The Kidhege Waterfall is impressive but the hike to reach the falls is the highlight of this adventure amidst the incredibly diverse nature of the Shagayu Forest in Usambara, Tanzania. Hidden deep in the forest, determined hikers can find the peaceful oasis of the Kidhege Waterfall. The Shagayu Forest Reserve is one of 34 biodiversity hotspots in the world with a wide array of endemic plants.
The trail is pretty wild and requires a guide for most hikers although I managed to find this waterfall on a solo adventure.
BEST TOUR COMPANY FOR TANZANIA
Are you interested in traveling to Tanzania or trekking up Mount Kilimanjaro?
I did all of my tours, treks and trips in Tanzania with Altezza Travel and you can too! Use code ‘JACKSON5’ when booking for a 5% discount.
VISITORS GUIDE TO KIDHEGE WATERFALL
In this blog post I will share with you all the details you need to know about Kidhege Falls such as where it is, how to get there, how to book a guide, entrance fees and what to expect.
WHERE IS KIDHEGE WATERFALL
Kidhege Waterfall is found within Shagayu Forest Reserve, which is near the town of Mtae and Mambo in Usambara. It’s so far off-the-beaten-path that it isn’t even pinned on Google Maps. However, it is available on the Maps.me app and I found the trail that leads all the way to the falls is correct according to that mobile app.
From Mtae or Mambo the walk/hike is about five or so kilometers depending on your exact starting location. I began at Mambo View Point Eco Lodge and made it to Kidhege Falls before leaving in the opposite direction to finish up at the town of Mtae to complete my Lushoto to Mtae trek.
GUIDES & ENTRANCE FEES FOR KIDHEGE WATERFALL/SHAGAYU FOREST RESERVE
The staff at Mambo View Point Eco Lodge were pretty strong about needing a guide for this hike and I’ll be the first to say, you should probably take a guide. I’m pretty experienced with maps, getting lost, jungle trails, and doing things independently. I made it but even with the map things weren’t always very clear. I think 99% of people who visit these falls, should do so with a guide.
Your guide will lead you all the way from Mambo or Mtae into Shagayu Forest Reserve and then find the narrow, wild, jungle path to take you to Kidhege Falls. The guide from the lodge is $30 USD per person as of 2021. There is also a $10 USD entry fee into Shagayu Forest Reserve although no office at the entry or exit so you pay the lodge and they hand that over to the office for you.
MY EXPERIENCE HIKING TO KIDHEGE FALLS IN SHAGAYU FOREST RESERVE
My journey to Kidhege Falls began at Mambo View Point Eco Lodge where I had stayed on my third night of the Lushoto to Mtae trek. I decided to add a fourth, long day to the journey by carrying my entire pack to Kidhege Falls and then exiting out the other side of Shagayu Forest Reserve to finish my trek in Mtae. It turned out to be a pretty good route and in total it took 6.5 kilometers to reach Kidhege from Mambo View Point and then another five to reach Mtae from the waterfall.
After an epic sunrise at Mambo Viewpoint, I had a quick breakfast and headed off down the hill out of Mambo. Here’s a look at Mtae and Mambo View Point during my sunrise session.
The route to Kidhege takes you through Mambo and down to Kwemtindi, where you will be passing through local neighborhoods, villages and then onto the forest plantations. There wasn’t much cover from the sun in these first few kilometers so I was happy to make it to the tree cover of the forest.
The turn off into the forest wasn’t very clear but I followed the path on the maps.me app and it led me up a dirt ramp and into the perfectly lined trees. I had a lot of trust in that map that day. Once inside the pine forest, you will stay amongst the trees for a couple of kilometers until the path really enters the more natural, wild forest and becomes a single-track route.
There is then a turn-off into the wall of ferns and trees that would surely be missed if not for the map or a local guide. It was literally a hole in a green wall.
This hole in the wall led me along a dense forest trail that would not relent for the next hour as I squeezed through the narrow gaps, holes, and tunnels created by the thick bushes and ferns.
I started to realize why no regular tourist would come in here without a guide. I kept a very close eye on my GPS location in relation to the trail so that I never got far off the path.
Every now and again I would reach a small clearing and come across a huge tree, so high I couldn’t see the top. This truly was a forest rich in diversity and unique species. I was loving every minute of it.
No matter which direction you come from, you have to do a small section of trail to reach the waterfall out and back and then re-join the loop. This section is just a few hundred meters and ends by following alongside the river upstream.
If you are coming from the Kwemtindi side and see this strange camp with flags, you have gone too far and are on the Mtae side of the loop. But it’s only a hundred meters back so no worries. If you are coming from the Mtae side and you find this camp/flag, you are just 100m away from the turn-off the the waterfall. You’ll understand when you study the route on maps.me, it’s not too complicated.
After the warnings of needing a guide and the intense nature of the trail, I was both stoked and relieved to make it to Kidhege Falls without getting lost. I was the only one there and sat down upon a big rock to take in the entirety of this peaceful spot. What makes it so magical is the lush surroundings and how dense the forest is throughout the journey to the falls. I had lunch, basked in the sun took a few photos and moved on to the exit part of my journey.
The route out on the Mtae side was much less intense and I imagine this might be the side a tour guide takes those wanting to reach the waterfall in the simplest manner possible. I highly recommend the Kwemtindi side if you are up for the adventure. I made a few wrong turns on the way out to Mtae but managed to re-join the road and wound my way up the hill to reach the small ridge village of Mtae and complete my 82-kilometer trek from Lushoto to Mtae (with a few detours) in four days.
I hope you enjoyed this guide to Kidhege Falls and Shagayu Forest Reserve in Usambara, Tanzania.
TANZANIA TOUR COMPANY I TREKKED WITH
I did almost every single one of my treks, tours, safaris, and transfers with Altezza Travel. The guides and drivers were always well trained and on time with high-quality gear. They offer a wide range of tours, treks, and activities including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. If you book any safari, tour, or trek with Altezza Travel and use my code JACKSON5, they will give you a 5% discount on the entire tour price.
MORE TANZANIA BLOG POSTS
- For the mountain lovers: 14 BEST HIKES IN TANZANIA
- The top waterfalls: 12 AWESOME WATERFALLS IN TANZANIA
- The must-do: CLIMBING KILIMANJARO: WESTERN BREACH ROUTE
- Tanzania’s second highest peak: MOUNT MERU CLIMB IN TANZANIA
- Best place to base in Tanzania: WHERE TO STAY IN ARUSHA
- What to do: 25 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN TANZANIA
- My favorite solo adventure: USAMBARA MOUNTAINS