In Tanzania, a land of superb landscapes and spectacular wildlife, another attraction stands equally tall – the people. Tanzania’s people are among the most welcoming and approachable on earth, with a range of fascinating cultures ready to be shared with visitors. From the Wachagga of the slopes of Kilimanjaro to the now world famous Maasai, a cultural excursion or a longer stay among local people is likely to become one of the most rewarding experiences of any holiday in Tanzania. In addition, many local areas run their own cultural programmes for visitors, bringing income directly to the community and giving the people the chance to show their lifestyle to the outside world on their own terms. Primary schools can be developed through a tour of the fascinating slopes of Mt. Meru, a health clinic is improved through a guided tour of the luscious green Usambara Mountains, or a Kindergarten funded by a stroll through the tropical vegetation of the Rift Valley. Cultural tourism programmes are beneficial to everyone – the tourists get a unique, unforgettable experience, the local people generate income and improve their standard of living, and both parties gain a valuable understanding of another culture which will last long after the visitors have returned home. Most cultural tourism programmes are located near the main thoroughfares of the principal tourist destinations, making a cultural addition to a safari easy to arrange. Guides are local people born and raised in the area, well trained in their jobs and proficient in English. Whether you spend the morning in a Maasai boma or trek by camel up a local summit, stopping to learn about traditional plants and tribal stories, a cultural tour is a must – do for anyone waiting to see the rich life of the Tanzanian people. Some of Tanzania’s best – known cultural tourism destinations include:
- ZANZIBAR – TANZANIA
A tour of the heartland of Swahili culture is a great way for visitors to immerse themselves in the local culture and to see how many Zanzibari’s live on a day to day basis. Learn about the many elements of the cultural fusion and cosmopolitan life that is Zanzibar society – music and dance, visual arts, traditional games, cuisine, and dhow culture to name a few. A cultural tour is the ideal excursion for those who want a real insight into the people and life on the Island, and is a great way to support sustainable tourism and the people of Zanzibar – Tanzania.
- EAST AND WEST USAMBARAS – TANGA REGION – TANZANIA
Africa’s Switzerland and a hiker’s paradise, with dozens of varied treks from half a day to a week. This stunning mountainous range is accessible from Lushoto in the west, home to one of Tanzania’s great historical Kingdoms, or alternatively Amani in the east. Today, much of the mountains are used in the production of coffee, sisal, tea, and cinchona, with rice grown in the swampy foothills.
- SOUTHERN AND NORTHERN PARE MOUNTAINS – KILIMANJARO REGION – TANZANIA
Walk the most remote mountains of northern Tanzania with local farmers, through traditional Pare villages and dense tropical forests. From half day to three day guided hikes, this is an opportunity to step into the culture of the Pare people. Visit the Mghimbi Caves, secret hiding place during the slave raids, and then proceed to Malameni Rock, the Scene of human sacrifices to appease evil spirits up until the 1930s. Profits from these tours are used to subsidise much needed energy saving stoves and educational scholarships.
- MERU – ARUMERU DISTRICT – ARUSHA REGION – TANZANIA
Only minutes from bustling Arusha, and centred around Africa’s fifth highest peak are spots that look and feel as they did decades ago. But everywhere, too, is transition as the Wa Arusha and Wameru peoples adapt tradition to progress and science. Visitors can meet a traditional healer, learn about animal husbandry and agriculture, and buy carvings and food stuffs from local handicraft co- operatives or womens’ businesses.
- MERELANI – SIMANJIRO – MANYARA REGION – TANZANIA
Only 70 kms from Arusha, Tanzanite One Mining is the largest and most sophisticated mine of the precious blue – violet gemstone, Tanzanite, who, in association with the Tanzanite Experience, offer mine tours through their visitors centre, situated in Merelani. Discover the intriguing universe of tanzanite from mine to market, through a geological / mining presentation and, for the more adventurous, a tour into the mine’s first ever JW shaft. Proceeds of funds generated from mine tour entrance fees and tanzanite sales will be used to support further community upliftment projects within the area.
- KILIMANJARO REGION – TANZANIA
Why not combine a hike up the world’s most impressive mountain with a visit to its people, the historically progressive Wachagga? See traditional and modern Chagga art, culture and homes.
- MAASAI LAND – MANYARA AND ARUSHA REGIONS – TANZANIA
See how the Maasai, among the last of the world’s pastoral peoples, are adapting to the 21st century in their own way and in their own time. Around 12 distinct groups of Maasai remain in the world, the largest of which now lives in Tanzania. Visit Engaruka, the lost city in the shadow of the Great Rift Wall, where Maasai mix irrigation, farming and traditional herding. In Mkuru, near Arusha National Park, short camel treks with local Maasai give visitors a glimpse into nomadic culture, as they climb nearby OL DONYO LENGAI.
- LAKE EYASI – MANYARA REGION
Lake Eyasi is home to some of the last hunter – gatherers in Africa, the Hadzabe / Hadza. This cultural group has made the area around Lake Eyasi their long – time hunting grounds. A day – trip or longer safari with the Hadzabe gives visitors a chance to experience a way of life which used to be common to all human societies on the planet, but is now rarely practiced anywhere. Morning hunts with the Hadzabe warriors, armed with bows and arrows, offer a fascinating glimpse into the hunter – gatherer way of life. Honey – gathering, walks to find traditional healing plants and food, and traditional dances are all part of the Hadzabe cultural tourism experience.
TANZANIA LOCAL AREAS OF CULTURAL TOURISM PROGRAMMES FOR VISITORS
- NORTHERN PARE MOUNTAINS CULTURAL TOURISM PROGRAMME
The green Northern Pare Mountains is where you as a visitor can get a real impression of rural African life, while enjoying the tropical vegetation on sloping mountains. The green northern pare mountains offer you a visitor;
- A walk through Kindoroko Forest Reserve, a natural rainforest on top of the mountains.
- Climbs to different mountain peaks, where you will have an excellent views of Mount Kilimanjaro, Lake Jipe and Nyumba ya Mungu.
- Visits to historical relics from the time of tribal war and colonial rule.
- A view into Pare culture.
- Thorough explanation about various development projects in villages, including irrigation, soil conservation, and reforestation.
FAST FACTS (NORTHERN PARE MOUNTAINS)
The Northern Pare Mountains are situated 50 kilometres South – east of Moshi, almost in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro. The mountains are reached via the town of Mwanga, the district capital where huge palm trees grow abundantly in the water streams down hill. From Mwanga a good sand road winds upward to Usangi, the centre of the Northern Pare Mountains. Surrounded by eleven (11) Peaks, the little town is a cetre of economic activities. Small local factories produce bricks, stoves, pottery and clothes. In their backyards, some families make local beer, using traditional brewing methods inherited from their grandfathers. Every Monday and Thursday, there is a colourful 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 their utmost to use every square metre of cultivable land. Hand – made dikes drain swampy areas, terrace building has enabled cultivation on steep slopes while traditional irrigation systems bring water to many farms. High on the mountains protected natural forests and moorlands are often sites of traditional clan – forests in the Pare culture. In these forests, ceremonies take place and witchdoctors perform their magic. From the mountain tops, wide views over the surrounding plains unfold, showing the extensive Kisangara sisal estate, the long drawn – out lakes of Jipe and Nyumba ya Mungu (“House of God”) and on the horizon, the Taita and Kiteto hills. Mount Kilimanjaro is a stone’s throw from the area and at many places the impressive mountain can be seen.
HALF DAY WALKING & HIKING TOUR FROM USANGI (Mangatu View Tour)
Through farms on the lower part of the slopes you gradually climb to the Mangatu moorland (1600m). On top you reach the Mbale Clan Forest, from where you have excellent views of Mount Kilimanjaro and Lake Jipe.
ONE DAY HIKING TOURS FROM USANGI (Kindoroko Mountains Climb and Rainforest Tour)
From Usangi, you hike up the 2,000m Kindoroko Mountain which is a moderately difficult climb. Once on top you can walk through the protected natural rainforest which is inhabited by Blue Monkeys and many seasonal tropical birds. On the other side of the forest you will see stone terraces and modern irrigation systems adopted by the local people, stop off to listen to a traditional healer tell of herbal medicines, and visit the women’s pottery cooperation to see how they make clay pots and energy – saving stoves, before returning to Usangi.
KAMWALA MOUNTAIN CLIMB
As you begin your climb through the Chegho moorland, your guide will tell you fascinating stories of the past and local traditions. It is a steep climb to the top of Kamwala Mountain, but on the way, you will have good views of the plains north and south of the Pare Mountains. After descending, you will visit Shighatini village where you can meet and talk to some local farmers who have benefited from the improved agricultural techniques supported by development projects.
NORTHERN PARE HIKES OF MORE DAYS
On request, walking / hiking 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 family in the village of Kisangara Chini or visit the furthest Northern spurs of the mountains near the village of UGWENO.
PARE 4X4 CAR ROUND – TRIP
Via Mwanga you enter the Mountains and drive to the Northern spurs, where you stop at the Wara dam. From here you turn southwards to Shigatini and Usangi. On your way you have perfect views, and can visit some progressive farmers and local factories and see relics from the time of the tribal wars and colonial rule. This tour can easily be done as a day trip from Moshi or Marangu.
OTHER TRIPS AND AREAS OF INTEREST
From Ugweno, other trips as well as accommodation can be arranged. There are many options and activities to do, and for someone looking for hikes of shorter lengths, Ugweno has much to offer. There are smaller mountains which makes for easier hiking, but you will still have fantastic views. In addition, there are ancient tunnels which you can enter inside and hear fascinating tales about early tribal wars. There is also a beautiful waterfall which you can hike to. Lake Jipe is only 1 ½ – 2 hours walk and from there you can canoe while trying to spot hippos and crocodiles. Accommodation can be provided at the compound of the secondary school.
RECOMMENDATIONS AND WHAT TO TAKE
It is recommended that you bring with you;
- Proper hiking or walking shoes
- A rain coat
- Cap and sun cream
- Your own camping equipment if you plan to camp.
SAFARI GUIDES / TOUR GUIDES
The guides all come from the Pare region and speak very good English. More of them are working as farmers or craftsmen in the area. When tourists arrive, the guides can easily find time to show them the beauty of the mountains.
FACILITIES AND ACCOMMODATIONS
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 6 visitors. In addition, there is a guesthouse in town which can accommodate up to 11 people. In the mountains there are also areas that are suitable for camping. The women’s group of Usangi provide meals which include some traditional African dishes. People who are hiking from Usangi through Kindoroko Chini, can find accommodation in Enimasha House where the Banduka family is running a guesthouse and a campsite.
ACCESSIBILITY (HOW TO GET THERE)
From Arusha or Moshi, a direct bus (Sahara Beach) goes to Usangi. Buses leave in the morning from the central bus station and it is about 5 hours to Usangi. From Dar es Salaam take a coach going to Arusha. Get off in MWANGA. From here buses are leaving for Usangi. It is a 1 ½ hours drive. Ask the driver to let you at the Lomwe Secondary School.
- ILKIDING’A VILLAGE CULTURAL TOURISM PROGRAMME (Typical rural setting located South West – Mount Meru – Arusha region) 6 kilometres from Arusha Town
- Background information;
- Ilkiding’a cultural Tourism Programme Provides cultural experience of the Maasai culture and is located just near Arusha Town. Located at the foot of Mount Meru, the other natural attractions such as natural forests, waterfalls, different bird species and scenic landscapes. Ilkiding’as maasai are a bit different from other maasai dialects since they have adopted agriculture farming, there fore practicing both pastoralism and agriculture.
- Cultural tour to Maasai bomas
- A visit to a traditional healer (get cured / healing over forty diseases)
- A visit to a traditional place of worship (Oreteti tree)
- Hiking on panoramic landscapes
- Mountain bike riding
- Waterfall hike
- Nature walks for bird watching
- Village tour to visit local primary and secondary schools, dispensary and local market.
- Visit the Maasai women hand crafts groups
- Coffee farm tour with local coffee experience
- A visit to local farms.
THE TOURS AT A GLANCE
Visit different families and experience the real lifestyle of llarusa. Get a great view of Engare Narok river valley and Leteto hill. Pass by sembeos homestead where you will see several traditionally built houses. This gives visitors an insight into polygamy system and extended family life as practiced by local Maasai. A visit to the blacksmith is enchanting and full of lessons to learn what they make and how they practice this technology over the years.
HALF DAY TOUR AND FULL DAY TOUR
Tour start at Eliakimu’s house (where is the starting point for many tour programs). A guided village walk takes visitors through coffee and banana plantations owned by local people as well as potatoes, cabbage, maize, beans and other crops cultivated in the village. Visitors will get a chance to interact with local farmers and learn how they practice mixed cultivation on hilly side of Mount Meru. The tour proceeds to the blacksmith, local families and women groups making various handcrafts. Visitors are advised to support the local women groups by buying some of their great hand – made products of your choice. The most popular is a visit to a much respected traditional healer, who most people in the village consult, and see which herbs he / she use to cure various diseases over the years.
ILKIDING’A VILLAGE TOUR
A coffee tour starts with a farm visit to see how coffee husbandry is practiced, learn the processes it takes to dry, roast and prepare your own aromatic cup of coffee to taste with friends and local
farmers. You will get a take home own packet of coffee from the coffee farmers.
- MTO WA MBU CULTURAL TOURISM ENTERPRISES – ARUSHA REGION – TANZANIA
Come to visit this beautiful oasis between Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro crater, an ideal place to experience an authentic taste of African life, inhabited by over 130 ethnic groups, including the famed Maasai, Mto wa Mbu offers cross – cultural interaction that can’t be reached anywhere in Africa. Additionally, it is ideal location near the rift valley escarpment and Lake Manyara which makes it the perfect place to explore Africa’s natural environment. Whether it is meeting the friendly villagers or viewing stunning wildlife outside of the vehicle, the Mto wa Mbu Cultural Tourism Enterprises has something for everyone.
- CLIMBING BALAA HILL (3 – 6 HOURS)
Climb to the top of the rift valley wall for brief taking views of Lake Manyara, the village of Mto wa Mbu and Maasai steppe beyond. Also, see array of diverse of local bird species and magnificent 2000 years old baobab trees.
- MAASAI BOMA TOUR (3 – 4 HOURS)
Visit a real Maasai boma and see the lifestyle of this legendary tribe up close. Along with the guided tour of the boma and an introduction to the local Maasai population. Tribesmen will offer to paint traditional tattoos for visitors and even let them milk their prized cows.
- MAASAI MARKET TOUR (2 – 4 HOURS)
Hundreds of Maasai gather each Thursday at the bustling Maasai market, where visitors have the chances to see their crafts and taste their foods, including the famous BBQ. A larger, village wide market occurs on 22nd of each month. The safari guide will even help you bargain.
- VILLAGE WALK (2 – 4 HOURS)
Get an inside look at the homes and exquisite crafts of Mto wa Mbu’s many tribes. Visitors will get a chance to meet locals and learn about banana beer. Makonde wood carvings, and the tribe painting techniques, kisu and tingatinga. A stroll through the village provide a great introduction to everyday life in Africa.
- FARM TOUR (1 – 4 HOURS)
See the innovative farming practices of Mto wa Mbu villagers and learn about irrigation system that sustains local crops including the 32 varieties of bananas.
- BIKING TO LAKE MANYARA (2 – 5 HOURS)
Bike to the shoreline of most Africa’s majestic lakes and get an opportunity to view wildlife like zebra, giraffes, hippos and buffalos at a close range in this corridor of migration between the national parks.
EXPERIENCED – KNOWLEDGEABLE SAFARI GUIDES
All cultural tourism enterprises safari guides are natives and have an extensive knowledge of the region’s natural and human history. The guides are fluent in English.
COMMUNITY – BASED TOURISM
Mto Wa Mbu Cultural Tourism Enterprises is rated as one of the best community based tourism organizations in Tanzania. The Cultural Tourism Enterprises distributes all proceeds from each tour directly back to the local population. In additional paying guides, artists, and local women as cooks, the Cultural Tourism Enterprises funds sustainable development projects such as schools, orphanages, health clinics and infrastructure. Your visits help protects the local environment, promote education, and empower women in the village.
ACCESSIBILITY (HOW TO GET THERE)
From Arusha – public buses leave regularly for Mto wa Mbu from the Arusha main bus station. If taking your own transport, follow the Dodoma Road going to Dodoma until you reach Makuyuni, then turn right on the Ngorongoro road. Follow Ngorongoro road for 45 km until you reach the village of Mto wa Mbu. The trip from Arusha to Mto wa Mbu should take approximately 1.5 hours by car and 2 hours by bus. Once in the village, tour can be arranged in the Cultural Tourism Enterprises Office in the red banana café, located in the centre of town, here you can meet a safari guide who can also help you find accommodation in a hostel or campsite in the village. Arrangement of any tour can be made with your guide.
- RUNDUGAI CULTURAL TOURISM ENTERPRISES – HAI DISTRICT- KILIMANJARO REGION – TANZANIA
Rundugai Cultural Tourism Enterprises is located 25 kilometers from Kilimanjaro International Airport and 38 kilometers from Moshi town, while 10 kilometers from Bomang’ombe, the area located on the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru at one point. The presence of different ethnic groups gives you a chance to experience cultural wealth of the villages, including traditional dances and local foods. The villages provide unforgettable experience in cultural and natural beauty of the area.
TOURISM SERVICES OFFERED
- Camping and home stay
- Cattle herding
- Maasai boma tour
- Traditional dance
- Local souvenir center
- Local food preparation and taste
- Cycling tour
- Rundugai village walk
- Chemka hotspring tour (Hai districk) – Kilimanjaro Region.
CULTURAL TOURISM SAFARIS PROGRAM
CHEMKA HOT SPRING TOUR (5 HOURS)
The tour takes you to the fascinating warm spring in the village with an amazing clear blue water in a beautiful surrounding covered with surprising roots of the fig trees, visitors will have a chance of swimming in a strong water flow in the spring, camping overnight and having local food prepared with local women.
RUNDUGAI VILLAGE WALK (5 HOURS)
Spending your day at Rundugai village with Rundugai tourism guides and learn on the daily socio – economic activities of different ethnic groups starting at Kijiweni street you will meet Rundugai Monday Maasai market which operates only on Monday. In this market you will meet different local products at this street – Mbege Bar / Banana Beer Bar (Traditional Chagga ethnic group brew), Traditional village Midwife, a woman Traditional Healer (Herbalist), proceeding to Majengo street you will meet Pare and Chagga crops growing field where you will meet different irrigation fields such as rice field, onion field and many other vegetable crops such as Okra, Egg plants and tomatoes which are growing in the area extending to Kikuletwa street you will see/ encounter with an astonished spring of Kikuletwa / Chemka where you will have a body refreshment and finally a hot local lunch prepared with local women.
LOCAL SOUVENIR CENTRE
Is a special area to display different products produced by local people includes sculptures, Jewelery, baskets, Maasai sandals, ornaments and other handmade products. A visitor can have a chance to learn how to make baskets, local mats and local hats. Tourists are advised to buy local products mainly because they will directly strengthen the local economy and support community groups as well as creation of more jobs to the locals and encourage local prosperity.
LOCAL FOODS PREPARATION AND TASTE
While you are enjoying your stay in Rundugai you will have a chance to enjoy delicious traditional food prepared by local women after visiting different localities and also you can learn how traditional food is always prepared by participating yourself in the preparation of food together with local women.
CYCLING TOUR (3 – 5 HOURS)
You as a tourist, you will be picked up from where you are, and drop you to the Rundugai village order to experience the local lifestyle of different ethnic groups while cycling. A biking tour to Rundugai village will give you a quick experience while enjoying cycling to different points, also arrangement and planning of organizing biking tour from Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA), Moshi town and Boma to the village where a tourist can get an opportunity to experience the beauty of the Rundugai village while cycling, attractive landscape, farms and the hotspring extend to the natural caverns.
TRADITIONAL DANCES (1 ½ HOURS)
The moment you are at Rundugai village, local traditional dancer (s), from Pare or Maasai ethnic groups will welcome you to enjoy traditional songs which aims to correct the society, entertain and special events when the visitors will have a chance to perform with them.
CAMPING AND HOME STAY
There are varieties of accommodation facilities around Boma and Moshi town, also in the village there are hostels and arrangement can be planned for camping in the village for overnight stay in suitable location, also for those who are interested in home stay will be taken to one of the prepared family where they will stay with their host and experience their lifestyle, foods and story – telling around the fire during the night.
MAASAI BOMA TOUR
You can extend your stay by visiting Maasai Boma to experience the real African ethnic group living culture, in reaching to Maasai boma you can learn on age set division of labour whereby duties are
divided in terms of age and sex. Also, visitors will have a chance to engage in mama yeyo activities such as milking, fetching water for domestic purposes by using donkey as a means of transport. Maasai traditional dances and finally a visitor will have an overnight in Maasai Boma and if a visitor is interested for a BBQ it will available on request.
In this activity a visitor will be involved to experience on how Rundugai pastoralists grazing and milking their livestock in their grazing areas, also a visitor will have a chance to accompany with grazing men to experience on how herds searching for grasses and water in the bush, this can be done in the morning.
WHERE TO STAY/ ACCOMMODATION
In the village, there are available home stay, camping and hostel; also there are different accommodation facilities around Boma and Moshi town. Arrangement can be done to organize accommodations according to your area of interest if you provide information at the right time.
GETTING THERE / HOW TO GET THERE
Rundugai village is located 10 km from Boma, which is located beside Arusha and Moshi main road.
- KIOGA CULTURAL TOURISM EXPERIENCE – ARUSHA REGION -TANZANIA
Kioga is situated just 5 km north of Arusha town. It is home to llarusa / Maasai family gradually shifted from pastoralism to agriculture, a big number of people still live in Boma (traditional houses) and some tried to build block houses. Every family from the village own two up to four cows for milk and beef as well as farms for crops to supply the city and beyond. Now Kioga is one of community organizing and offering cultural tourism in Tanzania. You are warmly welcome to enjoy tourism activities around Kioga village.
KIOGA TOURISM ACTIVITIES
- Camel ride around Kisongo area 25 km west of Arusha
- Day trip to themi waterfalls
- Maasai / llarusa place of worship and the Maasai Boma
- Bees keeping / zero grassing which is the source of biogas
- Great Hiking (Oldonyo sapuk panorama)
- Traditional and Maasai culture
- Farm tours.
GREAT EXCURSIONS (GOOD FOR COFFEE LOVERS – HALF DAY TOUR STARTING FROM 2 – 4 HOURS)
After your arrival at the tour starting point. The quality of Tanzania coffee is well – known worldwide due to its unique characteristics. Coffee from high altitudes are found to be rich in acidity, body sweet and well balanced flavor especially from the volcanic soil of the slopes of Mt. Meru and Kilimanjaro. Here at Kioga you will learn about Arabica Coffee which is the best as well as pick its berries, grind and roast to finally make your own cup of coffee. “Really good experience.” Next you will move to Sawe family where you learn about zero grassing and the biogas system. From there you will proceed to Oldonyo sapuk panorama for great and fantastic view over the Arusha city and its neighbours. You will then walk to one of traditional and local Boma for Maasai / llarusa traditional and cultural identification. At the Boma your guide will tell you about Maasai traditional ceremonies as well as old story and the cultural way of life. The tour will end at the traditional place of worship. You will learn about the Maasai beliefs as well as Maasai god, then return to the tour starting point where you will enjoy a fresh cup of coffee direct from the source.
WATERFALL (FULL DAY TOUR STARTING FROM 7-8 HOURS) OPTION 1; WALKING START FROM ARUSHA)
This enable you to enjoy the countryside of Arusha as you will wind up the mountains to the top of Oldonyo sapuk, enjoy a great bird eye view. You will go down the Themi valley, here you will enjoy the scenic Themi river bank, thick with tropical vegetation and home of colourful birds and primates. You may continue to criss- cross the river several times and finally you will reach the mouth of the biggest waterfall in and around Arusha. Take the same way back to Arusha (Lunch is provided)
The same programme in different way; Drive from Arusha to the village tour starting point, then continue to Oldonyo sapuk then go down the river till you will reach the waterfall, after the waterfall you will then go to traditional Boma where you will learn the Maasai / llarusa culture, stop at tour starting point for a cup of coffee and get back to Arusha.
CAMEL RIDE, MAASAI BOMA AND CULTURAL MUSEUM (HALF DAY – TOUR STARTING
FROM 3 – 4 HOURS
You will first start visiting the Maasai cultural museum and next you will have a camel ride towards the plain dotted by Maasai huts. A Maasai warrior will be your guide during the camel ride trip across the typical Maasai land, you will break at the Maasai Boma where your guide will introduce you to a local Maasai family where you will learn Maasai culture and tradition and then you will ride back to the camel camp.
- Mountain bike safari
- Maasai cattle markets on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.
- IFULONG CULTURAL TOURISM ENTERPRISES – ARUSHA REGION – TANZANIA
Programmes provided – including cultural tours and hiking with overnight in home stay arrangement with a local family offered at an affordable prices. In the evening visitors can relax at local pubs with villagers, learn about evening home chores and participate in activities of their choice. Selected homes offer visitors an experience of local culture, quality facilities for visitors comfort and have capacity to accommodate a wide range of group sizes. Generally, the people of Njoro and Poli villages are pleased to welcome visitors to experience real African rural life through;
- African dishes cooking experience / lessons
- A Meru tribe traditional dance
- A home – stay experience with local families
- A visit to Nringaringa; epicenter of Meru culture and traditional administration.
- A glance view of Wa – meru culture and history
- A hike to Nkwerangya and Kirundumini waterfalls.
- A bird watching experience
- A coffee experience tour
- A banana experience
- A guided cultural village walk.
SAMPLE ITINERARIES (5 OPTIONS FOR VISITORS WHO SPEND 2 – 4 HOURS IN THE VILLAGE)
- NJORO VILLAGE CULTURAL WALK (2 – 4 HOURS)
The walking guided cultural tour will take you through narrow paths between coffee and banana farms on the green slopes of Mount Meru where history and culture of Meru people will be explained. Learn day – to day life of the local people by visiting their local homes, local beer and wine sites, waterfalls, local schools, health centres, Nringaringa Meru tribe traditional site and tree nursery. Submerse yourself into local way of life and take a cool swim at the natural swimming pool in one of the waterfalls.
- COFFEE EXPERIENCE (2 – 3 HOURS)
The tour starts with a farm visit to see and learn how farmers plant coffee tree, care the tree at different stages until they pick ripe cherries. Visitors will learn different steps it takes to dry, roast, grind and then make a personal cup of coffee to taste with friends and the host family / local farmers.
- WATERFALLS TOUR (2 – 3 HOURS)
This tour will take visitors through rural village foot trails, coffee and banana farms, down to the scenic river banks and thundering waterfalls of Uriro and Makitengo. Rivers, with tropical vegetation, magnificent rock formations and various birds and primate species.
- BANANA EXPERIENCE / TOUR (2 – 3 HOURS)
A tour starts with a visit to a banana farm to learn how banana trees are planted; identify various and species of banana grown on slopes of Mount Meru. After the farm experience, visitors will see and learn how different varieties of bananas are used. This session will take visitors to learn how banana wine and beer is locally produced and learn how local people preserve bananas for various future uses. The tour ends with sampling various banana dishes.
- VILLAGE CYCLING TOUR (2 – 4 HOURS)
Cycling is one of the best ways to explore beautiful African cultural landscapes. The cycling tours takes visitors through local farms where they learn how locals practice mixed farming, traditional village life, local schools, health centres, old churches, Meru tribe Nringaringa cultural site and closer to some of beautiful and simple waterfalls of the area. This tour takes 2 – 4 hours.
NOTE AND REMEMBER
A plus is leaving behind your safari 4×4 and then experience the sense of freedom and a personal control of the adventure. Full day and multiple days cycling tours around Mount Meru areas on request can be organized and arranged if bookings are ordered. Please note that, above listed tour options can be combined for a full day experience or two days with a night in a local family or camping experience on greenery environment.
- FULL DAY TOURS (IFULONG VILLAGE EXPERIENCE (5 – 7 HOURS
The tour will take visitors through various beautiful farms of coffee and bananas, historical site of Nringaringa referred by locals as a cultural melting pot for Meru tribe, visit to waterfall, local families, local beer processing sites, old churches, visit to local schools and health centers. While in the village visitors will have a chance to enjoy with a local family a traditional African lunch.
- TWO DAYS / ONE NIGHT TOURS
After a full day Ifulong village experience tour, the next day after breakfast a tour guide will take you on a walk to the top of Shimbumbu hill to enjoy the magnificent views of Mount Meru, lake Duluti Caldera and Arusha town, then departure through Tengeru. On the way visitors will explore an old local Nsungu market, waterfalls and canyons of the river. For the visitors who overnight in the village, the evening time is a good time to enjoy sports with young groups, visit a local bar for refreshing local beer and wine or get a cup of tea / coffee while relaxing at your host family.
- MOUNT MERU VILLAGE FULL DAY HIKING (4 – 6 HOURS)
This takes visitors through hilly rural villages on the southern green slopes of Mount Meru. The tour will combine visiting local coffee farms along the way, local beer preparation sites, waterfalls and scenic views of the surrounding villages, hills, the Kilimanjaro peaks and crater lakes found on slopes of Mount Meru. Up – hill hiking will take visitors to 1820 m above sea level, learn the history and mystery of the local mountain farmers, watch the birds and visit local schools along the way to seela village. After a hot traditional lunch / packed lunch, the tour will continue, through lush green narrow foot paths and immerse yourself in one of the natural waterfalls and swimming pools after a local wine and beer tasting experience.
EXTRA INTERETING ACTIVITIES
- Learn Swahili with your guide and local host family
- Get your hair braided
- Visit community development projects.
WHERE TO STAY (ACCOMMODATION)
There are two options for accommodation in the village, one is camping on a family camp ground that can accommodate up to 30 pax and the other one is a home stay. Several hotels/lodges and guest houses in the towns of Tengeru (6kms away), Usa river (7kms away) and Arusha town (20kms away) are available.
There are daily commuters that ply the way between Arusha and Usa river. Get out at Someli and walk north towards Mount Meru for 30 – 40 minutes to Poli Barazani where the local home office of IFULONG CULTURAL TOURISM ENTERPRISES OFFICE is located. The village is located alongside Arusha – Moshi highway, 25kms from Kilimanjaro International Airport; for bookings and further information, contact Domestic Tourism Safaris Promotion Company (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- MIRERANI TANZANITE CULTURAL TOURISM PROGRAM – SIMANJIRO, MANYARA REGION – NORTHERN TANZANIA (AUTHENTIC MAASAI AND TANZANITE EXPERIENCE)
Mirerani has been named after a famous Maasai herbal tree (Mirera) – yellow – barked Acacia (Acacia xanthoploea), also known as in Swahili language as “Mgunga maji.” This plant species is also called by other Maasai people as “OLTEPESI.”
TOURISM ACTIVITIES AT MIRERANI TANZANITE CULTURAL TOURISM ENTERPRISES
- Tanzanite mining experience tour
- A visit to Tanzanite local market
- A Maasai cultural village tour
- A village and wildlife experience tour
- Schools, health and orphanage centers tour
- Chemka hot spring tour.
- TANZANITE MINING EXPERIENCE TOUR – 4 HOURS
Get a firsthand Tanzanite exploration experience. The tour starts at the Tanzanite gallery where cutting and display of gemstones is done. Then take a short drive or a bike ride to mirerani hills where Tanzanite and other gemstones like Green garnet, moonlight and rod light are explored. Your walk will proceed to the mining surface down in the tunnels to see the blue rocks. Learn how local miners does their mining activities and get to know all the processes and equipment needed for Tanzanite exploration, cutting and selling in local markets. Get a panoramic by taking a view of Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Meru.
- TANZANITE LOCAL MARKET TOUR (1 HOUR)
Get a taste of Mirerani Tanzanite local market. A walk through a Tanzanite local market dominated by Maasai gemstone brokers will bring you closer to know the culture of the people and gemstone business in the area. A close touch of gemstone business, and introduction with miners and brokers. Get your own rough or cut Tanzanite to take home. The market operates daily.
- VILLAGE TOUR (3 – 4 HOURS)
Take a walk or bike ride around Mirerani village for a mixed cultural experience. Proceed to a Maasai village for authentic Maasai cultural experience where one will get an opportunity to interact freely with Maasai.
- VILLAGE & WILDLIFE SAFARI TOUR
Get to know how people are linked to wildlife conservation in the area. Driven in the breeding grounds of the ungulates Maasai steppe on the South eastern side of Tarangire National Park. Migratory herds and carnivores of Tarangire National Park often visit these village grounds during short and long rains.
- SCHOOLS, HEALTH CENTRE & ORPHANAGE CENTRES TOUR
Your Tanzanite experience and Maasai cultural expeditions will proceed to visit local primary and secondary schools in the area and health centres.
- CHEMKA HOT SPRING TOUR (3 HOURS)
Take a safari around the open area for wildlife to Chemka Hot spring. This tour will give you a front row view of Savanna vegetation. Learn how hot springs are formed and get to know what local people believe about hot springs.
EXTRA ACTIVITIES AND SERVICES
- Traditional meals local lunch
- Learn how to cook Traditional African cuisines
- Get your hair braided
- Get a glimpse of Maasai traditional ceremonies
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
Mirerani Tanzanite Cultural Tourism donates its part of revenues to the village development fund meant to furnish development projects such as schools, health centres and Orphanage centres in the village.
WHERE TO STAY (ACCOMMODATION)
A number of options exists. There is a good number of hotels and decent guest houses within and around Mirerani village.
Tourists are advised to have the following items for their safety during their trip to Mirerani such as;
- Good walking shoes
- Sun cape / sun glasses or goggles
- Sun cream
- Pure drinking water
- Women and men are advised to wear jeans trousers and T. shirts.
There are two ways to Mirerani;
- Via KIA from Arusha or Moshi to Mirerani. From Arusha to Mirerani via KIA is 67km (Travel / Distance time is 1.5 hours. From Moshi via KIA to Mirerani is 63km (Travel / Distance time is 1.5 hours)
- From Arusha, Kijenge Road via Mbuguni to Mirerani is 39km (Travel / Distance time is 1 hour). For more information, contact Domestic Tourism Safaris at info@domestic tourism safaris.co.tz).
- WEST USAMBARA CULTURAL TOURISM PROGRAM OF FRIENDS OF USAMBARA SOCIETY
The West Usambara Mountains are situated in north eastern Tanzania between Mount Kilimanjaro and the Indian Ocean. These mountains rise steeply from the surrounding plain and can only be entered via a few roads. The only paved road in the area winds along a small river to the towns of Soni and Lushoto. During colonial times, the Germans and British favored these mountains, as evidenced by the numerous historical buildings. From afar the mountains are a colorful mosaic. On the fertile slopes around Soni and Lushoto, farmers cultivate small plots. Farther away from the towns, large areas of land are covered by dense tropical rainforests. The viewing points on the southern and western sides of the west Usambaras are well known for the spectacular views of the Mkomazi National Park and Handeni plains, and Mount Kilimanjaro on the horizon. At the end of the day the sunset turns the area into a palette of unforgettable colors.
- ONE – DAY TOURS FROM LUSHOTO (MONTESSORI SISTERS OF UBIRI (3 – 4 HOURS)
A short walk from Lushoto, visit this beautiful landscaped catholic mission. Learn about, taste, and buy their locally made cheese, wine, and jams.
- GROWING ROCK (5 – 6 HOURS)
From Soni, walk through the village of Shashui and Kwemula to Kwamongo Peak (“God’s Peak”), famous for its multi coloured butterflies and spectacular views of Lushoto and the Handeni plains.
- SAKHARANI WINE TOUR (4 – 5 HOURS)
Departing from Soni, walk through coffee plantation on the day to Sakharani where Usambara wine is processed. Upon your return, take in the Soni waterfall and visit local market offering fresh fruits.
- IRENTE VIEWING POINT (5 – 6 HOURS)
From Lushoto, hike to this outlook for spectacular views of the village of Mazinde and the Maasai plains almost 100 meters below. Eat lunch at the Irente Biodiversity Farm in their beautiful flower garden.
- MAGAMBA RAIN FOREST (5 – 6 HOURS)
Walk through villages and farmland to the lush rainforest where you can see black – and – white colobus monkeys. On the way back, pass by the historical royal village of the Kilindi (The Washambaa ruling clan) and an old German bunker dug during world war 1).
OTHER OPTIONS SAMPLE ITINERARIES
- COMBINED TRIP TO MAGAMBA AND IRENTE VIEWING POINT
For shorter stays in the area, a recommendation to hike to the Irente viewing point and Magamba Rainforest is a must see attractions, where you can see colobus monkeys.
- MAWENI SPICE TOUR (5 – 6 HOURS)
Hike from Soni to Maweni farm for a picnic in their beautiful garden, surrounded by butterflies and a chorus of birds. Along the way, learn about various spices grown in the Usambara Mountains.
- USAMBARA FARM AND FLORA (4 -5 HOURS)
Tour Lushoto and learn about its German colonial past. Then walk through the fertile farmlands of Jaegertal (“Hunter’s valley”) to a fruit tree nursery. On your request the tour can be extended to include a hike to vuli peak (2100 meters)
- MULTI – DAY TOURS FROM LUSHOTO
- Mtae; The world viewing point (3 – 4 Days). Trek through forests, villages, and farmland, visit and sleep in a local home, and experience the traditional life of the Shambaa people. Return to Lushoto by bus, bike, or private transport.
|MAZUMBAI FOREST RESERVE (2 – 4 DAYS)|
From Soni or Bumbuli hike through tea and coffee plantations to the Mazumbai Forest Reserve (“The Galapagos of Africa”), home to numerous bird species and black – and – white colobus monkeys.
- MAGAMBA, IRENTE, CARTER’S VIEWING POINT (2 – 3 DAYS)
Trek through local villages and the Magamba rainforest to Irente viewing point and then the Irente Biodiversity farm, famous for their locally made organic food products. After staying overnight at the farm, hike along the ridges of the mountains to carter’s viewing point. The next day, return to Lushoto or continue downhill to Mombo.
- BIKE TOURS (LUSHOTO TO MOSHI – 5 DAYS)
Ride mountain bikes on local roads through the lush forests of the west Usambaras. Pass through the village of Ndungu, Same, Mwanga, and Moshi. Optional one – day safari to Mkomazi National Park.
DIRECTIONS AND TOURIST INFORMATION
Lushoto is nestled in the West Usambara Mountains in north eastern Tanzania. Direct buses are available from Arusha and Dar es Salaam. Other coaches stop in Mombo, where local buses travel about 32 kilometers along a paved road to Lushoto. The friends of Usambara office is located 150 metres from the bus stop behind the NMB BANK. The friends of Usambara society was founded in 1997 as a grass roots organization working on the vision of operating sustainable tourism development while conserving the nature and culture of the region. For more details, contact Domestic Tourism Safaris Promotion Company at email@example.com).
TANZANIA CULTURAL TOURISM SAFARIS AT A GLANCE
The Tanzania Cultural Tourism Program was launched in 1997 to give local communities the opportunity to improve their economic livelihood by participating in tourism activities. Co – ordinated by the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB), supported by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, there are currently some 60 initiatives operating in various parts of the country. Tanzania is endowed with the rich heritage of 120 ethnic tribes and the Cultural Tourism Program provides visitors with an authentic cultural experience and a unique insight into the daily lives of the local people. The activities offered are a diverse as the villages, and include preparing local cuisine, making wine, helping to process coffee beans, learning how to make local handcrafts and traditional games. The cultural enterprises also host a number of music and dance festivals that attract many visitors because of their authenticity. Leave your vehicle behind and walk through the tropical slopes of Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro. Meet the Maasai and learn of their almost forgotten traditions and a way of life that is so closely linked to nature and wildlife. Listen to drum beats and interpret music and dances inherited from ancient ancestors. Learn the history of the Swahili coast. Explore the savannahs on camel back. Boat down a river, or row on one of the many lakes. Paddle between mangroves, learn about traditional plants and medicines, or sail to pristine sandy islands. Climb a holy mountain and benefit from the diagnostic methods of a traditional healer. Taste the local food – Tanzania has a unique and varied cuisine. There is an extensive use of coconut milk and spicy foods. Other distinctive foods include Kisamvu (Cassava leaves), Maharage (beans), Nyama choma (grilled meat), wali (rice), Ugali (maize porridge) and Goats meat. In Zanzibar take a Swahili cooking course and shop for ingredients at the local markets. Here you can find all types of bananas, mangoes, and countless other fruits and spices. And then, in the evening, listen to ancient legendary tales around an open fire. An experience you will never forget. And sample the local brew! In one of the newly opened cultural enterprises, Lyamungo Sinde, a village in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, tourists can enjoy the scenery of the highest mountain in Africa while staying with villagers to make handcrafts out of banana leaves or fish in the Weruweru River. The various cultural programs support the local community. Over 4,000 Tanzanian people benefit from a direct income every year. A portion of the income is used for community development such as renovating schools, providing books for students or tree planting projects.