The Northern Pare Mountains are situated 50 km south-east 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.
DEVELOPMENTAL 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 programme 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. If you are interested, please check out these links: volunteer page (in order to see possible types of activities, then we can organize placement within our capacity) or contact us.