Tanzania’s second-largest city, and the lake region’s economic heart, Mwanza is set on Lake Victoria’s shore, surrounded by hills strewn with enormous boulders. It is notable for its strong Indian influences, as well as for being a major industrial centre and a busy port.
Yet despite its rapidly rising skyline, Mwanza manages to retain a casual feel. In addition to being a stop on the way to Rubondo Island National Park, Mwanza is a great starting or finishing point for safaris through Ngorongoro and the Serengeti, ideally as a loop by adding in Lake Natron.
The city is known for unusual rock formations like Bismarck Rock, near the Kamanga Ferry Terminal. In the center of town are colonial buildings like the crumbling hilltop Dr. Robert Koch’s House. The 1935 Indian Public Library, mosques and Hindu temples reflect Indian influence. The Makoroboi area is full of shops.
Tour the rock city
Sometimes, you really needn’t overthink travel excursions. So, why not simply spend a day (or even just an hour or two) exploring the wonderful ‘Rock City’ of Mwanza, which is well over a hundred years old?
Contact a local tour operator or navigate the city on your own, and take in all its rich history, cultural roots and modern-day vibe of this Tanzanian city.
Visit to Rubondo Island National Park
While it’s not strictly in Mwanza, this national park is close enough to warrant not only a mention – but a proper visit too! It’s a wonderfully wild, beautiful place and allows you to really soak up the endless natural beauty of tantalizing Tanzania. The park is one of two national parks found on in island in Lake Victoria and attracts all kinds of visitors, from campers to bird lovers.
Enjoy a sunset cruise on Lake Victoria
If you visit one place near Mwanza, let it be the beautiful Lake Victoria – a place blessed with great natural beauty. And while you’re there, you can enjoy either a sunrise or sunset boat cruise on this special lake. This activity is not only romantic but it’s also good fun!
Explore sukuma museum.
Tanzania’s largest ethnic group is compiled by the Sukuma. Learn more about these indigenous people by visiting Bujora Cultural Centre’s Sukuma Museum. At the museum, you will discover all kinds of intrigue. Enjoy seeing everything from ancient drums to daring sukuma snake dancing too!
Honour Mwalimu Julius Nyerere by visiting his home
Considered by many to have been a great fighter against social injustice, as well as the father of the Tanzanian nation, the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere was also Tanzania’s first-ever president. Visit his home, mausoleum and museum in Butiama village and discover more about the famous, much loved man.
Stand tall at Balili Hill Range
Located outside Bunda town (which is a two-hour or so drive from Mwanza), you will find the impressive Balili Hill Range. These hills will allow you to soak up the expansive, scenic views across the town and surrounding region. Depending on what you’re in the mood to do, you can either walk or drive up.
Discover the freeing Serengeti National Park
Head out and explore your (and Tanzania’s) wild side by visiting the Serengeti National Park. It’s guaranteed to give you an all-round nature fix and superb game-viewing experience. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a truly amazing place one where your travel heart can soar freely, as you take in game of all shapes and sizes.
Head to Mwaloni Fish Market
No visit to Mwanza is complete without experiencing some of its dynamic city life from the ground. Given this, Mwaloni Market is a place well-worth stopping by. At this buzzing local market, you will find everything fresh, including fish, fruit and vegetables.
Find the Dancing Rocks
The Dancing Rocks more properly known as Jiwe Kuu are one of the Rock City’s more interesting rock formations. These granite rocks can be found atop a rocky outcrop, and offer gorgeous views of both Mwanza and Lake Victoria. There is also a fun story surrounding the rocks… be sure to find out for yourself just what it is!
Find Nobel Prize winner Robert Koch’s House
When you visit Mwanza, see if you can find the German Nobel prize winner, Robert Koch’s old home. It’s slightly forlorn to look at these days but it still captures an essence of olden days’ beauty and Germanic castle elements too. The old mansion is also something of a landmark and again, offers awesome city views!
Visit the famous Bismarck Rock
Another must-see is the famed Bismarck Rock. Found in the waters of Lake Victoria, this pile of rocks hold something of an iconic status in Mwanza – especially the one perched right on top! And rightly so, given how cool they are to look at. The rocks are also wonderfully close to the Kamanga ferry station, meaning they hold an all-round great location.
Explore Saanane Island National Park
The Saanane island is a good place to go if you’re keen on nature walks, bird watching, cruises and picnics to name but a few of the outdoor activities you can enjoy on the lovely island. Make your way around Saanane Island National Park and ensure you leave Tanzania, having secured a natural (outdoorsy) high!