Nestled in the Tanga Region of Tanzania, Lushoto is a tropical dense haven perfect for hikers, nature lovers and mountain climbers. Lose yourself in a world of towering peaks of pine eucalyptus and banana trees.
Lushoto is the heartland of the Shambaa people, a Bantu ethnic people who are native to the area. Shamba means ‘farm’ and connotes the incredibly fertile land of Lushoto. Prior to colonisation, Tanga prided itself on various dynasties and kingdoms, including the Kilindi dynasty dating from the 18th century to the arrival of the Germans.
During Colonial rule in Tanzania, Lushoto was renamed Wilhelmstal, the Germans built large farms and plantations to profit from the labour and land. However, after the German loss of WW1, Tanzania was handed over to the British who attempted to develop the land and build transport links connecting the port of Tanga to Lake Victoria. Tanzania gained independence on the 9th of December 1961. Lushoto district was divided into 28 wards with Lushoto named as the capital.
General Info :
Lushoto is one of the eleven districts in the Tanga Region and borders the south of Kenya and is to the northwest of the Kilimanjaro region. Covering a total area of 4,091.62 km2 this wide expanse protects the Usambara Mountain Reserve, the Amani Nature Reserve, Mazumbai Univesity Forest, Soni Falls.
Visitors can arrange short day hikes or hiking experiences that span many days or a week. Tour guides possess a wealth of knowledge that is both experiential and instinctual that open minds and hearts to the secrets of Lushoto. Trek through forests, villages, and across varied natural landscapes all whilst learning about the fauna and flora. Visitors can also participate in cooking lessons and learn how to make Maasai cultural products such as jewellery.
Lushoto’s tourism is centred around hiking and cultural exchange, mutual respect that considers the natural environment and cooperation with local people. The biodiversity of this natural haven is protected by locals and communication that preserves the integrity of Lushoto.
Usambaras Lushoto Mountain Reserve
Usambara coming from the word scattered is a widespread reserve that encompasses the history and environment of the Wasambaa people. The area’s fertile land is rich with various vegetation like maize, plums, pumpkins and much more, highlighting it autonomous capabilities.
The Usambara Mountains
One of the unmissable sights of the Lushoto, located to the West Usambaras Lushoto Mountain Reserve, the mountains reach a height of 2440m. The forest and reserve is especially coveted for their diverse fauna and flora. Usambara also protects century-old farms and fertile lands, with some estimates of at least 215 age-old villages.
A beautiful element part of the West Usambaras Lushoto Mountain Reserve, the Soni falls are part of the Mkuzu River and fuse gloriously into the landscape.
Visitors can take a trip into history and explore the past by visiting the ancient royal villages that once ruled their environments without outside interference.
The Amani Nature Reserve
Established in 1997 to protect the diversity of the region, the Amani, which comes from the Arabic word Amanah (a fulfilment or responsibility) is dedicated to protecting the biodiversity of the area. The reserve also has a research station that was once established to research malaria but now focuses on zoological research.
Mazumbai Univesity Forest
The University Forest is a national attempt and promise to protect the wide range of animals and birds that thrive and live off the diverse and safe land.
Irente Biodiversity Reserve.
The necessity of protecting spaces like this is enabled by organisations like Irente Biodiversity Reserve. The reserve highlights how nature is intrinsically linked to our very existence by cultivating farm products that create artisanal food like cheese, jam, fruit and veg. The restaurant offers divine meals directly from the ‘back garden’.
Travel and accessibility:
Lushoto is accessible via many routes, Tanga Airport is the closest airport around 100km away. With flights from all over Tanzania including Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Pemba and Zanzibar. There are regular bus services and car services available from Mombo, the closest town to Loshoto.