Travel Guide Africa Tanzania Mwanza



Sun setting on Mwanza, Lake Victoria

Sun setting on Mwanza, Lake Victoria

© rd wrld1yr

Mwanza is a port city on the shores of Lake Victoria, in the northwest of Tanzania. With around 1.2 million inhabitants living within the city limits and around 2 million in the metropolitan region, it is the second largest city in the country.



Sights and Activities

The Bismarck Rock is a rather odd looking rock in the Victoria Lake close to te ferry station/Nasser road.



Getting There

By Plane

Mwanza Airport (MWZ) has flights to/from Dar es Salaam, Kigoma, Arusha, Bukoba, Karagwe, Rubondo, Fort Ikoma, Grumeti, Kigali, Klein's Camp, Kogatende, Lobo, Manyara, Ngorongoro, Pemba, Sasakwa, Seronera, Southern Serengeti, Tanga, Tarime, Zanzibar, Karasabai, Kilimanjaro, Bujumbura, Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa, Musoma and Shinyanga.

By Train

Tanzanian Railways has a line running from Mwanza to Dar es Salaam via some places in the Mwanza district and Kwimba. The second branch runs from Tabora to Mwanza port on Lake Victoria.

By Bus

There are daily buses to the border of Burundi (Kabanga) and Rwanda (Busoro). There are also buses to the Kenya border, Dar es Salaam and Kigoma. There are daily buses from Mwanza going to and from Dar es Salaam. Transport company Shabibi bus lines are one of best and reliable choices. The journey takes around 17 hours to reach Dar es Salaam and the fare is TSh 45,000. you could do a stopover in Dodoma which is around a 9-hour bus ride from Mwanza. There is a paved road from Mwanza to Dar es Salaam via Shinyanaga.

By Boat

To arrive from Uganda you can take a bus form Kampala to Bukoba (in Tanzania) and from Bukoba you can either take the ferry Monday, Wednesday or Friday evenings or the bus (several every day around 6-7 AM).

The ferry MS Victoria depart Mwanza going to Bukoba every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evening. A bed in 2nd class 6-bed sleeper cost TSh 23,500.

There is a ferry across the Mwanza gulf that leaves from the city (the Kamanga ferry) and another about 32 km south of the city. The southern one is recommended for driving because the roads on the western terminal are rumored to be much better.



Getting Around

Daladalas (public "buses") are a good, cheap way to get from the city to the surrounding areas. Costing only TSh 300 for a trip, they are crowded, slow, and thrilling sometimes. You may want to ask someone which one you need to take as there are no transit maps.

Taxis can be an option, although there aren't any official labels on them as there are in the capital. White licence plates means that the vehicle is registered for commercial use, and yellow mean private. Not all taxis have white licence plates, but some do. The taxis should be white cars with white licence plates. Use at your own risk.

Pikipikis are the little motorcycles that will take one or two people on as a fare. There are usually a few sitting at intersections. These are very dangerous because of influx of vehicles in Mwanza and again, use at your own risk.




Great Lake Victoria's fresh water talapia fish is a must eat food. A good number of fish industries exist. They export Nile perch fish fillet (sangara fish) to Europe and South Africa. Street food. Oranges, bananas, pineapples, mangoes, avocados, cassava, roast maize, taro are all available on the street from vendors for TSh 100-1000. Also available are mandazi, bagias, and other local fried breads in some areas. Vendors are usually walking around, so they may be harder to find.

Pizzeria Kuleana, Post St.. Pizzas, as expected, and a breakfast that is the favorite of locals and travelers. Opens early, so it makes a good place to wait for the town come alive if you have arrived with the night ferry. 7AM-9PM daily.
The Food Square, Bantu St. near Nkrumah St. Open for breakfast and lunch. Excellent, popular, fast, local food for TSh 1000-4000 per person. A great daily stop. No alcohol.
Harish Pan House, Nyerere and Post St. Indian food with Zanzibar flavor. Vegetarian menu limited to Samosas, Zanzibar mix soup, snacks and other Indian traditional breads.
Sizzler, Kenyatta and Post St. Wide variety on the menu, local food, Chinese, and Indian dishes. TSh 4000-8000. Open for lunch, then closed until dinner.
Mayi Hotel, Spacious outdoor restaurant with a good diverse menu. Lots of fish and chicken dishes. Arrive later in the evening for more menu availability. Their spaghetti and cheese sauce is especially good if you're vegetarian. TSh 8000-12,000.
New Mwanza Institute, Station Rd. west of the train tracks. Popular local outdoor restaurant. Local dishes only. TSh 2000-4000.
Airport kiosk, opposite Mwanza airport terminal. Local outdoor restaurant. Try the chapati and fish soup. Local dishes only. TSh 2000-4000.




Any local hotel and most restaurants serve beer and other drinks.

Tunza Lodge (about 8 km from town: follow the airport road to the Llemela dalla-dalla stop, take a left turn, following a dirt road to the lake side). Tunza Lodge is a beach resort on the shores of Lake Victoria. It offers sandy beaches, a bar and restaurant and weekend beach volleyball games on the sand. While the lake water is generally considered safer to swim in than areas closer to town, there​ is still a risk of schistosomiasis.
The Breeze, second floor in the New Mwanza Hotel (stairs are in the front, not the ones that go up to rooms). Nice view of traffic and people walking below. Open air but covered. A good place to wait out a sudden rain shower.




La Kairo Hotel. A top-end place to stay. Working free internet, good meeting rooms. City is noisy at night. TSh 30,000-100,000.
Tilapia Hotel (In Capri Point area, at the shore of Lake Victoria), ☏ +255 28 2500617. Offers a swimming pool and bar, ideal for swimming in on a hot day. Although the lake is adjacent, the water is infested with schistosomiasis and is not considered safe to swim in.
Malaika Beach Resort, ☏ +255 28 256 1111. Has a large restaurant, infinity pool with poolside bar, sprawling lawns and Wi-Fi connections. You can watch the fishermen at work on the lake while you are at poolside.
Victoria Palace Hotel (In Capri Point district), ☏ +255 28 250 3068. Excellent hotel rooms with free internet, awesome Indian food prepared by Indian Shef. Free breakfast.
Ryan's Bay Hotel (on the Station Rd. right between the Mwanza Railway Station and Capri Point), ☏ +255 28 254 2347. It offers a big swimming pool and a quite good restaurant with a lake view terrace.
Rwagasore St (Just off Kenyatta Rd). Small sign outside, but nice rooms inside for the price. Bar and restaurant on the second floor, safe parking inside, satellite television (some channels in English) and en suite bathrooms. TSh 15,000 per night, but if you're staying for a week or so, you can negotiate down to TSh 10,000 per night. Good mosquito nets, balconies, but not necessarily a fan in every room.
Lake Hotel (Station Rd. west of Kenyatta Rd). Nice place with a restaurant. Small rooms with en-suite bathrooms. Safe parking. A little cramped for more than one night. TSh 15,000 per night.
Kishamapanda Guest House, Uhuru street. Fan rooms. From TSh 8000.
Tulale Guest House, Shinyanga Rd (directly across from Nyegezi bus station.), ☏ +255 782-464130. Fan rooms. Private parking is available. From TSh 15,000.
Christmas Tree Hotel, off Karuta Street, ☏ +255 28-250-2001. Fan rooms. From TSh 16000. (updated Apr 2015 | edit)
Mtwara Lutheran Center, Mikindani Road, ☏ +255 23-2333294. Dorm beds/single/double with outside bathroom. TSh 6000/10,000/15,000.

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 Mwanza

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

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This is version 9. Last edited at 10:40 on Dec 7, 20 by Utrecht. 8 articles link to this page.

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