Mwanza city

 Mwanza city

Mwanza City : Situated on the shores of Lake Victoria, Mwanza is Tanzania’s second largest city after Dar es salaam and economic heart of the lake.  It is popular for its strong Indian influence and a busy port. It is a major stop point for those headed to Rubondo Island National Park and a great starting/finishing point for safaris to Ngoro Ngoro, Lake Natron and Serengeti.  The city is surrounded by rocky dotted hills with massive granite boulders.

Mwanza is the capital of Mwanza region with a population of more than 900,000 people. It is divided into two administrative districts: Ilemela and Nyamagana.

Ilemela district is bordered to the north and west by Lake Victoria, to the east by Magu district and to the south by Nyamagana district. It is divided into 9 administrative wards with a population of about 300,000.

Nyamagana district is bordered to the east by Magu district, south by Misungwi district, west by Mwanza bay of Lake Victoria and to the north by Ilemela district. It is divided into 12 wards with a population of around 400,000.

Climate

Mwanza is characterized by tropical savanna climate with relatively consistent temperatures throughout the year. The climate is not so hot as one would expect due the city’s proximity to the equator. Mwanza city has a long wet season which runs from May through October and a short dry season that runs from November through April.

How to get in

One can access the port by air using flights from Dar es salaam and Arusha in Tanzania, Entebbe in Uganda and Nairobi in Kenya.

One can also get into Mwanza city by road using coaches to and from Dar es salaam, Bujumbura in Burundi, Nairobi in Kenya, Kampala in Uganda and Kigali in Rwanda.

There are trains that enter the city on a daily basis from Dar es salaam though they are regarded slow and uncomfortable.

Use water transport to access Mwanza city. From Uganda, one can take a bus from Kampala to Bukoba (Tanzania) and take a ferry to the city.

Ethnicity

Mwanza city is mainly constituted by the Sukuma people from Mwanza. There are other groups in the city who include the Zinza, Haya, Sumbwa, Nyamwezi, Jita, Shashi, Luo and Kerewe. For those who do not belong to these groups, English and Swahili are used as the main modes of communication.

Economy

The primary economic activity is agriculture where farmers grow food crops for consumption and small scale trade and commercial crops like cotton, coffee and tea for export.

Fishing is also carried out along the shore of Lake Victoria. There are 5 fish processing plants in the area which mainly export the Nile perch in large quantities after its introduction to the lake.  Mining of gold and diamond is carried out on small scale in the city as well.

Mwanza city is also undergoing massive infrastructural development with new highways opening which connect the city to other parts of Tanzania like Dar es salaam, Dodoma, Arusha and the rest as well as connection to the rest of the world.

Transport

The main mode of transport is the public buses (Dala Dala) which are a cheap means for moving around though they are crowded and slow due to the stop overs. Taxis are also an option though they do not have any official labels on them and therefore not considered safe in the capital.

Bajaj/ Boda bodas (piki piki) are also used as they are considered to be faster and reliable.

Tourism

The city has a number of National parks that attract tourists. There is Saanane Island National Park located about 500 meters from the Capri point in Mwanza.

The western gate of Serengeti National Park is located about 150 kilometers from Mwanza city.

In the west, there is Rubondo Island National Park which can be accessed by air, road or water.

What to do and see in Mwanza city

Lake Victoria

Mwanza city is located on the shores of Lake Victoria. Get to walk on the shore of the lake, swim, dip your feet in water and engage with the community. Visit the fishing villages and plants as well as the farms. Get to tour the beautiful city that sits on the shore.

Capri point

Watch the beautiful sun set from the top of Capri point hill. Hike to the top of the hill where big boulder rocks and floral plants await you, have a magnificent view, sip some beer/wine and take beautiful pictures.

Bismarck rock

Bismarck rock is a precious balanced rock where the statue of the late Otto Von Bismarck is said to have been elected. The statue was later taken down by the British after they defeated the Germans in World War I though the name carries on.

The rock which sits under water on a set of huge rocks in a collective formation and rises to 10 meters above the Lake’s surface is a popular tourist site. There are a few surrounding attractions like a small public park, a lake harbor point and some restaurants.

Saanane national park

The park is a small island park covering an area of 2.18 square kilometers with three islets and aquatic environment. It is the smallest park both in Tanzania and East Africa and home to a number of mammals like the hippos, velvet monkeys, leopards, impala, hyrax and the unique ‘’De-brazas’’ monkeys.

There are dominant reptiles like lizards, tortoises, snakes and crocodiles. The aquatic part of the park hosts a variety of fish species like the Tilapia and Nile Perch.

Go for game drives while at the Island, bird watching, boat cruise, nature walks, photography and sport fishing. There are a few special occasions like birthdays, weddings, engagements, tea building activities that are organized at the park.

Ukerewe island

The Island is the largest on Lake Victoria and the 5th largest Island in Africa covering an area of 200 square meters. Ukerewe island is popularly known for having a large number of albinos who are believed to have been abandoned by their parents who did not want them.

While at the Island, visit the oldest roman church, Kagunguli built in 1895, the chief’s palace (Ikulu) in Bukindo which is a modest palace that was constructed the European way. The palace belonged to the former king of the Island and it is a marvel to watch.

Other places to watch out for include the Irondo point where you can view the city and the neighboring countries. Also take part in the traditional dance of the Buzegwe band.

Sukuma Museum

Bujora Sukuma cultural center is a community based organization committed to promoting and celebrating the traditions of the Sukuma culture.it is also the sole benefactor of ancient objects from the Sukuma chiefdoms and dance societies. It provides an interactive and educational environment where Sukuma elders teach the young generation about Sukuma culture traditional history and arts.

Dancing rocks/ Jiwe Kuu

The dancing rocks are said to have emerged when a powerful witchdoctor went to the rocks to prove his power to the people and left marks on the rocks which turned them soft. The rocks are quite high on a rocky granite outcrop giving off the most spectacular view of Mwanza and Lake Victoria

There is a rock in particular that is said to look like someone left prints on it.

Serengeti National Park

Visit one of the largest national parks in Africa while in Mwanza. The park is known for the great wildebeest migration and unparalleled wildlife including wildebeests, zebras, lions, hippos, the African buffalo, leopards and many more. The game drives will give you an up close and personal touch of the animals, get to view different bird species and encounter with the Maasai community that is very popular in this region.

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