Mwanza Accommodation & More

Mwanza Accommodation That Is Not a Vacation Rental

If you are looking for a great place to stay in Mwanza, I wrote an article all about it. Read it here: Ryan’s Bay Hotel & 3 Other Fantastic Places to Stay in Mwanza, Tanzania.

Lake Victoria near Ukerewe

Mwanza Town Accommodation Personal Recommendations: Hotels

Mwanza has a great selection of places to stay.

Some places where I have stayed and recommend in Mwanza, Tanzania inlcude:

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Flights from Manchester to Mwanza

There are no direct flights between Manchester and Mwanza.

The cheapest way to travel on this route is either with Ethiopian Airlines or Turkish Airlines from the UK to Tanzania.

Once in Tanzania you would then take a domestic flight to Mwanza with Precision Air.

To find out more about the best flights on this route, click here.

READ ALSO: Mwanza Accommodation

Mwanza Flights: Mwanza to/from Arusha

There are no direct flights to Mwanza from Arusha Airport and vice versa, but if your aim is to travel to and from Arusha town, click here for more information about flights to Mwanza from Kilimanjaro and vice versa.

Precision Air at Arusha Airport
Arusha Airport

Arusha is only about an hour’s drive away from Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA), and there are regular inexpensive shuttles  between KIA and Arusha town.

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Mwanza to Bukoba

Mwanza and Bukoba are both towns on the Tanzanian shore of Lake Victoria.

You can travel between both towns by road, boat, or air, with air being the shortest way to do this.

Bukoba is my hometown, so this is a flight that I take regularly and have been doing so all my life.

You can see photos taken from such flights here.

Currently, the only direct flights to Mwanza from Bukoba and vice versa are operated by Precision Air and Air Tanzania.

Map of Mwanza and Bukoba

Auric Air which has historically operated flights on this route no longer does.

Direct Flights from Mwanza Airport

Six locales have regularly scheduled direct flights from Mwanza Airport.

These are:

    • Dar es Salaam (Air Tanzania and Precision Air)
    • Bukoba (Air Tanzania and Precision Air)
    • Kilimanjaro (Air Tanzania and Precision Air)
    • Grumeti Game Reserve (Coastal Aviation)
    • Kigali (Coastal Aviation), and
    • Seronera  in the Serengeti National Park (Coastal Aviation)
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Things to Do in Mwanza Once You’ve Settled on Flights

1. Take a Tour of Mwanza Town

Take a tour of Mwanza to learn more about this 129-year-old city.

Visit downtown Mwanza and/or take a tour of Capri Point Peninsula to get a feel of the city and catch a glimpse of its rich history, with its many foreign influences (German, British, and Indian).

To schedule a tour, hire a local tour guide (e.g., Dullah +255-(0)769-046631) or contact any local tour operator (e.g., Serengeti Expedition).

Construction in Mwanza

2. Visit the Sukuma Museum at the Bujora Cultural Center (Near Mwanza Town)

Mwanza’s indigenous inhabitants are the Sukuma, Tanzania’s largest ethnic group.

Learn about the Sukuma by visiting the Sukuma Museum at the Bujora Cultural Centre.

Man with a Snake Bujora Cultural Centre

There, you will see 500-year-old royal drums and learn about traditional Sukuma iron smelting.

Before you leave the Bujora Cultural Centre, be sure to watch the resident dance troupe perform.

The Sukuma are renown for their dancing and have been holding annual dance competitions for years.

Sukuma snake dancing is something I am sure you won’t forget for a long time!

The Bujora Cultural Centre is located 16 km east of Mwanza city (off the Musoma Road). It can easily be accessed by public transport or by taxi.

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3. Enjoy Mwanza Town Through a Sunset Cruise on Lake Victoria

The feel of Mwanza is in large part determined by its geographic attributes: its proximity to Lake Victoria, its rolling hills, and its huge, unusual rock formations, which earn it its nickname—Rock City.

To fully appreciate the beauty and serenity of Mwanza, Tanzania take a sunset—or sunrise—boat ride on Lake Victoria.

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To schedule a boat ride (for any time of the day), contact Hotel Tilapia‘s business center (price: $100 per hour for the boat—includes up to 20 people) or contact Jan, of Tunza Lodge (+255-(0)755-541078—price: for a 1-hour boat ride: 50,000 Tsh. for the first 2 people and an additional 10,000 Tsh. for every person thereafter).

Sunset on Lake Victoria Mwanza Cruise, Mwanza Tanzania

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4. Discover Rubondo Island National Park

Rubondo Island National Park, the only national park on the world’s largest tropical lake, is a quick 40-minute flight from Mwanza, Tanzania (it can also be accessed by road and water, but that takes much longer).

Walk through Rubondo Island’s dense forest to see both indigenous and introduced species such as sitatunga, a rare marsh-dwelling antelope, and chimpanzees (needs to be arranged in advance).

Rubondo Island is also a great place for sport fishing.

Here, tilapia and Nile perch have been known to grow to over 100 kilograms!

Big fish Rubondo Island National Park

Bird watchers can also observe over 200 species of birds breeding or simply passing through nearby Bird Island.

Auric Air flies regularly between Mwanza city and Rubondo Island.

To get to Rubondo Island National Park by road, drive 4-5 hours in the direction of Geita to Nkome, where you’ll be picked up by boat for a 2-hour ride to the island OR drive 8-9 hours from Mwanza, on the highway that leads to Biharamulo, to Muganza/Kasenda, where you can be picked up by boat for a short 30-minute ride to the island (click here for a basic map).

For more information, visit the Rubondo Island National Park website.

Forest on Rubondo Island

5. Head to Butiama to Visit Mwalimu Julius Nyerere’s Home, Mausoleum, and Memorial Museum

Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere was not only Tanzania‘s first president but, to some, also a world hero for social justice (so named by the president of the 63rd UN General Assembly in 2009).

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Butiama town, a 3-hour drive from Mwanza, Tanzania is President Nyerere’s hometown.

There, you can visit the Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere Memorial Museum, which documents the life of this great statesman from his earliest days at Tabora Boys Secondary School, through to his contribution in the fight for Tanganyika’s independence, covering his 23-year presidency, and finally until his death on October 14, 1999.

His family home at Butiama, and his mausoleum, are now also open to the public.

Click here for more information on how to get to Butiama.

View from Balili Mountain

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6. See the Spectacular View From Atop Balili Mountain

I tell you about this activity with particular delight.

It was one of the most enjoyable, though unexpected, things that I experienced during my trip!

In the name of full disclosure, I did not climb Balili Mountain from its base. Rather, I drove most of the way up the mountain to Balili Camp. From where, I hiked the last 15-20 minutes to the viewpoint at its summit.

The 360° view that I saw there was breathtaking!

In one direction was the Serengeti, extending as far out as the eye could see (no wonder the Maasai call it “endless plains”); in another direction was Lake Victoria, which also seemed to stretch out to infinity; and not far from both of these was Bunda town, seemingly unaware of the majesty surrounding it.

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Balili Mountain, located right outside Bunda town, is a 2-hour drive from Mwanza city, in the direction of Butiama and Musoma. It lies only a few kilometers away from the Ndabaka gate of the Serengeti National Park.

For more information, visit the Balili Camp website, or contact Tembea Mara Visitor’s Information Centre (+255-(0)714-445566), located at the foot of Balili Mountain.

 Zebra in Wildebeest migration, Serengeti, Tanzania

7. Explore the Serengeti from Mwanza City

The Serengeti, ranked 1st among the top 10 natural travel wonders of the world, needs little introduction, but did you know that the Serengeti is only a 2-hour drive from Mwanza, Tanzania?

Visit the Serengeti as a day trip from Mwanza, or spend a few more days to take full advantage of all the national park has to offer.

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For more information, visit the Serengeti National Park’s official website, or contact any Mwanza tour operator (such as Serengeti Expedition).

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BONUS 8. Visit Ukerewe Island

I list Ukerewe Island as a bonus because I have never been there myself, though I did fly over it on my way to Rubondo Island.

A reader of my blog, Martin, had this to say in a comment to this post though:

“You have forgotten about Okurewe Island! It’s pretty much off the tracks from most tourist points and probably accomodates only a 2-digit number of tourists every year, but it is a very interesting and inexpensive place and you can see the beautiful island and get an impression of what rural Tansania is like. A good guide is worth every cent as you’ll have problem finding anything on your own. A bike tour is much recommended. I can recommend Paschal as a tour guide (I don’t know if there are other tour guides in the island. Give him a call at (+255 763 480 134).”

Coincidentally, I recently happened to communicate with this same Paschal on a totally different issue. It was he who pointed out that he was the same Paschal from Martin’s comment.

So, if you are ever in or around Mwanza and are curious to learn more about Ukerewe Island, now you know how you can do that.

I am so looking forward to doing this the next time I am in the region!

Here is a short video put together by Tanzania Tourist Board about the town of Mwanza. Enjoy!

Fast Facts About Mwanza, Tanzania (Mwanza Region)

  • Mwanza Region is one of Tanzania’s 31 administrative regions.
  • Postcode: 33000
  • Regional capital: Mwanza city
  • Neighboring regions: Geita (west), Shinyanga (south), Simiyu (east)
  • Lake Victoria borders Mwanza Region to the north.
  • Current regional commissioner: Adam Kighoma Malima
  • Mwanza Region is subdivided into 7 administrative districts: Ilemela, Kwimba, Magu, Misungwi, Nyamagana, Sengerema, Ukerewe.
  • Population of Mwanza Region: ~ 3 million
  • Area of Mwanza Region: ~20,000 square kilometers
  • Ethnic Groups of Mwanza Region: Wasukuma, Wakerewe, Wakara, Wazinza
  • Airport: Mwanza Airport
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    Mwanza by Night
    Mwanza city skyline at night

    If you are anything like I used to be, you might think that Mwanza, Tanzania is a small, sleepy, upcountry town—disguised as a city—with few interesting things to do in and around it.

    After spending a few days in Tanzania’s second largest city, I’ve changed my mind. I now know that Mwanza city is a scenic, burgeoning, lakeside metropolis, with a selection of things to do in its vicinity. See for yourself in the video below! 

    P.S. Subscribe to ChickAboutTown to know whenever I publish a new post. 

    Photo Credits: Prof. Chen HualinJonathan, DiscoverAfrica.comYoni LernerDistance *

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