Longido is situated about 80 kilometers north of Arusha on the way to Nairobi, just at the foot of Longido mountain, which rises up steeply from the plains and forms an important orientation point for people in the wide surroundings. On the mountain and the surrounding plains, the Maasai warriors wander about with their cattle looking for pasture and water. Once a week, on Wednesdays, the cattle are herded to a cattle market in Longido town. Maasai families live in traditional bomas scattered over the area. In the early morning, women leave the boma to fetch water and collect firewood. Young children play around the mud houses and start at a very early age to take care of kids and lambs.
An abundance of colorful birds can be found in the area. The startling major, the red and yellow barbet, the masked weaver, the silverbill and the secretary birds are some of the species to be seen. Longido is further well known for the presence of rare mammals that cannot be seen in any of the national parks. The plains and the slopes of the mountain form the refuge for the gerenuk, the lesser kudu and the klipspringer. Among other mammals living around Longido are giraffes, zebras, gazelles, buffaloes, mongooses and some silver jackals. Half a day tour: You make a “bird walk” on the Maasai plains from the town of Longido to the bomas of Ol Tepesi. The Maasai guides will help you spot many colorful birds and also show you trees and plants that they use for preparing food and medicines. At Ol Tepesi, which is the Maasai word for acacia tree, the guides will invite you into a Maasai boma and show you the traditional way of life. Since it is known that tourism-programs sponsor the cattle dip, you always get a warm welcome.
Full Day Tour:
The one-day tour adds a walking safari from Ol Tepesi to Kimokouwa, along a narrow Maasai cattle trail that winds over the slopes of Longido Mountain. In two hours time, you gradually climb from the plains at an altitude of 1,200 meters to a hilltop of 1,600 meters. On clear days you have beautiful views of Kilimanjaro and Meru, and once you have arrived at the northern side of the mountain you can oversee the Maasai plains till deep into Kenya. The last hour you descent to Kimokouwa, where several Maasai bomas are peacefully situated in the green “valley of wells.” Nearby you can visit a historic German grave.
Day 1: Tourists with strong legs longing for adventure can climb the 2,690 meters high mountain. The first day you walk to the campsite of Kimokouwa.
Day 2: Guided by Maasai warriors you leave the campsite early in the morning and follow narrow footpaths through a dense forest. After three hours you arrive at the “dawa ya supu” (medicine soup) viewpoint. From here you will follow the trails created by buffaloes to reach the top in another 2 hours climb. With loud cries the Maasai warn the buffaloes that people are coming to avoid dangerous encounters. On clear days you can look more than 200 kilometers far and see all mountains of Northern Tanzania. The descent of the steep mountain is another challenge. In three hours time you arrive at the campsite, have a rest and in another hours and a half you reach the jeep road where a car is waiting for you. In the evening you enjoy a meal prepared by the FARAJA women’s group. On Wednesdays you can extend your stay with a visit to the bustling colorful cattle market.
Guides: Our guides are young Maasai who grew up in the area. They speak some English and further use hand signs to show you the beauty of Longido. They know all attractions and dangers, and have received tourism training. On walking safaris Maasai warriors armed with knives and spear protect you from animals.
Facilities: In Longido you can spend the night in guesthouses or put up a tent at campsites at the foot of the mountain. The guesthouses are simple, but clean, and always have a toilet and bathroom. On request warm water will be made for you. The FARAJA women’s group, who has developed a catering service for the campsites in the area, will prepare meals.
Development Funds: Cattle diseases are one of the main problems the Maasai are facing in Longido. Each year about 1,000 cows die, mainly because of tick-born diseases. Since Maasai life is centered on livestock, this can create quite serious problems. A reduction of the herd size means less work, less income and less food. Preventing cattle diseases is of major importance to the Maasai. Regularly dipping will kill all ticks and eradicate tick-born diseases. The only cattle dip in Longido is however out of order. During socialist times the dip belonged to the whole community, and therefore no one really felt responsible for it and the dip became neglected. Now the Maasai have established a committee, which is going to rehabilitate the dip, this is almost finalized. Part of the income generated from tourism has been used for this purpose, and 15 water distribution points have been installed in Kimokowa village.
Mto wa Mbu
Mto wa Mbu is situated on the way from Arusha to the National Parks in Northern Tanzania, just at the foot of the Rift Valley. Mto wa Mbu is the entry-port to Lake Manyara National Park, and also conveniently on the way to Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti, which makes it an ideal rest place for most safari travelers.
The area around Mto wa Mbu was rather dry and hardly populated until the early fifties, when the first steps were made to irrigate the area. Within a few years hundreds of acres of newly cultivable land were created. The news of the fertile lands spread rapidly through the country and from all remote corners people came to try their luck. Fruits and vegetables from all over Tanzania were introduced to the area, and within a few decades the dry and empty plains were turned into a green semi-urban center. The rapid population growth has turned this village into a melting pot of cultures. Nowhere else in Tanzania have so many tribes gathered in such a small area, and many people have still kept their traditions.
In Mto wa Mbu there are several campsites and guesthouses. In most of these places tourists can eat a meal and order a lunch box. During tours, visitors will have the opportunity of enjoying traditional cuisine prepared by local women in the village. Apart from the guesthouses and campsites in town, there are three high-quality lodges on the edge of the Rift Valley that oversee Lake Manyara National park and the surrounding area.
The guides used in these tours grew up in Mto wa Mbu, and recently finished Manyara Secondary School. They can speak English and are familiar with the area. They will be happy to tell you interesting facts and stories about the different cultures, irrigation system and the various fruits and vegetables in the area. They want to gain experience and earn a small income by showing tourists the beauty of their area. Farming tour: Starting from the market, where you visit a Chagga family producing banana beer, you walk northwards passing many different farms. On your way you get explanation about the various fruits and vegetables growing in the area. Mzee Filipo, a farmer from Kigoma, will show you his oil press and tell you about the history of irrigation in the area. Your trip ends at a farm build by the Belgium Development Organization ACT, where you can visit their sunflower production and take marvelous pictures of colorful flower fields with the Rift Valley as background.
Papyrus Lake Tour: This walk starts five kilometers north of Mto wa Mbu, where the Miwaleni waterfall that falls down from the Rift Valley has created a green oasis. Passing some small streams you walk in the direction of the Papyrus lake, from where the Rangi people collect the materials for the mats and baskets they make. On the way you can see rice farming and visit Sandawe families who still make the traditional bows and arrows for hunting. The walk can be extended with a climb to the waterfall at the Rift Valley.
Balaa Hill Tour: Starting from the center you walk in the northern direction. The farmers mainly grow bananas (30 varieties) and the big leaves provide a pleasant shade. On your way you can visit some farms and get explanations about the irrigation methods in the area. Finally, you can climb Balaa Hill, “the hill of misfortune”, in about 20 minutes, and enjoy the beautiful view over the green oasis over Mto wa Mbu. On the top, the guides will explain why the hill got its mysterious name. The walk can be extended with a visit to the Njoro springs, one of the main water sources for the area and a nearby waterfall.
One Day Walk: People who like walking can combine the three half-a-day tours in a one-day walk. Starting from the Mto wa Mbu market you go via the ACT to the Papyrus Lake. On your way back to Mto wa Mbu you walk along the foot of the Rift Valley, passing the Njoro springs and the Balaa Hill.
Development Projects: The Maasai women’s group is producing energy saving stoves, that use three times less firewood and therefore help to preserve the natural forests and reduce the workload of women. The profit from the tourism program will be used for the promotion of these stoves and other development purposes in the area.
Half day tour: In this tour you start at Sembeo’s household where several traditionally built, round houses give you an idea of how an extended family live together. The view of the Ngarenaro Valley and Leleto Hill is beautiful, and the presence of Mt. Meru makes it unique. Sembeo will show you how knifes are made and will explain how he runs his business. From here you either walk through a small coffee plantation and enter the open fields where potato, cabbage, maize, beans and other crops are cultivated. In Ilkisingo you will enjoy the view overlooking Arusha. Afterwards you walk down the house of the traditional healer. He is ready to answer all your questions and will give advice if needed. From there you head on to visit a craftsmen group, where the members make small wooden stools, jewelry, knives and traditional clothing. If you have had enough walking you can be picked up by car or you can carry on to the canyon of Njeche. Scrambling into the canyon is an adventure and abundant plants cover the caves and rocky walls.
Full Day Tour: From the same starting point you go down to the Ngarenaro River, cross it and start climbing Leleto Hill, from where you have a view of the Maasai steppe and its volcanoes. Then you walk through the fields in the direction of the forest reserve of Mt. Meru National park. You have a rest at Ilkisongo view point. From here you go back to Sembeo`s household where the women’s group is waiting for you with a traditional meal (maize, milk and red beans are the basic ingredients of the dishes). You walk down to visit the traditional healer, the craftsmen and the canyon. You also visit the primary school where money generated from tourism as development fees is used to rehabilitate the school. Tourists who still want to walk can continue down to Arusha in less than 2 hours. You will not walk alone, people are going to and from town and you are one of them.
Arusha – Ilkiding’a – Arusha: This is a seven-hour trip for people in good walking condition. The guide will pick you up at your hotel in the morning. Along narrow paths, passing the suburbs of town, you enter the fields of the Wa-arusha people in Ilboru. You pass the spring where people get their water for daily use, you visit a water catchment site built with help from OXFAM, a primary school, the Njeche canyon, visit the craftsman and have lunch at Sembeo’s place. From here you walk back you Arusha, passing other villages and coming out on the Moshi-Nairobi road. This trip can also be done on mountain bikes.
Three Days Hike: Traditional food can be prepared in the villages along the way. If you want western food we will bring a cook to accompany you.
Day 1: Arusha/Ologeruno/Ilkioga/Ormelil/Milkhasi Forest/Timbolo
Day 2: Timbolo/Olkolola/Ilkurot
Day 3: Ilkurot/Muklat/Ngaramtoni/Arusha
Traveler’s Code: The natural environment is precious; the villagers are asking visitors not to leave litter on their journey. Always take rubbish back to your starting point or to places the guides assign you. While swimming don’t use soap, the water comes pure from the mountain and people living downhill use this water daily. Please respect the customs of the people so that tourism will not disturb their culture. Descent clothing and behavior is required. Ask your guides permission before taking photos, so that nobody will be offended.
Development Project: The profit from this tour is used to improve the primary school. Your visit helps us to give the children a better education which is the base for leading a good life.
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.
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.
Guides: 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 slopes of Mount Meru offer a bit of magic for the tourist that is looking for a memorable excursion on a majestic African peak. A typical rural setting, the village of Mulala lies 1,450 meters above sea level on the southern slopes of Mount Meru and only 30 kilometers from Arusha. Visitors wind their way up the mountain through a maze of lush, green vegetation dotted with small farms. The villagers are mostly subsistence farmers and grow coffee, bananas, vegetables, and fruits. They also keep livestock for milk and beef. When you arrive at Mama Anna’s cheese making place, you will be warmly welcomed by the village women who will proudly show you their activities and offer you a glimpse of rural African life. Ranging from cheese making, to bread baking to a small store, the women have created projects which support their families and preserve their culture–all beneath the lush vegetation of Mount Meru. From Mama Anna’s, you’ll wind up and down the slopes of Mt Meru, experience the spectacular beauty of this unique area, and leave feeling you’ve discovered new friends. The women in Mulala have united themselves in the Agape women’s group. Through this group they try to support economic activities of the members and start new income generating projects, like the Mulala Cultural Tourism Programme. It is the only cultural tourism programme in Tanzania completely launched, developed, and implemented by women.
Marisha River Tour: This two-hour guided walk weaves you along the village foot trails, through the coffee and banana farms, and down to the scenic riverbanks of the Marisha River. Thick with tropical vegetation, various birds and primates, you can sit along the banks and be enveloped by the many wonders of the area. You may continue on to the Ziwa la Mzungu (Whiteman’s lake) where legend has it that a white man disappeared in the lake while fishing after being confused by demonic sounds coming from the water.
Lemeka Hill Tour: Crisscross the coffee and banana farms and head up for Lemeka Hill for a breathtaking view of both Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru. The scene is a visual patchwork of Maasai plains, small townships and surrounding hills. On the slopes of Lemeka Hill you can visit the farm of Mr. Moses Karoiya, the traditional healer in the village. He will tell some stories about the history of the Meru tribe, and provide extensive explanation on the traditional methods he uses to cure sick villagers. Once you’ve descended the hill, you can further delve into the Mt. Meru forest, head to the tranquil banks of the Marisha River or return to the point of origin, Mama Anna’s cheese making place. This trip takes about two hours.
Agape Tour: In a one-and-a-half hour guided walk you can visit the farms of all five members of the Agape women’s group. The women will give explanation about their farming methods and show you the various economic activities they have started, like cheese-making, bread-making, flower seed growing and chili growing.
Facilities: In Mulala the women have built a pleasant resting place where meals prepared by the women’s group can be served. A place for overnight camping is available at the women compound. From the first revenue a small bathroom will be built that can be used by the guests who spend the night at the farm.
Guides: The guides are mostly women who have lived for many years in Mulala. They speak some English, and can further use interpreters to tell interesting stories. In addition to the training in cheese-and-bread making, the women have undergone a tourism training program.
- Water is available for purchase
- Weather may prohibit walking tours
- Wear appropriate gear; good walking shoes
- Take a cap and sun cream with you when making longer walks.
Development Project: With assistance from a Dutch development project called FAIDA (which means “profit”), many farmers in Mulala and surrounding villages have started new economic activities over the last few years. FAIDA provides farmers with technology support, like introducing biogas systems, and establishes linkages between farmers and purchasers. The local entrepreneurs can follow training courses at the FAIDA office, e.g. on bookkeeping and marketing, and can be assisted with business plans and loan applications. The members of the Agape women’s group have seen their income growing considerably, thanks to the support from FAIDA. The profit from tourism they will use for investing in new economic activities. Further, the women will donate a part of the profit to the primary school in the village, since they consider good education as the key to further development of their village.
Engaruka is situated 63 kilometers north of Mto wa Mbu, on the road to Oldoinyo Lengai and Lake Natron. The village of Engaruka lies at the foot of the rift valley escarpment. Fast flowing streams from the escarpment are utilized to irrigating small plots and give the village a pleasant green look, in contrast to the surrounding plains where Maasai cattle graze side by side with herds of zebras. Birds of prey circle above the area looking for a kill, while remarkable looking secretary birds, beloved as snake killers, strut across the plains. Dust cyclones are often seen on the horizon, they are feared as ” devils fingers”, bringing bad luck when they touch people. Engaruka is one of Tanzania’s most important historic sites. Some 500 years ago, a farming community of several thousand developed an ingenious irrigation and cultivation system. The water that flowed from the rift escarpment was channeled into stone-built canals and led to stone-bench terraces. Measures were taken to prevent soil erosion and the fertility of the plots was increased by using the manure of stall fed cattle. For unknown reasons, the farmers left Engaruka around 1,700. Now, three centuries later, the ruins still give a good impression of the highly specialized, integrated agricultural economy, very remarkable for that period of African history. Although several famous archaeologists–including Louis Leakey–have investigated the Engaruka ruins, the site is still surrounded with mysteries. Many questions remain unanswered:
- Who were the people living in Engaruka?
- How did they come to develop such an ingenious farming system?
- Why did they finally leave Engaruka?
Several theories have been developed, but none of them have as yet been verified. Visit to the ruined city: The ruined city of Engaruka is situated at the foot of the Rift Valley Escarpment. Here you can see the abandoned remnants of the complicated irrigation system. The guide will help you to identify old graves, house walls, irrigation canals and terraces, and explain to you the various theories of the rise and fall of this highly specialized farming community. The ruined city abounds with colorful birds and butterflies, remnants from the German colonial times and you can visit an “Olpul”, a place where Maasai slaughter and eat their cows. A one or two hours’ visit will give you an impression of the ruined city; a chance that you simply cannot miss, when passing through Engaruka. For those with more time, tours can be offered that vary from a half day to two days.
Engaruka Farming Tour: Starting from the ruins you walk down to the green village of Engaruka. On your way you will visit several farms, where various crops are grown and explanations are given about current farming and irrigation methods in the area. Engaruka is one of the few places in East Africa where Maasai are practicing irrigation, but also other tribes have arrived into the area for farming. Your guide will give you extensive descriptions of the tribal background in the village. On your way back you can visit the market area of Engaruka, located in the shade of an African tulip tree and a huge mkuyu tree. Especially on the market days – Sunday and Thursday – a visit will be an unforgettable experience.
Rift Valley Escarpment Tour: From the ruined city narrow footpaths wind up the Rift Valley escarpment. Guided by a Maasai warrior you will gradually climb the escarpment. From above you have a wonderful view of the ruined city and over the surrounding Maasai plains. During the walk, the guide will help you to spot many colorful birds and show you trees and plants that the Maasai use for making food and for medicines.
Kerimasi Mountain Climb: North of Engaruka arises the green mountain of Kerimasi. The mountain is of volcanic origin, but not as steep as several other volcanoes in the area. The climb takes three to four hours from the foot of the mountain to the summit. On your way you see Maasai cattle grazing in the pastures on the slopes and birds of prey circling over the area. From the top you have impressive views of Oldoinyo Lengai, Lake Natron, the Ngorongoro highlands and the mountains of Ketumbeine and Gelai. The descend takes two hours. You will be collected by car to return you to your camp.
Hike to Oldoinyo Lengai: For a more strenuous and adventurous hike you can after climbing Kerimasi, try to conquer Oldoinyo Lengai, “the mountain of God” in the Maasai language. On day one you climb Kerimasi mountain and descend on the North side. You camp at the foot of Oldoinyo Lengai, the only active volcano in Tanzania. In the early morning of day two, preferably when it is still dark, you start climbing the steep volcano. Four to Five hours exertion will bring you to the top, where you can even enter the crater to watch the volcanic activity. Two and a half hours descent will bring you back to the foot of the Oldonyo Lengai for collection by car.
Facilities: In Engaruka there are two campsites with modest facilities. One campsite belongs to the Lutheran church and is located close to the ruined city; the other campsite belongs to a private Maasai and is situated along the main road from Mto wa Mbu to Lake Natron. In the village fresh fruits and vegetables can be bought and a women’s group can prepare a meal on request .
Development Projects: At the ruined city there are still several remnants of houses and graves and the former irrigation channels and stone terraces can easily be identified. Although built without cement more than 500 years ago, more has remained from the agricultural settlement than from the stone houses built by Germans early this century. However with the disappearance of the tse tse fly in the area two decades ago, cattle graze the area in the dry season, thereby heavily impacting the ruins. If this situation continues for another ten years, the ruins may disappear for good. The local community now wants to design a by-law to prohibits all cattle from entering the ruined city. In return, the community will ask an entrance fee from visitors. The fees goes to a village development fund to be used for development purposes selected by the community, such as improving the primary school or buying medicines for the cattle. In this way the ruins can be conserved and at the same time living conditions of the local people can be improved.
The Kisangara Cultural Tourism Programme is situated 62 kilometers southeast of Moshi in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro and the Pare Mountains. The center is reached from Mwanga town which is located on the Dar es Salaam–Moshi/Arusha main road. Kisangara Chini village is about 12 kilometers south of Mwanga. Small local factories nearby produce bricks, stoves, pottery and sisal fibers. In their backyards some families make local beer by using traditional brewing methods inherited from their grand parents. Every Sunday and Thursday there is a colorful market. Farmers from the surrounding villages come to sell their harvest. High on the mountain, protected by natural forests and moorland, you can find important cultural sites of the Pare people. In these forests, cultural ceremonies still take place. From the mountain tops, wide and spectacular views over the surrounding plains unfold showing the extensive Kisangara Sisal Estate. On the horizon you see the long drawn-out lakes of Jipe to the east and Nyumba ya Mungu to the west, the Taita and Kiteto hills. Mount Kilimanjaro is a stone’s throw way. From many places the impressive snow capped mountain can be seen. Farming Projects: At the center of this Cultural Tourism Program is Habari ya Shamba–HASHA PROJECT, which deals with appropriate technology and farming. Here you can become involved in farming activities and learn about various technologies like solar energy and rain water harvesting.
Carpentry, Bricks, and Beer Tour: This tour takes you to the carpentry workshop where you can participate in the making of various items. From there you visit a brick factory where you can see the whole process. To slake one’s thirst we finish with the brewing of local beer by squeezing sugar cane.
Lembeni Herbal Hospital: Lembeni Herbal Hospital is three kilometers from the center. Here you have an opportunity to talk with doctors and patients. You’ll see and be told about various herbal medicines used to treat different diseases.
Kindoroko Mountains: This hike starts from the center and takes you through the forest. Activities like visiting a tree nursery and planting trees can be included. At the top you are rewarded by spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru, Lake Jipe and Nyumba ya Mungu dam.
Spice Tour: The spice tour takes you through spice and herb gardens. Back at the center you will be involved in the preparation and cooking of a spiced meal. After eating, a cultural interaction with villagers and local dances follow.
Nyumba ya Mungu: Drive to the Nyumba ya Mungu–House of God–dam with its electricity power station. Fisherman migrated from Lake Victoria to settle here. They like to talk with visitors while repairing their fishing nets. Adventurous visitors can make an excursion in canoes and try to catch a fish. Walking along the shores rich with bird life is a unique experience.
Guides: Our guides are all former Secondary School Students who studied here and have been trained to fully understand the programme activities. Each guide has an identity card from the Cultural Tourism Programme. Please avoid walking with unauthorized guides.
Facilities: At the center there is good accommodation and catering facilities. Self-contained cottages and camping sites suit all kind of travelers. Transport can be arranged at the center.
Development Projects: The profit will be used to make primary school desks. Your visit helps to improve the education of the children.
Mkuru is situated on the North side of Mount Meru, not far away from the irrigated fields of Ngarenanyuki and the Momela gate of Arusha National Park. From a distance the area can be easily recognized through the remarkable shape of Ol Doinyo Landaree, the little mountain that looks like a pyramid. Maasai families live in small traditional bomas scattered throughout the area. In the early morning, the warriors start wandering with their cattle looking for pasture and water. Young children take care of the goat and sheep, and sometimes assist their mothers in fetching water and collecting firewood. With assistance from Heifer Project International some Maasai have also started keeping camels, and come to understand the benefits of this animal. On behalf of the requests from Maasai societies Heifer Project International is providing camels to individuals and groups. Since the introduction of camels in Tanzania in the early nineties, Mkuru has become one of the centers for camel promotion in the country. Over a hundred camels stay in the camel camp, from where they are lead every day into the plains to search for forage. At the end of the afternoon, all camels return to the camp and are milked by Maasai warriors. The camels are seen as a perfect animal for the semi arid plains between Mount Kilimanjaro and Lake Natron. Since they eat from the trees, they hardly compete with the livestock and they can stand the droughts much better than the Maasai cattle. If necessary, camels can stay up to 15 days without drinking, so they are capable of making long trips.
The area around Mkuru is alive with colourful birds. The rufous crowned roller, the red and yellow barbet and the Fischer’s lovebird are some of the more special species. Small game also regularly passes the area and in the plains to the north, giraffes and zebras are common animals. Different tours: A visit to Mkuru can be designed in various ways, varying from an overnight at the camel camp to a camel safari of several days.
The Camel Camp Experience: At the end of the afternoon you arrive at the camel camp, where you can see the camel herds returning from the plains and walk in between these animals that are very friendly to men. Often there are young camels, just born, that cannot yet walk and have to be carried by Maasai warriors to a place in the shade of a tree. At night, near the campfire, you can listen to sounds of the plains and watch the thousands of stars at the sky. In the morning you will see the Maasai milking the camels and you can enjoy the taste of a cup of fresh camel milk. The camel ride From the camel camp you can undertake a camel ride of several hours through the plains around Mkuru. On the back of the camel and guided by Maasai warriors, you can perfectly oversee the area and have good chances to view game and special birds. With Kilimanjaro and Longido Mountain at the horizon, and Mount Meru rising up right behind you, the landscape you are wandering through is of an amazing magnitude.
Camel Safaris: In cooperation with tour operators, arrangements can be made for camel safaris of more days. Starting from the camp in Mkuru, safaris are possible in the direction of Kilimanjaro, Longido Mountain and Lake Natron. In two days, a tour can be made in the direction of Mount Kilimanjaro, passing the wildlife corridor between Amboseli National Park and Tarangire and Arusha National Park. In three days a safari can be made to Longido mountain, while four days is sufficient to reach the mountain of Kitumbeine. Four the most adventurous ones, a seven days safari can be organized via the mountains of Kitumbeine and Ol Doinyo Lengai to the shores of Lake Natron. During the camel safaris you usually cover around 20 kilometres before lunch. In the afternoon you can always relax and explore the area around the camp.
Bird Walks: Guided by Maasai warriors you can walk through the acacia woodland around the camel camp in Mkuru. With their sharp eyes, the warriors notice every movement and will show you many special birds, that live in this semi arid area. If you are lucky, you can also see some game running away. It is advised that you bring a pair of binoculars if interested in this option.
Climb of Ol Doinyo Landaree: For a more strenuous tour without the camels, you can climb Ol Doinyo Landaree, the mountain with the shape of a pyramid. Escorted by Maasai warriors it will take you about two hours to reach the top, from where you have a beautiful view on Mount Meru and can look out over the Maasai plain between Meru and Kilimanjaro. In about one and a half hour you can descend the mountain and relax at the camels camp. Combinations of the various tours are very well possible.
Around Meru Adventure Safari: A camel safari in Mkuru can also well be combined with a visit to Arusha National Park. In two and a half day an adventurous tour can be made around Mount Meru. The first day you leave Arusha at noon and make an afternoon Game drive in Arusha National Park around the Momela Lakes. You spend the night at Momela Lodge and make the next morning a walking safari through the natural forests on the slopes of Mount Meru. In the afternoon you proceed to the Mkuru camel camp, where you make the camel ride the next day before you return late afternoon via the west side of Mount Meru to Arusha.
Guides: The guides are mainly young Maasai who grew up in the plains around Mount Meru, and are all well experienced in organizing camel safaris. They speak only limited English, but can explain a lot with hand signs. Especially on longer safaris it is advisable to go with an extra guide who can translate Swahili into English.
Facilities: In the camp there are three luxury cottages, that each provide room for two persons. The cottages share one outside toilet, from where you have an excellent view on Kilimanjaro. Camping equipment, including bush showers, is available for large groups. Except from tea of coffee with camel milk, there are no food and drinks for sale in the camp. On requests we can make use of the kitchen with energy saving stoves to prepare meals for our clients.
Development Projects: A kindergarten for the Maasai In the village of Mkuru there is no single primary school. Therefore, children who want to get education have to walk long distances every day to neighboring villages. Especially for the younger children this distance is simply too far. In order to give also some education to their younger children, the Maasai have now started their own kindergarten in Mkuru. A part of the income generated from tourism will be used to support this kindergarten.
Northern Pare Mountains
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.
Usangi Kindoroko Forest Tour: Via the Goma caves you gradually climb to the forest reserve on Kindoroko mountain. Kindoroko has the shape of a table mountain and once on top you can easily walk through the natural forest, while trying to spot monkeys and special birds. On the other side of the forest you will see stone terraces and irrigation systems in the village of Kisangara juu, before returning to Usangi via a route through the moor land.
Shigatini Village Tour: Via a natural forest you walk to the village of Shigatini. Here farmers will proudly show you the irrigation systems, soil conservation methods used and tree nurseries they have set up. Old churches and graves of the first missionaries can be visited as reminders of the early German influence.
Kamwala Mountain Climb: First we pass the Chegho moor land, where Mzee Keiya, an old farmer can tell you some fascinating stories about the miracles that took place here in the past. From here it is a steep climb through a natural forest to the top of Kamwala mountain. On your way up and down you alternately have good views to the plains north and south of the Pare Mountains.
Northern Pare Hikes: On request, walking tours of several days can be organized, where you can walk long distances through natural forests, descend the mountains and spend a night with a local family in the village of Kisangara chini or visit the further northern spurs of the mountains near the village of Ugweno.
Northern Pare Car-Round Trip: Via Mwanga you enter the mountains and first go to the Northern spurs, where you stop at the Wara storage lake. From here you turn southwards to Shigatini and Usangi. On your way you have perfect views, visit some progressive farmers and local factories and see several relics from the time of tribal wars and colonial rule. The tour can easily be done as a day-trip from Moshi or Marangu.
Guides: Our guides all come from the region and speak reasonable English. Most of them are working as farmer or craftsman in the mountains. When there are tourists, the guides can easily find spare time to show the tourists the beauty of the area.
Facilities: In Usangi, there are several local families that can offer a room to tourists. Most of these families stay at the compound of the Lomwe secondary school, where often one of the family members works as a teacher. The rest house of the school also offers three rooms for visitors. In Kisangara chini, tourists can spend the night at the Enimasha house of the Banduka family. Food can be provided at all of these places and is of good quality and prepared hygienically. In the mountains there are also areas that are suitable for camping.
Development Projects: German (GTZ), Dutch (SNV), and local (Enimasha) development organizations have initiated several development projects in the area. The organizations work closely together and try to assist farmers in increasing their agricultural production, while preserving the natural environment. The improved traditional irrigation systems, the soil conservation terraces on the steep slopes and the vast number of tree nurseries in the area are the most visible results. Recently, development organizations have also started to promote energy saving stoves, that use three times less firewood and therefore help to preserve the natural forests and reduce the workload of women. The profit from the tourism program will be used for the promotion of these stoves. When you are in the mountains, feel free to visit the various development projects. The Pare farmers will proudly show you the results and provide you with interesting background information.
Southern Pare Mountains
The southern Pare Mountains are situated in Kilimanjaro Region, about 150 kilometers south of Moshi. From the surrounding plains, the mountains look like a barren and deserted area, but when you start climbing the slopes, one of Africa’s most special landscapes is revealed for your eyes. Between huge desolate rocks lie small green river valleys where farmers have built impressive stone terraces. On top of the mountains is the Chome forest reserve, a dense tropical forest with many rare trees and plants. The forest offers an oasis of rest, beauty and fresh air. Visitors can easily walk a day through the forest without meeting anyone. The surrounding villages are among the most isolated places in Northern Tanzania and the local people have kept their traditional Pare culture throughout history. Narrow footpaths wind through the mountains from one village to another. A stay in the Southern Pare Mountains can perfectly be combined with a visit to the neighboring Mkomazi Game Reserve, where game drives and walking safaris are possible. You can chose different modules that vary from two to five days. In the two day visit you first climb up the Pare Mountains to Mhero village, where some farms and development projects can be visited. The next day you walk through the Chome Forest reserve from Mhero to Gonjanza.
The three day module adds a day walking from Gonjanza to Mpinji, partly through the natural forest and partly through the cultivated southern slopes of the mountains, from where you have a beautiful view on the Usambara mountains. On the way you can see the old river forest along the Saseni river.
The four day module includes a climb to Shengena peak. Strong legs and good shoes are required. The five-day module adds a walking tour from Mpinji to Bombo, from where you will descend the Pare Mountains through the Gonja Forest reserve. On the horizon you will see the extensive plains of Mkomazi Game reserve.
Guides: Our guides were all born in the Pare mountains and are very familiar with the area. They speak good English and can tell interesting stories about history, culture, and daily life in the Southern Pare Mountains. They also are well informed about the several development projects in our villages and have a lot of knowledge of the different trees and plants in the natural forest.
Facilities: In the natural forest there are several lawns close to rivers that are perfectly fit for free camping. The water is very clean and can be used for washing, cooking and drinking. Modest accommodation can be provided in the villages.
Development Project: During the past years the Netherlands Development Organization has in close cooperation with the Pare farmers established a Traditional Irrigation Improvement Program (TIP) in the mountains. The various forest reserves in the Pare mountains are of main importance for the irrigation programme. If the forests will not be well preserved, the sustainability of the irrigation systems can come under threat of diminishing water supplies and massive soil erosion. Deforestation will expose the land to wind and water, causing heavy erosion, faster surface run-off and less infiltration of water. Through afforestation and terracing farmers now try to protect their water and land resources. Some villagers however still cut trees in the forests, for which they hardly can be blamed, since they are struggling for sufficient food, fuel wood and income. Tourism can offer an alternative and more sustainable way of using the forest and may encourage all farmers to further conservation measures.
Historical walking tour: In Pangani, town elders, serve as knowledgeable guides who can impart their vast understanding of Pangani history and culture as they lead you through Pangani town. In 1810, the Arabs constructed the Central Boma building and buried live humans at each pillar in belief that a strong foundation would be formed. Later, German administration used the establishment as a Colonial District office and added a European style roof giving the building a unique appearance. The intricate carved doors and foundation still remain strong and is now used as the District Commissioner’s Office. Starting from the British Overseas Management Administration (BOMA), guided walks will lead to numerous historical monuments which Pangani is endowed with. Tours include visits to the original slave depots and slave market where Arabs traded slaves to India and Arabia, the freedom grounds, Islamic and German graves, ancient mosques and traditional houses will give tourists good insight into the fifteenth and sixteenth century history and culture of Pangani town. Meanwhile artisans proudly display the rich culture and tradition as visits to woodcarvers, basket weavers, carpet makers, and painters will attest.
Coconut Sunset Cruise: Coconut farming is a major income activity in the Pangani area as the vast coconut plantations in the area provide Tanzania with over 50 percent of coconuts. Starting nearby the port, a large team of 40 to 50 workers dehusk and haul giant mounds of coconuts which are transported by road to Dar es Salaam and other Inland Market Centers. After experiencing this labor intensive process, cruises begin down the river Pangani where Hippos, crocodiles lurk and fishermen reel in their day’s catch. The stunning scenery of never-ending coconut plantations will conclude with a lovely sunset over the river and sipping freshly picked coconut juice.
Agricultural and Nature Walk: This tour allows you to experience both the beautiful scenery and culture of Pangani. Tours commence in town and continue with visits to local farmers. Guides will lead you to various agricultural projects in the area, along with visits to the coconut processing, at Kikokwe German fort facing Pemba Channel. It is the birth place of sisal in Africa where Dr Richard Hindroph – a German Botanist planted the first Sisal seedlings in 1892. Later on, the guides will lead you to sisal estates and factories then to sisal plantations. Further more your guides will lead you along the coastline to a unique coral shore where the fossils of 200–300 million years, old dinosaurs rests at the area known as Mkomo and Mwanaunguja coral. During this tour you can swim or rest on some of the most spectacular beaches in Tanzania. Tours finally conclude with home visits with local families who will prepare for you authentic coastal cuisine and typical ethnic culture of coastal life.
Other Activities in the Area: There are numerous activities in Pangani to keep you busy. Sports fishing, swimming, cycling, and snorkeling with the sea turtles are some of activities that are also available. They can either be done separately or combined to make your tour more enjoyable. Also, social evening tours can be arranged according to your interests. Dolphins at Maziwe Island, Beaches and Game Reserves, Hippo pools and green turtles at Madete shall be added to your tour schedule on request.
Guides: Our guides are trained and knowledgeable local people who have grown up in the Pangani area. All of the guides can speak English and have many interesting stories and facts to share about the history and culture of Pangani. Our guides are very happy to answer any of your questions and are also looking forward to learn more about your culture. On request, the Pangani Tour Guides can lead you to telephone, bank, hospital, shopping, library and religions services.
Development Project: From every tourist, a development fee shall be collected and directly deposited into the Pangani District Educational Trust Fund. Please always demand receipts for any payment, it will help to ensure that your fees go towards development activities in the District In Pangani District, Educational Sector is among the first development priority activities. Because Higher educational standard of the mass people in the District is comparatively lower than any other District in the Country. Therefore concerted efforts are required from God and men-loving people to assist the District leadership to develop the educational sector in Pangani.
Machame area is a mosaic of beautiful valleys, deep gorges, rivers, waterfalls, farms and it is the home base of the Chagga people. Here you can experience and witness the only agro-forestry “best practice,” an intensive farming system of intercropping of mixed crop using traditional irrigation. Machame is an ideal place for acclimatization before climbing the mountain. From many points the snow capped peak can be seen.Sieny-Ngira tour: This tour starts form the centre at Kyalia, and takes you through Kalali market to Masama. Sieny catchment forest is historically a sacred place of natural forests, bridges and caves where the local people worshipped during the traditional festivals. Big caves were used to accommodate about 200 Chagga with their animals. Another prominent attraction is the natural bridge called “Daraja la Mungu” or “God’s Bridge,” crossing the Marire and Namwi rivers, which feed a waterfall.
Ng’uni hiking: The Sienye-Ngira tour is combined with a hike to Ng’uni via Tema where there are views of Bomang’ombe, Kilimanjaro International Airport and Nure hills. At Ng’uni you can expect to learn how to build the oldest Chagga traditional house called Mbii. On request food and accommodation can be arranged in the traditional house. Before you return home your guide can take you to Mzee Urassa who will brief you on stingless bee keeping.
Nronga Tour: The tour begins with an uphill walk from Kyalia to Nronga village. The guide will tell you about the natural and climatic conditions that the Uhuru Peak summit climbers face at high altitudes. At Nronga you will be able to visit the women’s milk purification centre. Women will explain how the dairy cooperative empowers women of the area and stimulates economic growth. From Nronga descend to the Kalali women group, specialists for Cheese production near Kalali market. Kalali, like other places, has its colorful market days every Monday.
Nkuu Tour: Starting from Kyalia the walk takes you through the fertile banana and coffee farmlands where you can learn about an intensive cropping system of mixed crop farming. On request, traditional food will be made for you or you may become involved in the preparation and cooking of Chagga food. On your return you can choose any route according to your interest.
Lyamungu Tour: This tour starts at Kyalia and leads you through Muwe, Nkuu village, river Weruweru to Lyamungu village where you can learn how coffee production assisted local people to become economically independent. Your guide will take you to the Lyamungu Coffee Research Institute where you will learn more about coffee production and can smell the aromas of different coffee types. Your stay in Lyamungu will also take you to the Narumu Women Pottery Centre, natural forest and the source of the Weruweru river. Home stays are available.
Mfuranungun View Point: This tour is ideal for acclimatizing because of its mountainous area. You start walking from Kyalia towards Nkwawangja, Nkweseko to Mfuranungun, where you can see Moshi town, Kilimanjaro International Airport, Lake Nyumba ya Mungu (House of God) and surroundings. Also, it is a source for most of Machame’s water springs. On your return you will learn about horticultural practice at Nkwewele, then hike via Mulotu to Marukeni. Finally you descend to the river Semira, which is stocked with trout.
Development Project: The profit will be used to subsidize various women and youth development activities within the area.
Babati district is located along the Arusha-Dodoma road in the Rift Valley, south of Lake Manyara National Park and west from Tarangire. The town boasts Lake Babati where floating hippos can be seen and which is rich in fish, both tilapia and Nile perch. Here commercial and farming tribes coexist with conservative cattle herding tribes to provide a distinguished cultural contrast. In Hanang District close by the beautiful Mount Hanang (3,418 meters), live the Barbaig people whose traditional culture is still unchanged and unspoiled. The women wear traditional goatskin dresses and the men walk around with spears. Visitors can mix freely with the Barbaig, commonly known as the Mangati living in the Mangati plains. If you are interested in bird watching, 400 bird species will welcome you on your walks in the area. Half day tour: You visit Managhat village, original home of the Gorowa tribe but now also a home for migrants. You will see dairy farming activities, farming with ox ploughs, biogas system, local Gorowa huts and a Killer Beekeeping Project at the bottom of Mount Kwaraa (2,415 meters)
One day tour: You walk to Managhat village (see above) and climb Bambaay Hill from where you see the beautiful Rift Valley landscape with Lake Babati and Lake Manyara. The Rift Valley Escarpment in the background and the Masaai Steppe at the east. Later you visit a respected Gorowa tribesman, Mzee Kwaraa, at his home. He will tell you about Gorowa culture, marriage, rain prayers, burial, religious and circumcision rituals. Optionally one can row, fish and view hippos on Lake Babati, using local canoes.
Three Days Special Barbaig Tour:
Day 1: This tour begins with a 70 kilometer bus ride from Babati to Katesh. Lunch in a local hotel. From here you start a 16 kilometer bush walk towards the Mangati plains. In Dirma, a Barbaig nomad village, you will be warmly welcomed at Mzee Gavachu’s boma. In no time you will see Barbaig women and men coming to see their new guests. Our Barbaig guide will help to translate where only Barbaig language is spoken. Seated on three legged stools you have dinner prepared by the women. In the huts a bed with a skin only is waiting for you.
Day 2: A relaxed day where the visitor can mix freely with people and gain the cultural insights from men and women, taking pictures together and knowing more about procedures of marriage, burial of elderly men, religious rituals, local taboos etc. Have a look at how they make the goatskin gowns and the ornaments, how they prepare the famous honey brew called Gisuda. One can try to herd cattle or fetch water the Barbaig way. The only school and dispensary can be visited where you can talk with teachers and nurses.
Day 3: Walk back to Katesh, where you have lunch, further bus trip to Babati or Arusha. Mount Hanang (3,418 meters) Trekking From Katesh, the fourth highest mountain of Tanzania, can be climbed in one day. An early start is necessary with guides and porters through farmland, forest, scrub and grasslands. Finally, after five to six hours walking, you will reach the summit. Another three to four hours is needed for the descent. But it is advisable to climb from Gendabi at the foot of the mountain, a three-hour walk from Katesh. Teachers from the Secondary school will provide accommodation and food. After spending the night in the village you climb and have more time to enjoy the scenery. Summiteers will receive a certificate.
God’s Bridge Walk: Drive from Babati to Bacho village at the foot of the Rift Wall where you visit local fish ponds. Along local paths climb the escarpment and visit God’s Bridge with a fantastic view. Descend and walk to the main road where you drive back to Babati Combined tours
All tours can be combined. A cycling expedition can be organized on request. For birdwatchers exclusive safaris are designed. A combination of a visit to the National Parks with our Cultural tour is possible. The five hours drive from Karatu, Mbulu, Dareda to Katesh is of an extreme beauty. From Katesh, the Tarangire gate can be reached within three hours.
Facilities: Full board accommodation in selected local hotels and guesthouses in Babati and Katesh. Selected family homes/huts in the villages with basic standards and without running water. Temporary self catering campsites can be organized. In the villages women provide food. Lunch boxes can be ordered from Joas Kahembe. Recommended equipment: Good walking shoes, sleeping bag (mattress), water bottle, filter or micro-pure tablets, anti-malaria pills and torch.
Development Project: In Managhat the villagers decided to invest the Village Development Fee in the rehabilitation of the primary school.
Guides: English speaking guides who know the area will help you around. A Barbaig born guide will tell you about Barbaig culture.