Mwanza - Tanzania

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    Welcome to the Mwanza city – a new point to explore Western tourism packages at the heart of Sukumaland. (Lakezone tourism circuit’s hub)
    This second largest city in the Tanzania, offer a truly outstanding holiday destinations to the famous Lake Victoria – the second largest lake in the world that discover a unique opportunity to explore the colourful life on the Lake where soaking up the atmosphere of lifetime on the lake where fishing activities have not changed in the centuries!

    Founded in 1892 as a cotton trading city, Mwanza has become increasingly more and more important due to its location for the mining areas close by, and for its port handling the cotton, tea and coffee grown in this fertile area of Western Tanzania.
    This lakeside city must be one of the East Africa’s best-kept secrets. Mwanza, apparently, has been quietly plotting to become the “Great Lakes hub” It has also done something that only big banks, unique tourism attractions, good infrastructures, communication and nice western beaches, it appointed a “chief economist” in East Africa regions. Then it set about to achieve Kigali-style, unAfrican urban cleanliness and order. It went closer home to Moshi district, another promising Tanzanian town. Surrounded by lush expanses, Lake Victoria water, and lots of rocky hills, it is the only city where the poor build on the hill, and the rich in the valley.

    The city has some areas which in one way to another are very attractive for tourists, for example, it is endowed with various tourist attractions including a wide range of beaches, number of monuments, historical sites, massive rocks, beautiful shores of the great Lake Victoria, Sukuma notorious empire and largest Bantu kingdom groups in Tanzania.


    What to do while you are in Mwanza city; we advise you to explore the impressive history of Mwanza inner city before start your holiday package.

    The best starting is the roundabout of Tilapia fish statue where the there are three main roads are leading: to the East (Nyerere road), to the South (Kenyatta road) and to North (Makongoro road – on the way to the airport) from there, there are a number of tourism attractions natural and man – made attractions. On the way to clock tower in middle of the roundabout is an inscription recalling that in 1858 the British explorer John Speke was the first European to see from nearby Isamilo hill the water of Nyanza which he called Lake Victoria after the reigning British queen. He correctly claimed it to the source of river Nile. On the wall of the clock tower is a war memorial of the British, during the First World War – British troops coming from Kenya and Uganda drove out the German garrison of Mwanza who fled to Tabora to the south. The British administered Tanganyika up to 1961. Across the street in the direction of the Lake are former German offices with a decorative small wall in front. Here criminals were condemned and hanged on the gallows tree, the trunk of which remains in the middle of the road to the east.

    On the hill to the east of Makongoro road, one can see a German Watch Tower which was part of a large fortress, now used by the Regional Commissioner and his official residence. From there, down to the founder of modern Indian who was born and lived for several years in South Africa. We read that the last British Governor of Tanganyika, Sir Edward Twinning, opened the hall in 1957, On the inscription to the right, we read that was built by Patel’s from Bombay or Mumbai were then living Mwanza.

    After passing through of part of the bust narrow street of makoroboi “shopping street” one can climbing up to the hill at the Wambura bar to the Robert Koch – house built by the German before the first World War for medical research (Dr. Robert Koch – Nobel prize winner in medicine -1905) was the inventor of the cure for tuberculosis.
    Tour to Kamanga ferry station
    At the Lake is the busy Kamanga ferry station, during half hour journey the ferry boat lake passengers and car across Mwanza gulf, first passing the Capri Point Peninsular with its new luxury residences. This ferry leaves every hour. As you tourists, can climb up to the captain’s Steering cabin and get a wide view over Lake Victoria and the city of Mwanza. To the north next to the ferry landing in the morning there is a busy fish, vegetable and fruit open market.


    Located to the south of the Kamanga ferry station famous Bismarck rock – the main logo or symbol of Mwanza. It is named after the German Chancellor (1815 – 1898) under whom the town of Mwanza was started as an administration center in German East Africa in the 1890’s.


    The following the wind road we reach again the lake at the eastern side of the Peninsula. At the beautiful conference or training center of the Bank of Tanzania, opposite, there is wasanii art gallery center – this is a house of artisans, well – known as Tinga tinga painting art which produced decoration art works, cultures, and handcrafts items in Mwanza city. You will find them for any kind of African art works and handicraft that bring you the best art works made by creative artists in East Africa.

    It is an opportunity to explore Mwanza’s history, its people’s culture, the natural beauty and meet with respective elder (chief of Basukuma) who will refresh you and to know all about Sukuma tribe and interesting stories as well as historical buildings found in different places around the city. A visit to Mwanza historical areas such the Germany bomas, Saanane Island national park, and Bismarck rocky at Kamanga ferry while visit women local action group curio shops at Nkrumah Street and Fish market at Kamanga ferry or Iloganzala area.

    Welcome to Mwanza city, is the perfectly positioned to serve as a lake and safari destination and widely considered as a gateway of great Lakes countries in Africa. The cruise tourism should definitely b pursue as it will open up a new tourism packages and the world’s newest cruise destination on the Lake Victoria…” The Pearl of Africa”

    Boat cruising tourism recognizes the social, cultural and uniqueness of new tourism packages which offer an experience, adventures and education that engages the senses of stimulates in minds, the sound of silence and share our lake life and Africa sunset cruise and sundowners’ that kept into your memory in lifetime!
    We will take you on adventure boat trips into the history of local fishermen and current affairs to experience eye-opening events will stay
    This is a great sailing and boat excursion for the time limited traveler in the late of afternoon to cruise along the a great Lake Victoria, slicing through the unique island, as the crew serve canapés and keep your glass topped up with your choice of a selection of soft drinks, hard rules or drinking water, encouraging you to sink back into the cushions and enjoy the romance on the Lake Victoria while watching the scenery drift by.
    A personal guide will accompany you on your cruise and give you a tour of Mwanza city from the water. Watch the sunset, changing the sky from shades of pinks and blues to magnificent golden colours as you sail back towards the glimmering lights of Mwanza city.

    Guided tours to Lake Victoria
    Lake Victoria is the second largest lake in the world. Tanzania has a lion’s share among the three East African States of Kenya and Uganda. Tourists will explore the village, see people going to the field and fishing. At the lake they will see fishermen bring to the shore their night catch and buyers negotiating their deals. Women and children will be serving tea right there as preparations for next fishing trip begins. Our guide will explain the history, ecology, geology and the economic importance of the lake relating it with Sukuma culture. People will lead you through and teach you about their fascinating way of life. Among other things you will be able to experience traditional canoeing and participate in the fishing expedition at an extra cost.

    This is very interesting history about first explorers in the Nyanza Expeditions after the very first geographer to venture in giving some data on the interior of Africa, is a Syrian named Marinus of Tyre. He reported on the expedition of a Greek merchant named Diogenes who is said to have travelled “inland for 25days” journey and arrived in the vicinity of the Great lakes, near the Mountain of the Moon.

    The mystery of the source of the Nile River captivated the imagination of mankind for three thousand years before it was solved. All efforts to trace the source by following the river upstream from Egypt failed miserably, thwarted by impenetrable swamps in what is now Sudan. Finally, in 1857 two British explorers, Sir Richard Francis Burton and Captain John Henning Speke, set out to determine once and for all the lay of the land in central Africa, initiating a great era of risk, romance and adventure-filled exploration.

    Burton and Speke’s journey began on the island of Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania, headed inland through Tabora and continued west to the village of Ujiji on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in source of the Nile River, while at Kazeh heard from an Arab trade of the existence of another big lake to the North. Leaving Burton sick at Tabora, Speke departed hastily in the direction of north and reaching in Nyanza land, for first time saw the Victoria Nyanza (Lake Victoria) from a promontory (Isamilo) It was the 3rd August, 1858.Speke finding no boats and the Lake out of prospect, marched three miles eastwards to a village (Ngombe -now Igombe village) inhabited by Mansur, a half -cast Arab, a short visit to King – Kingo of Mwanza, was the senior chief of Sukuma empire of Nyanzaland!

    This man was an outcast who for small offenses had been flogged out of Kazeh by his compatriots. (Speke’s Journal). He returned in haste to Tabora to inform his friend Burton, “Eureka! I have found the source of the Nile, he told him. Burton did not accept it; you cannot prove it, you did not see the Nile right at its source! Soon after their return to England, Speke, who had arrived first, trumpeted his own beliefs to the world. His manner and arrogance had made him numerous enemies over the years and, upon his return to England, was immediately criticized by Burton for not having circumnavigated the entire lake. Others took up the cry and it was determined that yet another expedition was in order.

    The royal Geographical Society under Sir Murchison authorizes Speke and Grant to organize another expedition to the Great Lake. They named it Victoria -Nyanza, Victoria because of their reigning Queen, and Nyanza because the Africans called it so, not knowing that the word simply meant “Lake” Speke and Grant went back again in October,1860, and passing by the west side of Lake, crossed the Kagera river in Karagwe. On the 28th July, 1862, they were at Ripon falls right at the place where the Nile starts. Speke was right the Nyanza was really the source of the Nile, but was the Nyanza which Speke had been at Mwanza and the Nyanza at Ripon falls one single Lake?

    Nobody could prove it, because no one had yet circumnavigated the Lake. The Geographical debated this for several more years until Stanley who had just returned from Africa rescuing Dr. Livingstone was chosen and sponsored by The Daily Telegraph of London and The New York Herald to make another expedition to the Lake this time to circumnavigate it completely.

    He left Zanzibar on the 17th November, 1874, with 356 people including 3Europeans; two were brothers of the Peacock family, the other one is Fredrick Backer. Stanley made the 720miles journey from Coast to the Southern shore of the Nyanza, reaching at Kageye in the amazing time of 103days.He had taken with him a boat in section named Lady Alice (still available at the Museum at Kageye -Mwanza) which he assembled on the shore on the shore at Kageye beginning on the 27th Feb 1875.

    On the 8th March, 1975, he left Kageye village by boat with a crew of 11 men leaving the rest of his caravan with Ng’wanangwa Kaduma. He arrived at Ripon falls where the Nyanza discharge into the White Nile on the 12th April, 1875.He had then to return to Kageye by the west side of the Lake to prove that Speke was right.

    But while he was away circumnavigating the Lake, the men he had left behind at Kageye were seriously hit by dysentery, one of the white men Fredrick Barker, died on 23rd April, followed immediately by 5 African porters, including Mabruki who had served under Livingstone as well as Speke and Burton and was especially dear to Stanley, together with Akida and Jabir. Their graves still remain at Kageye historical centre.

    Famed African explorer Dr. David Livingstone was home in Scotland publishing his journals, raising money for another expedition and visiting his family when the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) decided to have Burton and Speke debate their opposing views on the source of the Nile. It was billed as the Nile Duel and they asked Dr. Livingstone to moderate. Unfortunately, Speke killed himself in a hunting accident the day before the big event and the question of the source of the Nile was left unanswered.

    With spectacular deep spot fishing in the fresh water of Lake Victoria, record breaking catches, Tanzania is a fisherman’s paradise and fresh water fishing in East Africa’s stunning Lake Victoria that offers the chance to catch huge Nile Perch and Tilapia in stunning surroundings. If you’re fishing enthusiastic, Tanzania has everything you could dream of, from fly fishing in crystal clear mountain streams, trolling the flood plains and the adventure and drama of deep spot fishing on the Lake Victoria.

    Fishing isn’t permitted inside national parks at Rubondo or Saanane Islands but there are a number of islands and fishing camps in the Lake zone open to anglers and even rainbow trout fish farms in Mwanza but also on Lake Victoria, allowing visitors to spot fishing and relax into the tranquility of the truly beautiful surroundings, watch the birdlife and wildlife go by.
    Lake Victoria is home to spot fishing Mecca! by far the largest lake in Africa and is the World’s second largest freshwater lake covering an area of 67,850sqkms, after Lake Superior in North America which including the unique and beautiful islands such as Saanane Island that proposed to be national park, Rubondo island national park, Ukerewe, Kome, Chikende, Bitania, Bezi, Ukara, Musila, Mwaisome, Ilugwa, Ntama islands and others (some have people living and other no people, but there are fishing activities allowed except Saanane & Rubondo islands national parks)

    Lake Victoria is famous for its unique population of “Fune cichlids” which seems to be recovering after it was threatened with extinction by the Nile perch. These species are very colorful and very attracted in the Great Lake countries in Africa.
    We provide a wealth of interest for visitors whatever your particular interest; this incredibly deserves for unique opportunities for fishing with local families is commerce fishing for Tilapia and Nile perch. There is plenty of tilapia species, a sweet tasting local favorite caught along the lakeshores, while rapacious Nile perch, some weighing more than 100kg, and tempt recreational game fishermen seeking world record catches.

    You walk through the nature trails to explore flora and fauna, your walk starts to experience the culture, history and life of the Sukuma people, Sinza, Kurya and Kerewe. There is no better way to experience African life than on foot, which make you cringe or brings to mind superficial tribal dancing and local people forced into demeaning, stereotypical roles- then rest assured. Visitors will get a chance to meet locals and learn about Sukuma dancing performances, get introduction for everyday life in Sukumaland. If you are interested in getting to know more background of Sukuma, it is your chance to experience the gentle wanders walking trips through local people and fantastic day picnic trips likes:

    • Saanane island
    • Rubondo island
    • Mwanza city – Full day
    • Kisesa Eco and Cultural Enterprises
    • Nyashana nature forest
    • Bwiru rain forest reserve
    • Mv. Bukoba memorial torch
    • Igogo caves
    • Chief Ngwata’s residence

    Travel on quite roads and meandering country paths by bicycles, you will meet the native people, witness their customs and learn how they live.
    Bike to the villages or islands of the most Sukuma majestic adventure and get an opportunity to view wildlife at close range in the bush to capture the true feeling of Africa!
    Biking trips have several stops en-route, so you may appreciate the local scenery, meet with local friends and finally manage your physically fit of your body.

    This is a stunning ride accompanied by beautiful scenery and classic African dirt road path heading – north – west of Kisesa to Kayenze – Mwanza old port passed alongside the villages where you will keep your eyes peeled for African villages and pass through picturesque villages inhabited by diverse ethnic groups and get to observe local people working in their fields, grazing the cattle on the Sukuma plains, while on adventure trips you will get to meet humble local people giving approving smiling glances and at end reached at Kayenze –Mwanza old port. Here we will regroup and then make our way together to camp at the Lakeshore under the shade of Acacia tree.

    This is unique opportunities to inspire by ancient knowledge traditional folklore and the secrets handled down through the centuries.

    This is place where old Mwanza city settled for the first time (at 400 years ago). It was a place where first Whiteman who came to Mwanza was killed. This is friendly and welcoming small historical fishing town that offers a colourful constract to the Kayenze old port.

    This is small village located to north –west of Mwanza city, more famous in the past than the present; it is part of the Sukuma Kingdom, sometimes also called Buchambi. When Kageye come to be known to the outside the world as a main station of slave trade in western route, here at Kageye all the slaves from Karagwe, Kagera, Buganda and Ukerewe island were sold here before start long caravan to coastal area of Bagamoyo and Zanzibar.

    Local fishermen who will be singing as they row will conduct a canoe trip. It is best done in the morning when the Lake is calm. They will show and tell you different traditional fishing methods. Each canoe carries six people, three guests and three fishermen/guides. On your way, you will see a number of water birds. Many birds are indigenous to this area and therefore not easily seen in Serengeti. Such birds include yellow-backed weaver, balk headed gonok, red chested sunbird, swamp flycatcher etc.

    Mwanza has myriad fascinating destinations, each offering a facet of the African experience. Many of these destinations are at distances across the vast landmass and freshwater of the great Lake Victoria for cruse tourism, these may make reaching them time- consuming for visitors. However, there is one place that, like no other, reflects the soul of Africa – both practically and philosophically.

    With all the splendor of its mythical history, the exterior of the rock city is African in essence and good reasons that makes a lot of sense.
    Mwanza City has some areas which in one way or another are very attractive to people for tourism.
    Mwanza city is the fast-growing city, dynamic, colorful destination of culture and life. It is a central point of Great Lakes country in Africa and the transit hub for many of Tanzania’s world – renowned tourist destinations like western and northern tourism circuits for wildlife safaris, cultural & ecotourism, spot fishing, researched information & services and special interest in Tanzania. It is a scenic town on the shores of the lake and surrounding countryside is lettered with large granite and massive kopjes. It is the most important port on the Lake Victoria in East Africa countries.

    It has a lovely waterfront which has excellent views of the Lake for relaxed setting. It is a perfect starting point for your safari as it is just two hours only (210km) from the best-known wildlife sanctuary in the world – Serengeti National Park “the endless plain”, also it is near several game sanctuaries such; Saanane & Rubondo Islands National Parks to have an opportunity for chimpanzee Habituation and tracking to Gombe Stream, Mahale Mountain and Katavi National Parks.

    Mwanza is a pleasant, exceptional lively town and has a lovely waterfront which commands excellent views of the lake. You cannot afford to visit in Mwanza without to see the massive and unique granite – “Bismarck’s rocky” just too adjacent to the city centre. Represent Mwanza city to name “the Rock City” (according German Chancellor (Von Bismarck) of East African administration by then-1815 – 1898.). It is symbols of the city coming together in welcome to this noble city to a peaceful and cherish a taste of the old and new to discover…………” Pearl of Africa”

    Saanane Island is the new National Park was named after Mzee Saanane Chawandi who was then the owner of the island. It was established as the first Zoo in Tanzania in 1964.its main objectives were firstly to promote interest and conservation education in wildlife, secondly was promote recreation to the people of Mwanza town. Between 1964 and 1966 different species of wild animals were ferried to the island, the aims are to keep them on transit for Rubondo island national park.
    These included dangerous animals like rhino, lion, cheetah, Leopard and buffaloes were caged while others were in free range like bushbuck, topi, warthog, and wildebeest, impala, porcupine, zebra and monkeys.

    The great Lake Victoria forms amazing attraction sight, wildlife species like impala, crocodiles, clawless otters, rock Hyrax, Tortoise, agama lizards, commonly known as Agama Mwanzae and snakes particularly python and a very shy De Brazza’s monkey coming from Uganda to Chankende island (sister’s island of Saanane island). About 45 species of residents and migratory birds are common in the island.

    The park is located 2km southwest from the city centre, which lies in the Gulf of the Lake Victoria (lat.2.5 South, and Longitude 32 East). Saanane island national park forms spectacular scenery over Mwanza south and Lake Victoria.
    Size: 0.5sq km

    Saanane island national park is accessed by boat, 2km south west from the city entry gate of head office of Saanane island to the park. By road to Mwanza city from Dar, Kigoma, Tabora, by ferry to Mwanza city Uganda, Bukoba and nearly islands. All these ways will lead you to Mwanza city.

    The daily lives of the Sukuma community
    This is an opportunity to explore Mwanza’s history, its people’s culture and the natural beauty of the region; also, you will get to know all about Sukuma tribe & historical sites found in different places around the city.
    People with the name Mwanza have a deep inner desire for love and companionship, and want to work with others to achieve peace and harmony of the city. Mwanza value community and balance, and are dependable and considerate. They often tend to gravitate to occupations where they can act as peacemakers or negotiators, or fulfill these roles among their friends and family. They tend to be conventional, responsible, family-oriented, warm and affectionate. They sometimes worry obsessively about those they care for. They work for harmony and balance in their lives, and respond positively to beautiful things.

    The role of the chief in Usukuma has gone through many transformations since the Sixteenth Century when the area began to be organized by hierarchical chiefdoms and not villages. This took place during the migration of the Babinza, Bakwimba, Balongo, Bangolo, and Basega. These groups were mostly responsible for consolidating the sparsely populated areas in the Lake Victoria region and the local clans under their leadership. Their exogenous customs combined with the indigenous people are now considered Wasukuma. The Kisukuma word for chief, ntemi derives from the verb Kutema and literally means to cut down trees or to clear bush. This recalls the role of the early chiefs in blessing the land at the beginning of each cultivation season, when the land was cleared and could also refer to the cutting short of arguments following an important discussion by village elders.

    According to oral history accounts, the first chief of the area, now known as Usukuma, was the nephew of Nkanda, who, under the guidance of his father, Chief Muletwa of the Lushamba Kingdom, traveled to a place near Kinango and Magaka (between Bujora and Magu) from Nyalukalanga in Geita District. In his native tongue, Nkanda spoke the words “Lnye Nsukumala aha,” which means let us rest or stay here. This could be the first reference to the term Sukuma, which henceforth evolved into the cultural group now known as the Sukuma. Eventually, as Mzee Mkamba, a member of the Bujora Research Committee, tells the story, Nkanda was invited by the Waruli, the indigenous culture, to become their chief. They believed that Nkanda had medicine to make people and animal fear him, as well as medicine to protect against crocodiles that often spoiled their fishing nets, and the ability to make rain. Nkanda declined the offer, because the customs of his people, the Balongo and Bazinza demanded that a leader be an offspring of the daughter, matrilineal descendent of the Chief. Nkanda then journeyed back to his village, where his father to appointed Sanga, the son of Nkanda’s sister Minza, as leader for the region where he first rested. This is still known as Nsukumale (Sukumalaha) and has developed from the first Sukuma chiefdom into the fifty-two chiefdoms of modern day Usukuma.
    Another version of the same tale has Ilembo, also of Nyalukalanga, venturing to Seke in search of game. He invited his four sisters (one being Minza) to join him and it was these sisters who settled what was to become the Sukuma, Ntuzu and Ng’wagala Chiefdoms and the immigrants from Lukulanga followed soon after. Then Nkanda is said to have married Minza and became the military commander of Ilembo and was responsible for uniting the local settlements as put forth in the first story but through a military campaign not by peaceful coercion. Whether or not one or both of these stories are true they shed light on the infamy of Nkanda and the importance of his role in the forming the identity of the Sukuma. Nearly every clan (luganda) and chiefdom formed before or after Nkanda’s era tends to claim his lineage and thus perpetuates the importance of the Babinza and Balongo (clan of blacksmiths) link to Usukuma. In fact, the first oral account which was passed down by a member of the Sukuma chiefdom and heroizes the chiefdoms families’ link to Nkanda and the origins of the Wasukuma and the second is told from the perspective of a Sukuma from Ntuzu.

    As Minza was either Nkanda’s mother, sister, or wife it becomes clear that under Nkanda’s leadership the consolidation of individual settlements emphasized the identity and traditions of the Babinza within Usukuma. Today the traditional greeting of the Sukuma chiefdom is Iminza a direct reference to Minza, her family and thus the Babinza. The greeting is answered by the family name of the person’s grandfather which reflects the continuing importance of Sukuma loyalty to their chiefdom and family and also aided parents during matchmaking by avoiding marriage within a clan.

    IMinza…………………………term of respect and mother of the first Sukuma Chief.
    Ng’wa nani?.………….what is the name of your family?
    Ng’wa Fumbuka…………..Fumbuka (Sukuma name of the founder of the Museum).
    Uli mhola?…………….Are you at Peace?
    Nali Mhola……………………Peace.

    The Sukuma (People in the western part of Tanzania mainland) tribe is the largest of Tanzania’s more than 120 different ethnic groups. Close to 15% of the population in Tanzania are from the Sukuma tribe. They live around Mwanza and the southern Lake Victoria region. Sukuma society are Agro -pastoralists and traditionalist in nature which are largest and strongest “Agro – Pasto Society” in Tanzania extremely among the natives of East Africa.

    This tribe is Bantu stock and always wondering from one to another searching for green pastures to feed their enormous number of livestock which stands as the symbol of wealth, identity and a permit to marry! For much of their history, the Sukuma people were leading Bantu – speaking much of their language in Africa, according to BBC news of August, 2010.Their ancestors are believed to have migrated into to Tanzania from their origin country-present – day – central Africa; beginning about the 15th century, they forcing to migrate to trek to southern border because of searching green pastures of their cows and settled for a while in southern Uganda. They couldn’t stay long since they faced catastrophic defeat from Nyankole and Buganda notorious empire, they were crossing the border to the greatest Lake Victoria toward the promise land “the Nyanzaland” (now is Mwanza, Shinyanga & Tabora regions).
    The Sukuma people are closely related to the Nyamwezi, Tanzania’s second largest ethnic group.
    The Sukuma society is the traditionally had a highly developed and structured form of village organization in which each settlement is subdivided into chiefdoms ruled by a chief in collaboration with a group of elders.