lay southeast of Kilimanjaro rise and are green and fertile. There are three cultural tourism programmes that make it easy to visit these beautiful mountains. Two in the north at Usangi and Kisangara, and another at Mbega in the south. They all offer a range of affordable activities based around guided walks in the mountains and their forests, and encounters with the rural culture of th Pare tribe, who have been living in the mountains for the last six hundred years.
The Pare are the most traditional tribe of northeastern Tanzania. The isolation of the Pare from other tribes has resulted in their strong and distinctive culture and sense of identity. Whereas traditional knowledge of plants and their uses is fast disappearing elsewhere, the Pare have kept much of their knowledge intact, and are famede throughout northern Tanzania for the power of their healers, and sometimes also feared for witchcraft- -witches, called ndewa in Kipare, are invariably associated with botanical knowledge garnered over many centuries. It’s also thanks to the continuity of Pare culture that many of the mountains indigenous forests have been preserved, despite high human population densities, since the Pare consider the forests sacred places that are guarded by the spirits of their ancestors.
All this added to the fact that the Pare are a very welcoming tribe, make this a very rewarding place to visit.
The Pare Mountains are part of the Eastern Arc Mountains, an isolated range of ancient massifs that stretch form the Taita Hills in southeastern Kenya into Tanzania, where the range includes the Pare Mountains, East and West Usambara and the Ulugurus near Morogoro and the Udzungwa Mountains. The steep crystalline ridges and peaks of the Eastern Arc area are much older and a geologically separate formation from Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru. The current ranges began to take shape some 100 million years ago, and attained their present form at the start of the Miocene Epoch, 25 million years ago.