Mount Usambara Climbing

Overview

The Usambaras are approximately 90 kilometers (56 mi) long and ranging from 30–50 kilometers (19–31 mi) in width. They are part of the Eastern Arc Mountains, which stretch from Kenya through Tanzania. The range is 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 Mountains and the East Usambara Mountains. The East Usambara are closer to the coast, receive more rainfall, and are significantly smaller than the West Usambara.

The mountain range was formed nearly two billion years ago. 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 rainforests.

The West and East Usambaras are large ranges of Precambrian metamorphic geologic formations of acid-gneisses, pyroxenes, and amphiboles. These mountains were formed by faulting and uplifting creating the drainage system of troughs that form many watersheds, which provide water to a majority of the population of northeast Tanzania.

The Usambara Mountains are fairly unusual in East Africa with their natural regions still covered in tropical forests, which otherwise continentally remain primarily in Western Africa. Considered tremendously significant ecologically and a Biodiversity hotspot. There are many protected zones throughout the range, which are being expanded and contributed to by the Tanzanian government, associated NGO’s and research teams, and donor countries such as Norway.

Several species are endemic to the Usambara forests, including the Usambara eagle-owl (Bubo vosseleri), the Usambara akalat (Sheppardia montane), the Usambara weaver(Ploceus nicolli), the African violet (Saintpaulia ionantha), the tree species Calodendrum eickii.

Size: 3,500 km sq.

Elevation1,000m – 2,200m

Godfrey Willy

Godfrey Willy

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