The Usambara Mountains are a mountain range in North-East Tanzania
, approximately 90 km long and ranging from 30 to 50 km in width. They are part of the Eastern Arc Mountains, which stretch from Kenya through Tanzania, and are one of the world’s Biodiversity hotspots. The range is accessible from the towns of Lushoto in the West, and Amani in the East. The Usambaras are commonly split into two sub-ranges, the West Usambara and the East Usambara. The East Usambara is closer to the coast, receives more rainfall, and is significantly smaller than the West Usambara.
The Usambaras are fairly unique in that, being in East Africa, their unspoiled regions are covered in the tropical forest, which today remains mainly in the West of the continent. The mountain range was formed nearly two billion years ago and due to a lack of glaciations and a relatively consistent climate, the rainforest has gone through a long term and unique evolution resulting in an impressive amount of endemism and an old growth cloud rain forest. West and East Usambaras are large ranges of Precambrian metamorphic geologic formations of acid-gneisses, pyroxenes and amphiboles.
Today, the population of the Usambaras has one of the highest growth rates (about 4% compared to the national average of 2.1%), a staggering amount of poverty and highest densities of people in all of Tanzania (R. Matthews 2009).
However,there are still many places that attract tourists looking for an adventure off the beaten path. These include the bustling trade town of Lushoto, the once popular German resort Amani Nature Reserve
and farm, and Mazumbai University Forest, which is considered the last example of a pristine forest in the East Usambaras.