We spent three days hiking in the Usambara Mountains in North-East Tanzania. We had a local guide, called Chande, who not only gave us lots of interesting information about the local area, discussed African politics with Dave, but would also treat us to the occasional song or rap in Swahili. We spent the days hiking through farmland, villages and forests. Some of the pine forests felt like we could be hiking back home in England, it was even reminiscent to the forest where Mumma Silve fell in the river and had to be saved by her beloved dog, Loki.
This area is famous for the two-horn chameleon, our guide was excellent at spotting them despite their natural camouflage. Dave and I, however, were not so good, and spent ages trying to find them even in designated areas. Like most things this became a competition between the two of us. This ended in a pathetic draw of 1 - 1, but I am very happy to say that I spotted the first one... WINNER WINNER!
We were also able to see black and white colobus monkeys. Unfortunately, unlike many of the animals we have seen on our trip, these monkeys were camera shy... so you may have to have a quick google! We were able to watch them as they leaped from tree to tree with their white mane flowing behind them.
As we walked through the farmland we could hear children, who we couldn't even spot in the distance, shouting 'mzungo, mzungo, take my picture', and then as we came into the villages the shouts just got louder and more excited. They would follow us for ages just chatting with us, before they got bored and turned around to trek home. We even bought a clay giraffe from one of the boys, but unfortunately it did not survive the journey.
Over the three days we stayed in some varied accommodations. The first guesthouse we stayed in had no door to the ensuite, a curtain would suffice. Whereas we have finally got used to cold water showers, this shower was scolding hot with no cold water in sight. The bathroom was also lit with a red bulb so we looked like we were housing Amsterdam's red light district in our hotel room. The second night we were taken in by the nuns of the local convent. As it was Easter Weekend we were encouraged to go to Mass, the singing was fantastic but we couldn't understand much as the sermon was in Swahili. The final night was spent in Mambo View Inn, we slept in a little hut balancing on the edge of a cliff.
The view was incredible, as we were positioned over a plateau surrounded on all sides by mountains. As we were so high up, you could watch the rain cloud moving over the land below. It was definitely a great location to end our hike!