Home to a population of about 150,000 people, the Uruguru Mountains are a slice of the world privy to only a few. Treasuring stories and realities of influential women, incredible untrodden hikes and beautiful lush landscapes. The Uruguru are not particularly known and even fewer decide to include it as a go-to destination but those who decide to venture out for even a single day in the Uruguru Mountains can expect a change of perspective of Tanzania, Africa and the Creator’s nature.
What are the Uruguru Mountains?
A family member of the Eastern Arc Mountains, Uruguru are situated 200 km inland from the Indian Ocean. These mountains are part of an interlinked chain that extends collectively across the Taita Hills, Pare Mountains, Usambara Mountains, Nguru Mountains, Rubeho, Ukaguru, Udzungwa Mountains and Mahenge Mountains. Due to its geographical proximity to the Indian Ocean, the Uluguru traps moisture in its atmosphere and this absorption makes for an especially wet and damp collection of east-facing slopes. Lovers, of this cycle of water, can enjoy a rainfall estimated at over 3,000 millimetres with rain cascading both through the cooler months and throughout the hotter summers.
Who lives in the Uruguru Mountains?
The Uruguru Mountains are home to the Luguru tribe, also known as the Waluguru. This Bantu-Ethno-linguistic is the inheritor and steward of this east-central mountainous range and they have occupied the area for at least 300 years. This community have resisted the urge for urbanisation and employment opportunities. They continue to be an integral part of the Uruguru, with generational knowledge of their landscape. Historically and uniquely the Luguru practised a matrilineal descent which manifested a very particular social set-up and empowered a different dynamic across clans. The leaders of the Luguru were called rainmakers who could rise to prominence and convince people to trust and follow them. Colonialism would impose a traditional expectation of power and today most highland Luguru are Catholics and lowland Luguru are Muslims. Women still retain a legacy of influence in contrast to other tribes across the Eastern Arc.
What can you expect from the Uruguru Mountains?
Whether you choose a simple day drop by, or decide to stay longer, the Uruguru mountains are open to all. The most popular hike includes a 6-8 hours trek through the mountains landscapes, leading to encounters with the friendly Luguru people and even invitations to try the wild strawberries that bloom from the humid temperatures.
Hikes will commence from Morogoro Town, the biggest town in the vicinity of the Uruguru mountains. Due to the especially wet terrain of the Uruguru mountains, hikes must be organised in groups with a guide. Tours can be highly specialised and attuned to what you want, but it is important to be mindful of your environment and local’s way of living.
Situated at an elevation of 1,138 meters height and a two-hour hike up, the town is a beautiful escape from the world we are used to. Experience what it is like to live detached from easy transport, high streets and technology by visiting this modest but welcoming village. Guests can expect workshops and exposure to soil cake making which is used for infrastructure, the artful overlapping of mate weaving and try traditional food from locally cultivated legumes and maize. Visitors can also visit the Choma waterfalls which provide a fresh renewal of water.
Morningside, Old German Settlement
As the name may suggest, Morningside is a peak into the colonial histories of Tanzania, this Hotel built within the Uluguru Mountains highlights the tourism and curiosities colonialists had when they discovered the natural wonders Tanzanians had carefully protected for centuries. Part of the experience is the hike to the location and the lack of transportation can be an insight into the same traveller’s surprise those before would have felt centuries ago.
Considered the seat of the Luguru’s chief, Kinole Village is a lovely village with a market selling local goods including pineapples, black pepper, cloves and other organic agricultural treats free of additives found. The Kinole Village is also only a few meters away from the Kisimbi Waterfall, indicating how nature and man live in perfect harmony.
This is the third-highest peak in the region and can take an average of 9 hours of hiking. Not for the light-hearted, prepare yourself for a difficult hike with rewarding views including Morningside, Ruvuma village and tons of wild strawberries and blackberries to fuel your trek.