Mwanza, Tanzania Travel Guide

Located in northern Tanzania, we find the country’s second largest city Mwanza. The city is densely populated and houses more than 700,000 inhabitants. Fishermen and farmers in particular have their home here, due to the city’s location on the south shore of Lake Victoria.

Mwanza is the regional capital of the region of the same name. 90 pct. of the region’s population belongs to the Sukuma people. Sukuma means “north” and refers to “the people of the north”. In Mwanza, there is a good opportunity to explore the exciting history of the Sukuma people, and experience their way of life up close.

Mwanza’s location

According to militarynous, the city of Mwanza has its place in the north of Tanzania. The city is considered a medium-sized port city, and is located right on the shores of Lake Victoria. By ferry it is possible to cross Lake Victoria to Uganda – a journey that takes half a day. Likewise, Mwanza is located during a day’s journey from the borders of Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda.

Experiences in Mwanza

MV Victoria by the harbor

At the port of Mwanza is the famous ferry named MV Victoria. The ferry sold until December 2014, but is now stuck in the harbor for the benefit of many tourists. Previously, you could use the ship to sail the 11-hour trip across Lake Victoria to the city of Bukoba.

The ferry, of British origin, was actually built in the Scottish city of Glasgow back in 1960. Subsequently, the MV Victoria was split up and sent to Kisumu in Kenya, divided into 1,500 boxes. In 1961, the ship was finally reassembled and launched in Lake Victoria. The ferry was given the fine designation “Royal Mail Ship” by Queen Elizabeth II .

Sukuma Village Museum

In Mwanza is a small but very historically exciting museum. The Sukuma Village Museum is the city’s major attraction for tourists, and it is well understood. Here you will surely expand your understanding and knowledge about the way of life of the Sukuma people.

The guided tour, through a well-liked outline of a Sukuma village, is highly recommended. Here you will be led to small houses where, among others, medics, healers and smithy are ready to greet you. If you arrange the trip the day before, you can also experience dance performances performed by the real Sukuma people. Here the drum is loosened and danced with python snakes.

Sukuma Village Museum is a 45-minute drive from Mwanza. Despite the fact that the museum may seem a bit dilapidated at first glance, the place has a lot to offer. The enthusiasm of the staff around the museum will quickly spread to you. The majority are English-speaking, and have the patience at the top. Finally, do not hold back his curiosity.

Sanaane National Park

With a short boat ride, in less than a quarter of an hour, you can visit the Sanaane National Park. The park is often described as small but fine, which is the perfect description, to give the area. Sanaane is Tanzania’s smallest national park and covers only two km2. Despite the modest size of the park, there is both the opportunity to get acquainted with Tanzanian nature and wildlife.

The selection of animals is not exactly large, but in return you can move on foot in the park. Zebras, baboons, hyenas, impalas and a sea of ​​different bird species, reside in Sanaane National Park. The park is also a great place for walkers and exercisers. Pack the picnic basket and set course for Sanaane National Park, on the island in Lake Victoria – Then you are guaranteed a pleasant half-day trip.

Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria, to which Mwanza borders, is in itself a sight worth knowing about. The lake has acquired a number of names, and is called something different depending on which population group you ask. For example, the lake is called “Nam Lolwe” among the Lou people, whereas Bantu tribes will refer to the lake as “Victoria Nyanza” .

The first European to discover the lake back in 1858 was the British explorer John Hanning Speke. He named the lake after the then Queen of Great Britain, Queen Victoria. The lake has since played an important role in trade, among the surrounding countries.

Lake Victoria has a surface area of ​​69,000 km2, and contains as much as 2,750 km3 of water. The deepest point in the lake is measured to be 82 meters. It’s not much for a lake as big as Lake Victoria, but still there is plenty of life below the surface. Today, the lake is widely used for fishing, which has made the lake an economic center of Tanzania.

Mwanza, Tanzania

Mwanza’s history

The hometown of the Sukuma group

Under Bantu, which is the common name for more than 400 ethnic groups in Africa, there is a people group called the Sukuma. In the Mwanza region, this population is in the majority, where as many as 90 per cent. of the inhabitants belong to Sukuma. The region also has other ethnic bantu groups such as Zinza, Haya, Sumbwa and many others.

Rich in coffee

Mwanza’s stunning location next to Africa’s largest lake, Lake Victoria, has had an important impact on the city’s well – functioning economy. The lake provides good conditions for cultivating the surrounding land.

Therefore, both coffee and wool are grown here, which are exported to the rest of Tanzania. However, the all-important industry in the area remains fishing. Lake Victoria in particular is a great place to fish for sardines, known locally as “dagaa”.

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