natural Bridge and Kiwira River Accommodations

Mbeya Region Accommodations

Njombe Region Accommodations

Lake Tanganyika Accommodations

Mahale Mountains National Park Accommodations

Ukerewe Island Accommodations

Zanzibar Island Accommodations

Tabora Town Accommodations

Mikindani Town Accommodations

Iringa Town Accommodations

Musoma Town Accommodations

Mtwara Town Accommodations

Mwanza City Accommodations

Lushoto Town Accommodations

Arusha City Accommodations

Tanga City Accommodations

Karatu Town Accommodations

Dodoma Town Accommodations

Pangani Town Accommodations

Kigoma Town Accommodations

Bagamoyo Town Accommodations

Saanane Island National Park Accommodations

Mount Meru Accommodations

Kalambo Falls Accommodations

Materuni and Kuringe Waterfalls Accommodations

Rundugai Hot Springs Accommodations

Moshi Town Accommodations

Amboni Caves Accommodations

Ruaha National Park Accommodations

Dar es Salaam Marine Reserve Accommodations

Mafia Island Marine Park Accommodations

Mikindani Bay Marine Reserve Accommodations

Mnazi Bay-Ruvuma Estuary Marine Park Accommodations

Olduvai Gorge & Laetoli Accommodations

Maziwe Marine Reserve Accommodations

Tanga Coelacanth Marine Park Accommodations

Chumbe Island Marine Sanctuary Accommodations

The Nature Forest Reserve Accommodations

Nachingwea Town Accommodations

Liwale Town Accommodations

Ipole WMA Accommodations

Mbomipa WMA Accommodations

Enduimet WMA Accommodations

Morogoro Town Accommodations

Mnemba Island Conservation Area Accommodations

Burunge WMA Accommodations

Randilen WMA Accommodations

Ikona WMA Accommodations

0

Usambara Mountains Nearby Attractions

Do you have listing / info to add?     Add here

Join us on Social Media