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About Mwanza

Mwanza is a major port city on Lake Victoria in northern Tanzania. Famous for tea, coffee and cotton plantations, this city is a hub of agricultural trade. The Sukuma tribe lays claim to the rich heritage of the city’s interesting cultures. A trip to Mwanza is not complete without exploring Lake Victoria, its surrounding islands and the Serengeti National Park.

Cheap flights to Mwanza are now available for a limited time only, so book your flight today and experience the thrilling wildlife and magnificent scenery of this city! Mwanza is home to Mwanza International Airport (MWZ), a 25 minute drive from the city centre. Mwanza International Airport serves a few airlines, including Precision Air. Direct flights are not available from South Africa, but connecting flights leaving via Nairobi are available from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Flight duration from Johannesburg is approximately 8 hours, 40 minutes.

Why visit Mwanza

rich cultural experience

Rich Cultural Experience

To appreciate the heritage of Mwanza, a tour around Capri Point Peninsula and a visit downtown will show you a glimpse of its history and the German, British and Indian influences embedded in the architecture and cuisine.

safaris

Safaris

No visit to Mwanza is complete without a safari trip in the Serengeti National Park. Arrange a day tour or stay overnight and see these majestic wild animals in their natural habitat.

nature and scenery

Nature and Scenery

What better way to wake up than seeing the sunrise over Lake Victoria? Whether you’re boating on the lake, watching the sunset from Bismarck Rock or hiking through the bush trails, you’ll be amazed at the natural landscapes.

General information

Essential details you need to know before your trip

Country Tanzania
Currency Tanzanian Shilling (TZS)
Exchange Rate 1 ZAR = 169.599 TZS
Language Swahili / English
Hub Airport Mwanza International Airport (MWZ)
Airline Air Tanzania
Time Zone GMT + 03:00
Travel Adaptor Type D / G

Best time to visit Mwanza

Mwanza has lots to offer tourists all year round! If you’re planning on doing safaris and hiking, the best time to visit is during winter (August to November) when temperatures are a bit cooler and there is less rainfall. The rainy season, occurring between December and April, sees the landscape blossoming with wild orchids. This is low season and you may want to take advantage of the fewer crowds, enabling you to acquire a greater appreciation of the landscape and local people. This is not an ideal time for hiking, as roads and trails may become muddy and slippery.

Weather & Climate in Mwanza

Average temperature (°C) & rainfall (mm) per month

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Low °C 18°C 18°C 18°C 18°C 18°C 16°C 15°C 16°C 18°C 18°C 18°C 18°C
High °C 27°C 28°C 28°C 28°C 28°C 28°C 28°C 28°C 29°C 29°C 28°C 27°C
Rainfall (mm) 92 113 139 175 79 13 8 18 31 80 164 142

Overview

Mwanza is a port city on the southern shore of Lake Victoria. After Dar es Salaam, it is Tanzania’s second largest city and the economic heart of the lake region. Owing to the many mosques and Hindu temples, central Mwanza has a distinct Asian feel to it. In the area between Temple Street and Post Street, you will find many Indian shops, and to the southeast is the bustling Central Market, where you can buy almost anything you desire. Expect to bargain with the merchants!

From Mwanza you can take day trips to the various islands in Lake Victoria, such as Ukerewe, Ukara and Rubondo, which is also a national park, with plenty of birds and animals to see.

Any tourist visiting Mwanza is going to take the two and a half hours’ drive to Serengeti National Park where you can choose to embark on a day safari or sleep over in the park itself for the full African experience!

Visa & Customs

South Africa passport holders do require a visa for Tanzania, valid for up to 90 days. Ensure your South African passport has at least 6 months remaining on it from your return date and that you have at least 3 blank pages available for stamps.

The South African High Commission to Tanzania is in Dar es Salaam. Plot 1338 Mwaya Road, Masaki, Dar es Salaam. Phone: + 255 22 260 1800.

Click here for more information on the application process.

Health & Safety

The only required vaccination for entry into Tanzania is Yellow Fever.

It is recommended to also get vaccinated against Typhoid as food hygiene is sometimes poor and it is easy to pick up an infection or stomach bug. Malaria is highly prevalent in this region, so it is recommended to take medication before, during and after your stay. Mosquito nets and a strong insect repellent will definitely help to minimise the risk of being bitten. Use sunscreen and drink plenty of BOTTLED water!

Mwanza is a fairly safe city; however the usual safety precautions do apply. Never leave personal items unattended and beware of children coming up to you to distract your attention and pick-pocket. Do not walk around flashing valuable items and never walk the streets at night, no matter how close your hotel is from where you are. Taxis are affordable, so rather flag one down and get a safe ride home.

Cost of Living

ITEM CAPE TOWN JOHANNESBURG MWANZA
Meal, inexpensive restaurant R 90 R 100 R 53
Domestic beer (0.5 litre draught) R 22 R 20 R 26
Cappuccino R 19 R 20 R 20
Taxi 1km (normal tariff) R 10 R 12 R 20
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro) R 35 R 35 R 18

Where to stay?

You will be spoilt for choice with accommodation options in and around Mwanza’s central district. There is an abundance of hotels and lodges to choose from, ranging from more affordable options, to high-end luxury resorts and tourist hotels.

The city centre offers many hotels and guesthouses catered to business travellers and tourists, in close proximity to shopping areas and popular restaurants and cafés.

For a romantic stay, there are idyllic beach resorts and lodges along Lake Victoria, offering splendid accommodation in the midst of Mother Nature.

Getting Around

A good way to get from Mwanza to neighbouring towns is by public buses called ‘daladalas’. Note that these buses can be crowded and slow, though at only 300 TZS for a trip, you may want to buckle up and embrace the wilder side of African transport.

Taxis are available but more difficult to spot as they are not clearly marked. Another option for zipping around is little motorcycles called ‘pikipikis’, easily spotted at intersections.

There are many bus routes, departing from the centre of town. Speak to your hotel staff to find out about the best company for your route and to confirm prices.

Of course, there is no better way to explore a city in its natural glory than by walking around; just don’t be on the streets at night as you may become a target for pick-pocketing.

Main attractions in Mwanza

Saanane Island National Park

Saanane Island National Park

Sukuma Village Museum

Sukuma Village Museum

Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria

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