The most popular hike outside of Lushoto is to Irente Viewpoint. It’s about 6km from town but we were too lazy to walk and took the jeep. While the road up to Mtae is wild the road towards Irente is surrounded by small villages and the land has been cultivated. It’s still really pretty though. I realised driving towards Irente that i’m not worried about the conditions of the roads anymore, it’s comforting to know that if we get stranded the resilient Tanzanian’s will do their best to help us. Rewind to March 2012 when I was stuck at the side of a highway on the outskirts of Amsterdam with no phone signal and tried to wave down a police car and they pretended not to notice us.
On the way to Irente Viewpoint we stopped off at Irente Biodiversity Reserve (which used to be called Irente farm) for lunch. The Swedish owner Anette was lovely and she got some of her staff to make lunch for us. Rye bread, jam, fruit, cheese, passion fruit juice…everything grown on the farm – delicious. Afterwards we drove further to the infamous Irente Viewpoint but nobody had mentioned that they have built a massive resort like hotel on the path leading to the viewpoint. It means that you now have to walk through the hotel where you pay 2 EURO to be able to see the view. I imagined walking through a jungle path towards the viewpoint not seeing a massive hotel with car park. Irente Viewpoint was still amazing though and luckily we could see for miles. Amani told us that the view is often obscured by mist. I thought the views up towards Mtae were far more impressive though.
Typical view from the road towards Irente