Mambo Caves

also known as the Ngozoi caves

The population of the Usambara Mountains goes back to 1,5 million years ago. Traces of those past ages were found near the village of Mambo, among them the mystical Mambo Caves.

Besides the Mambo Foot Prints, after their discovery, the caves also provided us with signs of very ancient habitation, probably from the same species as those who left the footprints. The caves must have been created due to a heavy earthquake which made a number of very large rocks fall over each other. Earthquakes with that kind of impact are uncommon in the recent Tanzanian history, so the one being at the origin of Mambo Caves also must have happened a very long time ago. Since the Usambara Mountains are about 100 million year old this is very well possible. Several expeditions were organized with professor in history Mr. Ngema from the National Historic Documentary and Mr. Jumanne Gekora Maburi, archaeologist at the Ministry of Natural Resources, Antiquities division. Those investigations proved that the caves have traces of ancient and modern habitation, however the caves still leave some undiscovered secrets.

Since a lot of water passes through the caves during the rain seasons, both short and long one, the traces of the older habitation are covered by sand and rocks and have to be excavated. A known fact is that in the ancient times, the caves have been used by the Sambaa tribes who were living in the mountains and were being frequently attacked by the Massai from the Plains. Women and children were hiding in the caves during those war-times and men were on the outlook upon the rocks. The name of the near village – Mtae – still remembers those days as “Mtae” means “counting” in the local language meaning that people were counting how many attackers were ascending so the defenders knew how many stones they had to throw.

Today it is a peaceful place with a very special atmosphere which made natural healers set up their practices in the neighborhood, using the mystical vibes that anyone can sense the moment they approach the premises. On the way to the caves you can enjoy splendid views in the direction of the Pare mountains and the Mkomazi National Park.