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You are here: Home Flight News Hotel accommodation Bookings & Wildlife Safaris Lake Tanganyika & Western Tanzania.
Hotel accommodation Bookings & Wildlife Safaris Lake Tanganyika & Western Tanzania. Print
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Western Tanzania is a fascinating and rewarding to explore as it can roads become impassable. The region is dominated by Lake Tanganyika, which separates the semi-arid miombo woodland of Tanzania’s central plateau from the lush forest of central Africa. The lake also marks the border with Burundi , Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (formally the region largest town , Kigoma, on the North east show of the lake, through nearby where Stanley and doctor Livingston famously met. Kigoma is also the starting point for the weakly ferry to Zambia calling at a string fascinating places along the way, and the most convenient base for visiting Gombe and manhole nation park ,both of which contains chimpanzees .

Healing away from the lake to the east , the central line railways, follows the line of the old caravan routes across the Central plateau . Bringing you to the large and bustling line of Tabor a. Occupying the historically strategic junction of routes from lake Tanganyika, and lake Victoria. Tabora controlled much of the slave trade in the latter half of the 19 century though like Kigoma it owes its mordant importance to the railway . The region south of Kigoma and Tabora is seldom visited , mainly because of the difficulty of getting around although a branch line of central line railway runs to Mpanda, just beyond which is Katavi National park. Dominated by tsetse -fly infested miombo woodland and reach wildlife , especially hippo,, buffalo, crocodiles and birds . Further south Lake Rukwa and the Mbizi Mountains are completely of the beaten track destination for adventures travelers , both reached from the area ‘s only significant town, Sumbawanga.

Travel in western Tanzania is for the most part wild, adventurous and hugely time-consuming affair. Language is limited to Kiswahili and local tongues, through if you really get stuck some bus drivers and hotel managers can usually master a few wards in English. Road condition thought the regions are dreadful. In the dry season you can get through to anywhere if you don’t mind as low , dusty, bumpy- and on public transport , a remarkably body- crunching ride. During a short rain (oct-dec) you can steel get to most places but may be delayed waiting for the road to dry out: in the long rain (march-may), However , you can forget about roads, as most routes are closed for weeks on end. The only half decent stretches are between Tabora and Kwanza , and south from Mpanda to Sumbawanga , but these are likely to become impassable if not properly maintained . wherever you are driving always seek local advice about the state of the road before heading off, as well as security; there slight but ever-present risk of attack from armed bandits , especially around Kigoma and Northwards . If things are considered risky, you’ll be offered armed escort at railway, from Dar is salaam to Tabora and Kigoma, with a south ward branch to Mpanda occupying the southern end of the Western Rift Valley, and boarded by Tanzania , Burundi, Congo and Zambia. Lake Tanganyika is the world’s longest fresh water lake , measuring 677km from north to south, fed by Malagarasi and Kalambo rivers on the Tanzanian side, and the turbulent Ruzizi River from lake Kivu on the border of Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The lakes maximum recorded depth of 1436m ( the deepest part f the lake lies 358m below sea level) also make Tanganyika the world second deepest lake after Siberia ‘s lake Baikal, through lake life only inhabits the top two hundred meters as there is little or no oxygen further down covering some 32,900 square kilometers.

The main settlement on the Tanzania show is the lively harbor town of Kigoma , at the end of the Central line Railway from Dar es Salaam, which has a weekly ferry south to Zambia via string to Tanzanian fishing villages , some of which have road access inland towards Mpanda and Sumbawanga . The old Arab slave –trading town of Ujiji , 10km south of Kigoma is the place where immortal words ‘Dr Livingstone , I presume ?” Were uttered by Henry Morton Sternly. Accessible by boat from Kigoma are two expensive but very special nation parks-Gombe stream, and Machala Mountains, both famous for their chimpanzees.


Tucked into the south east corner of Kigoma Bay at the end of the central railway line, the bustling harbor town of Kigoma is lake Tanganyika’s busiest port. Handling most of Burundi ‘s foreign trade and serving as the main arrival point for refugees fleeing Central Africa interminable conflicts. Head out of town and your bound to come across a long-term UN refugee camp. In town you’ll hear plenty of French , the Lingua franca of Burundi, Rwanda and Congo . And many business signs include French translation in addition to Kiswahili and English.

The town itself is very attractive, its lush tropical vegetation providing a welcome contrast to the monotonous miombo woodland that covers much of central Tanzania. There is an also beautiful beach if you want to escape the strength-sapping heat and humidity.

Some history

In the nineteenth century, Lake Tanganyika was the major source of the Zanzibari-controled slave trade. Slave were captured as far west as the Congo Basin, from where they were transported across the lake to a number of transit centers on the Tanganyika shore, of which juju was the most famous . For much of this time Kigoma was a small fishing village , and it wasn’t until towards the end of nineteenth century that s importance grew just as ujijis began is now Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi Kigomas sheltered location inside kigoma bay gave it the edge over Ujiji and the site was consequently developed into the regional headquarter . The town really took of in February 1914 when the 1254 - kilometers central line railway from DaresSalaam finally reached the lake nine years after construction had began.

The indigenous population of Kigoma (and of kasulu and Kibondo district to the north), is the ha-tribe who number nearly a million. They call there country Buha , which before the arrival of the Germans contain six independent chiefdom's organizations into elaborate hierarchies of sub-chief and headmen similar to that of the Haya(seep.412) and Nyamwezi (p.447). Over the last three countries. The Hag’s longhorn Ankle cattle play a vital social role as tokens of inters- family bonds and friendship , especially in marriage, when cattle are exchanged as a bride wealth paid to the bride’s family.


The easiest way to reach Kigoma is by train from Dar es Salaam or Tabora. The bus station –for services from Bukoba and Mwanza - is 4km uphill at Mwanga , from where there are taxis ( you will probably arrive too late to catch a daladala) Kigoma airport lies 3km beyond mwanga and practitioner fly in daily from Dar es salaam via Tabora .

Daladalas start at the central market off Lumumba Avenue. Taxis can be rented at the air port , at the bus and daladala stands, and a long Lumumba Avenue . Short journey cost Tsh1500.


The better guesthouses are these up in mwanga district , 3km up Ujiji Road from the centre . But as you’re on lake Tanganyika, much nicer –unless you’re on a really tight budget -is to stay at one of the three lakeshore hotels. In the cheaper places , ‘single room can be shared by couples , as “double “ means two beds . Water supply is erratic, so shower when you get the chance.

Coast View Resort 2.5km southwest of town, signposted from Bangwe rd.This shinny tiled affairs fails to make use of its hilltop location, with only the outside bar offering any view of the lake.

Diplomatic Vila 2.5km Southwest of town sign posted from Lumumba avenue and Bangwe road. Up on a dusty hillside , this vaguely colonial -style place has a nice garden and Banda for drinks.

Furaha Guest House Button road . Another acceptable and calm central cheapie : all rooms have funs and nets , saggy beds and clean squat toilets plus one special en-suite room with Western style toilets.

Kigoma Hilltop Hotel 4km Southwest of town on a headland high above the shore .Kigomas pushes place by miles , but the electric fence , armed guards and wildlife trophies gracing the lobby hardly . Facilities include two restaurant swimming pool ( with lake views ), The hotel also runs trips to Mahler and Gombe.

Mwanga Lodge and Zanzibar Lodge Ujiji Rd. Kigomas best budget guest house under the same management and within 100m of each other. The beds have big nets and the bathrooms with their showers and squat toilets are relatively clean.

Nagorofani Lodge Lumumba Ave. This is a quiet , safe choice with 10 en-suite rooms , each fitted with TV and a/c .An internet café and gym are also planned , though expect prices to rise if / When these are installed.

The lakeshore

Lake Tanganyika’s surface water is very pleasant 23 degrees c, and according to locals swimming near kigoma is safe as long as there no ready vegetation nearby; if there is there might be a risk of bilharzias. Crocodiles are sometimes sighted in the area , although there have been no reports of attacks, but water snakes may dwell near rocks . Lake Tanganyika beach hotel is lovely place for a dip, or just to spend a blissfully lazy afternoon doing nothing more energetic than watching crows and distance dhows. Women should cover up when bathing to avoid offending Islamic sensibilities –indeed; this applies to the whole lake. The best in Jacob beach which has cause red sand and a few parasols in a small saddled cove, but no facilities. Zungu Beach has three parasols , a couple of shelter s and some warm sodas and cans of castle longer for sale.

Kibirizi, 3km north of town ( follow the rail track ,catch a daladala , or take a taxi), is the best place to see how dagaa -the lakes main commercial catch is dried. These diminutive fish, which measured between 2cm and 10 cm , live in immerse shoals near the surface and the caught at night using pressure lamps mounted on wooden boats. At a given moment the fishermen beat on the sides of the boat to panic the fish into tight shoals , which are then scooped up in nets. The flotilla leaves Kibirizi late in the afternoon in pairs , the lead boat towing the other to conserve fuel , and you can see there lights bobbing up and down from the coast at night. The season peaks in the second half of September. The fish are speed out the following morning to dry , either on gravel or over a suspended wire mesh.

Lake Tanganyika is situated in Tanzania and it flows into Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo and tourists can do fishing, boating safaris while on safari. There are also mammals, reptiles, insects, flowers, amphibian and birds which forms part of the wildlife. Tanzania has some of the famous national parks and game reserves besides the lakes, rivers, beaches and mountain where most of the tourists visiting East Africa prefer to tour .On the accommodation there are safari lodges, tented camps and camping safaris for luxurious and budget travelers.

Anthony Mmeri is the Editor and Tours Director at Wings Over Africa Safaris Limited. <br><a href='http://www.wingsoverafrica-aviation.com’> This is a Safari Holiday Expert Company that specializes on Hotel Accommodation Bookings| Camping Safaris & Wildlife Safaris Lake Tanganyika and Western Tanzania. </a> The website has guided thousands of travelers to achieve their dream holiday. For more information and guidance, visit the site at http://www.wingsoverafrica-aviation.com/index.php/safaris-east-africa/tanzania-tour-packages.html</a>