Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Treking the Usumbara Mountains

Char at the top of the view point - you cant really see from the photo but the view went for miles!
As we neared the top the fog decended! But thanfully lifted soon after

We walked through beautiful lush fertile valleys - not what you expect from Africa

The villagers here made a good living selling there fresh produce all over TZ

Char Says: We left Rwanda on Feb 11th on a Rwandair Express plane bound for Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania. We spent the night at budget digs in nearby Moshi but our room still provided views of the grand mountain – not that we realized until we woke the next morning and the clouds had lifted.
A rickety old bus bumped us all the way from Moshi along a very steep mountain road to Lushoto in the Usumbara mountain range. Straight away we booked a three day guided trek, departing the following morning. Shortly into our first day we both felt how unfit we have become after six months of relatively no exercise - other than the odd trip to the well to carry water! But with encouragement from our nice and intelligent young guide, kiki, we fought the pain in our legs and were rewarded with some fantastic views.

The area has a climate unlike the rest of TZ, and as you can see from the photos, this gives the area a beautiful green scenery and provides fertile farming land. The variety of fruit and veg we enjoyed in the mountains was fantastic (making a welcome change) and included crops that we didn’t expect to find in Africa - apples, pears, plums and peaches to name a few!

After a furious morning of trekking - KiKi told us that the Usumbaras are used as training grounds for those wanting to climb Kilimanjaro, on this form we're still a few years off! - We arrived at our second night’s accommodation in time for a late lunch. That night we would stay at a convent. Being the 14th of Feb, it made for a most unconventional Valentine's Day, but the Sisters cooked up a feast for us and it was a lovely peaceful place to stay!

By the third day we were (finally) feeling a little stronger and conversations about Tanzanian politics and other tops of interest with Kiki helped to pass the time as we climbed the slopes. When we reached the peak we were disappointed to find low clouds blocking the view! We were told that on a clear day we could have seen as far as Kenya! By mid afternoon however the clouds had almost lifted and the view was indeed spectacular. Altogther we walked around 35miles over the three days in the mountains, fuelled by a diet of fresh eggs, chapattis and delicious fruit.

We decided to stay in Lushoto for another two nights to rest and relax, although we ended up doing another couple of shorter walks. One of which took us to another convent where the Nuns make and sell homemade Banana wine (yum!), jams and cheese! So you could say we've been eating our way around the Usumbara Mountains!

P.S. KCV update. The kids are still doing very well we hear. The New volunteers are settling in well and we are opening a nursery to the local children of the area within the next weeks. The kids are also getting healthy and healthy. One of our children went to the hospital for her regular monthly check up (as she is HIV poisitiv) top find that she has put on half a stone in just 2 months! Very good news!

PPS Sorry no photos - the computers being rubbish! We'll get them up ASAP!

1 comment:

Scribbler said...

Hi guys, it all sounds amazing and almost no need for photos! Lizzie was very excited you had been to Moshi where she used to live. I am so glad you are having an amazing time and I bet Zanzibar will be wonderful, I have heard its paradise! Love and hugs Helen xxx