Travel Guide Africa Tanzania Kigoma



MV Liemba - Lake Tanganyka

MV Liemba - Lake Tanganyka

© netandmatt

Kigoma is a port town on Lake Tanganyika in western Tanzania. It is a base for visits to the Gombe Stream (famous for Jane Goodall's studies into chimpanzee behaviour) and Mahale Mountains (also chimpanzees) National Parks. It is also a transit point for travellers moving between Burundi and Tanzania. There is a Visa ATM in Kigoma. For FX, the rates offered by the cloth stalls in the market are better than those offered by the banks.



Sights and Activities

  • If you are a fan of chimpanzees, visit either Gombe Stream National Park or Mahale Mountains National Park.
  • Several miles south of Kigoma is Ujiji, the supposed site of Stanley and Livingstone's 1871 meeting at which the phrase "Dr Livingstone, I presume?" was heard. It was also in Ujiji that, 13 years before Stanley and Livingstone's encounter, Burton and Speke were the first Europeans to set eyes on Lake Tanganyika when they were searching for the source of the Nile.
  • There is a lively fish market by the port.



Getting There

By Plane

There are several flights per week between Kigoma and Dar es Salaam. They take 3 hours 10 minutes (including a stop in Tabara) and cost TSh198,000 (June 2009).

By Bus

The journey from Bujumbura to Kigoma is unpleasant. Take the Buragane minibus from Bujumbura to Tanzanian immigration - their office in Bujumbura is on Rue Science, just west of the junction with Boulevard Lumumba. It costs BIF8,000 (June 2009) and takes about 3.5 hours to reach Burundi immigration, where you'll spend maybe 30 minutes, then another hour to reach Tanzania immigration, where it terminates. Minibuses from the border to Kigoma take about 3 hours and cost TSh3,000 (June 2009) - the journey is dusty, bumpy, and massively overcrowded.

By Boat

The MV Liemba departs Kigoma for Mpulungu in Zambia once per week.



Getting Around

By Car

Taxis to the airport should cost TSh5,000 (June 2009). Taxis from the bus station should cost TSh2,000 (June 2009).




Sun City Cafe, on the main street, is pretty much the only place in town offering vegetarian meals. They will also fetch beer from the hotel bar over the road.





Zanzibar Hill Lodge The hotel is near the east end of the town (i.e. the end furthest away from the lake) - turn off the main road at the National Microfinance Bank and keep walking straight. After a couple of hundred metres, the road curves to the right and that's where you'll find the hotel. A double room with cold shower, TV, fridge, floor fan, and breakfast should cost TSh20,000 (June 2009).


You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)



Keep Connected


Major tourist areas and cities have internet cafes and many hotels offer (free) wifi nowadays. Connections can be slower at more remote places.
Also safari oriented places offer some sort of internet connections as well, by computers or wifi.


See also International Telephone Calls

The International Dialling Code for Tanzania is +255, followed by area codes (e.g. (0)22 for Dar es Salaam, or (0)27 for Arusha). Calling from Tanzania, you dial 00 plus the relevant country code (44 for the UK, 1 for the USA).

There are four cell providers in Tanzania: Zain (the major one), Zantel, Vodacom and Tigo, who all offer roaming facilities. Connections are good in Tanzania, even in places such as Tarangire, Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater, and some parts of the Serengeti (the western and northern region of the Serengeti not). You can buy the prepaid cards in amounts ranging from $5 to $50. You can even buy a cell phone while in Tanzania. The price for a simple cell phone ranges between $55 and $80.

Avoid roaming charges with you home cellphone and turn it off. Instead, use a local SIM card or just wifi.


Tanzania Posts Corporation is the national postal services of Tanzania. There are post officies in most major cities and towns throughout the country, which are generally open Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm and Saturday from 9:00am to noon. Services are generally quite reliable though not very fast. Prices for international airmal services start at around 500-600 TSHS to other countries in East Africa and 700-900 TSHS to Europe and North America for postcards and letters up to 20 grams. Small packages start at around 2,000-3,000 TSHS, but it's generally better to do business with international parcel services like TNT, UPS, DHL or FedEx.

Accommodation in Kigoma

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Kigoma searchable right here on Travellerspoint.

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This is version 7. Last edited at 10:02 on Sep 12, 14 by Utrecht. 8 articles link to this page.

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