Located on the shores of Lake Victoria, Mwanza is the second-largest city in Tanzania and a popular start or endpoint for safaris through the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. It has a strong Indian influence and a laid-back vibe, with its surrounding hills dominated by enormous boulders that seemingly cascade down to the lake waters.
Things to do
Get your bearings with a stroll through the centre of Mwanza, which is clustered with historic colonial buildings, Hindu temples and mosques topped by soaring minarets. Don’t miss the Old German Mansion perched atop Robert Koch Hill, with this now-abandoned landmark offering sweeping views across the city and Lake Victoria.
Want to experience the hustle and bustle of local life? Head to the Mwaloni Market, which sells fresh fruit and vegetables paddled in from the surrounding villages as well as fish sourced from Lake Victoria. After feasting on freshwater tilapia, take the time to browse stores selling vibrantly designed fabrics that are unique to the region.
From Mwanza, you can board a cruise to Ukerewe Island, a rural utopia that’s renowned for its peaceful lifestyle and successful farming techniques. The city is also a stop en route to Rubondo Island National Park, which boasts forested landscapes home to a variety of resident and migratory species, as well as chimpanzees, elephants and giraffes.
Mwanza International Airport is around 20 minutes by taxi from the city centre and has regular flights to major hubs across East Africa. Daily buses and trains connect with Dar es Salaam while regular ferries travel to Bukoba near the border with Uganda. Local buses known as daladalas are an easy way to get around the city, as are pikipiki motorcycle taxis.
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