With their wide vistas, cool climate, winding paths and picturesque villages, the Usambaras are one of northeastern Tanzania’s delights. Rural life revolves around a cycle of colourful, bustling market days that rotate from one village to the next, and is largely untouched by the booming safari scene and influx of 4WDs in nearby Arusha. It’s easily possible to spend at least a week trekking from village to village or exploring with day walks.
The Usambaras, which are part of the ancient Eastern Arc chain, are divided into two ranges separated by a 4km-wide valley. The western Usambaras, around Lushoto, are the most accessible. The eastern Usambaras, around Amani, are less developed. Both ranges are densely populated, with an average of more than 300 people per sq km. The main tribes are the Sambaa, Kilindi, Zigua and Mbugu.