It was mission impossible. To just. go off on a solo adventure in Tanzania seemed like I was trying to break the law. From necessary park rangers, to required guidesby government law, it was just never allowed. Finally, I heard it was legal. tohike alone in Usambara, mostly because it’s not a hiking destination and just a connected village route. However, even still many people tried to convince me I would have to hire a guide.
It’s expensive but also limits your experience. If you are always with a guide who organizes everything and talks with locals you miss out on those interactions. Locals also interact with you differently when you are with a guide. It might not sound like a big deal but there’s a reason Usambara was close to my favorite trek in Tanzania. It was chill, on my terms and I had some unique and funny interactions with locals that would never have happened under the watchful eye of a worried guide.
This week I spent the entire seven days in Usambara. I took the bus to and from Arusha on eight and twelve hour journeys and then hiked from Lushoto to Mtae.
The Usambara Mountains are one of the hidden gems of Tanzania. A rich biodiversity hotspot with lush forests, incredible cliffs and mountain ranges, a network of local villages, and rare wildlife such as chameleons. Lushoto is the main town in the region and acts as the entry point to the mountains. It’s here that I began my journey as I trekked all the way to Mtae, passing through villages and forests throughout my 82-kilometer journey.
I wrote a huge 5,000 word blog post about the experience and I really hope you check that out here: USAMBARA MOUNTAINS: HIKING ALONE FROM LUSHOTO TO MTAE
I’ll add some of my favorite photos from the trek below but for all the photos, stories and details about the trek do check the link above.