Usambara Mountains

Usambara Mountains

Usambara Mountains National Park

Usambara is a beautiful mountain range with grassy plains and virgin tropical rainforest. The area has many colorful villages you can visit during your stay here. The Usambara Mountains are located in northeastern Tanzania, near Mkomazi National Park, about 3 hours drive (110 km/68Mi) west of Tanga.

It is one of the undiscovered places in Tanzania. And this is what makes it a true paradise for nature and hiking lovers. The lush green mountains have a cool climate that is ideal for walks and hikes. But one of the best reasons to hike the Usambara mountains is the amazing view. You’ll see sweeping hills, mountains, valleys, farmland, picturesque villages, colorful markets, and plantations everywhere you go.

The Usambara mountains comprise the easternmost ranges of the Eastern Arc Mountains. They are 90 km long and about half that wide. Faulting and uplifting formed them nearly two million years ago, and they are composed of Precambrian metamorphic rocks. The Usambara Mountains are very unusual in East Africa with their natural regions still covered in tropical forests and therefore they are considered a tremendously significant ecologically and a biodiversity hotspot with many protected zones.

Info About Usambara Mountains National Park

Getting there

The Area is accessible by road and air. Road. 171.32 km/106mi from Tanga, 257.58 km/159mi from Moshi and 359.8 km / 223mi from Dar es Salaam.

Air. Chartered flights are available to the Lushoto airstrip.


The climate in Usambara is usually dry and warm to hot. The warmest months are October to April and the coldest months are May to September. It also experiences two wet seasons, the long rains which are from March to May and short rains are from November to December. Mean annual rainfall ranges from 570 mm in the lowlands to 1,910 mm in the highlands

Best time to visit the Usambara Mountains

Although the climate is comfortable year-round, paths get too muddy for hiking during the rainy season from March through May. The best time to visit is from June to October, after the rains and when the air is clearest.

Flora and Fauna found

You can find over 3000 plant species and over 600 tree species that thrive in the Usambara mountains. Therefore, it is known as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. It, therefore, attracts naturalists and nature lovers from all over the world who come to watch birds, and study trees and flowers or butterflies. Several species are endemic to the Usambara forests.


You can go for a hike with a local guide and discover the beautiful diversity of this vast area. On a clear day, you can see the grass plains of Mkomazi as well as Kilimanjaro and enjoy the beautiful views that this area has to offer. During this special walk, you will have the opportunity to meet the locals who will wave to you and give you a friendly smile. The locals are very hospitable and if you are open and interested, you will be spontaneously invited to get to know them better.

You can hike up the Irente viewpoint to get a panoramic view of Mazinde village almost 1000 m below and the vast Maasai plains beyond.

Nature Walk

A nature walk can be done through the fertile farmlands of Jaegertal to a fruit tree nursery and learn more about the different varieties of fruit trees and their propagation. The “Growing Rock” tour starts from Soni where you walk to the top of the Kwamongo mountain, famous for its butterflies, and enjoy views of Soni, Lushoto, and the Handeni plains from the peak.

Saadani National Park

Saadani National Park

Where the Bush meets the Beach

Saadani National Park

Saadani National Park is a one of a kind paradise with a unique ecosystem where beach life meets wilderness. This gives you not only the opportunity to plunge into the Indian Ocean straight after your safari but also to be submerged in a unique display of both marine and mainland flora and fauna in a naturally fascinating setting.

The name Saadani has a close link to the Arab settlement in the area during the 19 Century. The name of a fishing village that, was originally known as Utondwe changed to Saadani.Saadani is such an important name in the country’s history since the time immemorial centuries or more, mentioned in chronicles of the Portuguese and notable travellers like Johannes Rebman, El-Masoud, Ptolemy, and Richard Burton among others. The historical Saadani leaves us with the evidence of not only visits of these travellers, but also of a former town which was once a trade centre coordinating overseas and hinterland bather trade, including the slave trade.

It was officially declared to National Park status in 2005 under Government Notice No. 188. The Park covers an area of 1,100sqkm after the annexation of the former Saadani Game Reserve, Mkwaja Cattle Ranch, Zaraninge Forest Reserve and Wami River. 

Info About Rubondo Island National Park


The Park experiences an Eastern African coastal climate with bimodal rainfall, which ranges from 800 – 1200mm annually. Long rains fall from March to June and short ones from October to December. February and July are the best driest months with peak temperatures reaching up to 29C. The best period for visits is the dry season, although the Park remains attractive year-round.

Park Purpose

Protection and conservation of coastal zone and its diverse resources and range of activities including the Beach, Green turtle and its habitat, Zaraninge low land forest, Estuaries and mangrove at Wami river, endemic, rare and endangered species, historical and cultural sites and interesting mix of scenery.

How to get there

By Road
  • 131km from Dar es Salaam via Bagamoyo off Makurunge to Gama Entrance Gate
  • 146km from Tanga via Pangani and Mkwaja to Madete Entrance Gate
  • 225km from Dar es Salaam off Chalinze and Mandera junction via Miono to Mvave Entrance Gate
  • On the Arusha – Dar es salaam road, off Mkata Junction via Kwamsisi to Madete Entrance Gate 79km from Mkata to Madete.

Park Attractions

These are places of interest where tourists visit, typically for their inherent or exhibited natural or cultural value, historical significance, natural or built beauty offering leisure, adventure and amusement to visitors.

Wild Animals

The spectacular concentration of wild animals like Waterbuck, Giraffe, Warthog, Yellow baboon, Reedbuck, Bushbuck, Hartebeest, Elephant, Buffaloes and Lion is obviously. Wami River and Estuary

Mafui Sandbank

It is within the marine extension of the park whose colourful coral reefs are important breeding sites for many fish species. While in the sandbank tourist enjoys snorkelling and diving underwater and learning about many different types of Indian Ocean living organisms. The chances of seeing dolphins and humpback whales putting on their show in the Indian Ocean are beyond.

Madete beach and nesting site for Green Turtle

Madete beach is one of the most significant breeding sites for the Green turtle the largest of the hard-shelled sea turtles in Tanzania. A Female Green turtle lays eggs along the shore and returns to the sea. The high season is from July to November and the moderate season in January – to March. Approximately 8 nests can be available during the season. The incubation time of the eggs buried in the sand is 45 – 60 days after which the hatching emerges.

Wami River and Estuary

It is among the few African coasts where large wildlife is still present in an estuarine situation. Here you are as close as one likes to get to hippos, crocodiles and other wildlife. Bird watchers will also be treated to not-often-seen migratory birds that love the shore, such as different kinds of sandpiper, Eurasian oystercatcher and the common greenshank. Evergreen mangrove trees along the river provide resting and feeding places for many bird species, bats, monkeys and other reptiles.

Zaraninge Forest

It is an evergreen lowland coastal forest with a closed canopy. Zaraninge is known to be home to some endemic, rare and threatened species of plants and animal life. It mostly supports elephant life during the dry season.

Pangani town

The name Pangani owes to the river that runs through the northern part of the Historical Town. Pangani is a very old town, it is believed to be established before the 6th Century BC as a coastal dhow port, but later became a station on the caravan route from Late Tanganyika for exporting slaves and ivory. Several historical sites in and around the town serve as reminders of the strong Arabic influence and the later German, and British colonial era in Tanganyika. The town served as a port when sisal plantations were set up in the colonial period before the Tanga Harbour was constructed. Nowadays it is mainly a fishing town with a lot of coconut trees, providing nice beaches for a quiet vacation. Pangani is close to Sadani only 40km to Madete entry gate which is an approximate 1hr drive on a rough road.


Game Drive

This activity is conducted from 06:30 – 18:30 HRS, with no additional fee for this activity. Four-wheel (4X4) drive vehicles are recommended, although the roads are easily accessible during the dry season. 

Guided walking to the bush(1-3hours)

The preferable time to conduct the activity is from 06:30 to 10:00 and in the evening from 15:30 to 18:30. Prior information is required for the activity.

River Cruising at Wami River

The activity is conducted at Wami River to the estuary area and takes a maximum of 2hrs

Visit to Mafui Sandbank

Visitors interested to picnic, swimming and sighting different marine organisms normally go to this sandbank. Organisms like starfish and corals can be easily encountered. Professional snorkelling and diving activities are conducted with their own tourist tools.

Mkomazi National Park

Mkomazi National Park

Home to the rare species

Mkomazi National Park

The Park finds itself in a beautiful setting with both the Pare and Usambara mountains towering above its boundaries. Depending on the weather, Mount Kilimanjaro can also be seen from the park. To the south, the pare and Usambara mountains form a dramatic backdrop and to the north, Kenya’s vast Tsavo National Park shares a border with Mkomazi, making common ground for migratory herds of elephants, oryx, and zebra during the wet season. Together with Tsavo, it forms one of the largest and most important protected ecosystems on earth.

Mkomazi derives its name from the Pare-ethnic language; “Mko and Mazi”. “Mko” means a traditional tiny wooden spoon used by the Pare people for eating and “Mazi” means water. This implies that the water in the Park is hardly enough to fill up the wooden spoon. It covers an area of 3,245sq km/1,240mi²

Info About Mkomazi National Park

  • Area: 3,234 km² /1,240mi²
  • Established: 2006
  • Distance & Drive time: 120km/74mi from Moshi. 
  • Location: Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania 


The climate in Mkomazi is usually dry and warm to hot. The warmest months are October to April and the coldest months are May to September. It also experiences two wet seasons, the long rains which are from March to May and short rains are from November to December. Mean annual rainfall ranges from 570 mm in the lowlands to 1,910 mm in the highlands.

Getting there

The Park can be accessed by road and by air.

Park Attractions

The most common animals in Mkomazi. 

  • Giraffe
  • oryx
  •  gerenuk,
  •  hartebeest
  •  lesser kudu
  • eland
  • impala
  • grants gazelle
  • elephants
  • buffalo
  • lions
  • leopards
  • cheetah

Black Rhinos

Black Rhinos spend their days and nights grazing and only sleep during the hottest parts of the day. When they aren’t eating, they like a cooling mud soak.

Ride into Mkomazi to come and see these majestic and powerful creatures that conquered the world.

Wild dogs

These long-legged canines can only be seen in abundance when you visit Mkomazi. Their four toes per foot unlike other dogs make them unique. They live in packs therefore they are social animals and communicate by touch, actions, and vocalizations.

Unique Vegetation

Mkomazi marks the southern tip of the Sahel zone which resembles that of a dry desert-like landscape. Due to the climate, the vegetation consists of Acacia Commiphora woodlands, and towards the western mountains the vegetation changes to a dry land forest

Bird species

A healthy population of 450 species is also found in the park and several species can be seen during a game drive. The most commonly seen species include go-away birds, ostriches, long-crested eagles, and bustards. Doves, hornbills, weavers, and guinea-fowl are all present in large numbers as well as such shrinking species as the martial eagle and violet wood-hoopoe.


There are several tourist activities inside and outside the Park

Day Game Drive

This is the main tourism activity in the park where visitors visit different areas of attraction inside the Park using vehicles during the day.

Walking Safaris

In Mkomazi visitors have an opportunity to walk around the Park with an armed trained Park Ranger. Can do a short walk around Dindira or a Long walk starting from the Zange area (Park’s Headquarters) to the Babus area

Bird Watching

The park has more than 450 bird species, including the migrant ones, birds of prey, and water birds, hence making this the best area for bird lover visitors to enjoy this activity within the Park.


Mkomazi National Park has a good scenery full of nature’s beauty, and other attractions found in abundance, this makes it an ideal area for filming.

Nature Walk

A nature walk can be done in Nilo and Amani Nature Reserves near Muheza town. Walking and Hiking in Chome Nature Forest Reserve in Same.