Part of the Eastern Arc range in north-eastern Tanzania, the remote Pare Mountains are extremely rewarding to the avid trekker searching for hiking trails off the beaten path. Home to the Pare tribe, agriculturalists and pastoralists who have largely retained their traditional way of life, a hike through the Pare Mountains takes visitors through local villages and beautiful forests, and offers the chance to see a little-visited part of the country.
The Pare Mountains are part of the Eastern Arc Mountains, an isolated range of ancient massifs that stretch form the Taita Hills in southeastern Kenya into Tanzania, where the range includes the Pare Mountains, East and West Usambara and the Ulugurus near Morogoro and the Udzungwa Mountains. The steep crystalline ridges and peaks of the Eastern Arc area are much order and a geologically separate formation from Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru. The current ranges began to take shape some 100 million years ago, and attained their present form at the start of the Miocene Epoch, 25 million years ago.
Home of the Pare tribe
The Pare is a tribe of agriculturalists and pastoralists who have largely retained their traditional way of life.
Southern Pare Mountains
150 km from Moshi Town, this area offers walks along steep slopes, through dense tropical forests and the villages of Pare in the Mbaga Hills deep within the southern Pare Mountains. See and hear the legend of the “growing rock”, visit the villages, the farmers, and listen to the legends of the Pare people.
Guided tours of the area will offer you:
=>A walk through the Chome forest reserve, a tropical forest of over 100 sq. km.
=>A climb to Shengena Peak, the highest point in the Pare and Usambara mountains
=>Walks to the Tona Moorland and Ranzi dam
=>Visits to development projects in the area (Irrigation, soil conservation, afforestation)
=>A chance to see ancient ruins from the colonial times
Mbaga Hills is located deep within the Southern Pare Mountains about 150km south of Moshi. Rising from the surrounding plains, the winding roads take visitors high into the mountains where they can experience some of Africa’s most spectacular scenery. With a back drop of quaint stone buildings and landscaped terraces, this area offers a view into a picturesque African village. Narrow footpaths wind through the mountains connecting the villages in the area. Whether you decide to hike through Shengena Forest, climb the peaks to view the vast Mkomazi Game Reserve or enjoy the rich history of Mghimbi Caves, there is a memorable experience for you at Mbaga Hills.
In addition to being able to escape on beautiful walks, you can learn about the Pare Culture. Reminders of the Colonialist Period can be seen in some of the villages and traditional history can be seen in such places as the Goma Caves where the villagers keep the skulls of 40 chiefs killed in tribal and colonial wars. Local farmers can tell you traditional stories of the mountains and about ceremonies that still take place in the forests. Walking through the villages you will get to see first hand how people are living: you pass local markets, local potters and brick makers, farms, schools and clinics, and even local breweries. In the Pare mountains you will be led by local guides and contributions are made to local village councils to encourage such activities as: local energy-saving stoves, tree nurseries, school supplies, etc. Hikes in the South Pare Mountains can be as short as 3 days or as long as 7 days with accommodation in tents and lodge
Hilltop Tona Lodge
Hill Top Tona Lodge is in the village of Mbaga and is far-removed from modern day chaos. Built in the beginning of the 20th century, each of the five modest brick wings have been turned into small cottages with electricity (operated by a generator), running water and private rooms. cal guest houses.
Northern Pare Mountains
Situated 50 kms south-east of Moshi, the Northern Pare Mountains have at their heart a village called Usangi, a centre of economic activities. The cultural tourism programme here offers a walk through Kindoroko forest reserve, climbs to different mountain peaks for splendid views of Kilimanjaro, Lake Jipe and Nyumba ya Mungu, visits to historical sites and projects concerning irrigation, soil conservation and reforestation.