Cities & Towns

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It doen't matter whether you are arriving by plane, by vehicle or by foot, Tanzanians are always welcoming and vibrant. Below is a brief run through information of the many places based in tourism circuits [cities and towns of Tanzania] worth taking a look at:

Arusha

Size & Population:

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Arusha is a city of Arusha region in north-eastern of Tanzania with an area of 24,728.6 sq km, part of Arusha region with an area of 82,428.5 sq.km out ofthis a total area of 3,571 sq.km. or 4.3 percent is covered bywater bodies of Lakes Eyasi, Manyara, Babati and Natron. The remaining 78,857.5 sq km is a land area with a population of 416,442 inhabitants. The region has a common border with Kenya in thenorth, to the east it borders with Kilimanjaro and Tanga regions.

Brief Information:

Arusha is a Tanzania hub for major international diplomatic as it hosts the East African Community and since 1994 it hosted the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. It is a multicultural city with a majority African population, large Arab and Indian minorities, and many European and American experts, engaged in diplomatic affairs and the fast-growing local tourist industry.

Popular attractions:

Arusha city is the centre of Tanzania tourism. Situated below the second tallest in Tanzania, Mount Meru on the eastern edge of the eastern branch of the Great Rift Valley, it has its own national park, the Arusha National Park and is surrounded by Africa’s most famous landscapes and national parks to include:-

  • Serengeti
  • Ngorongoro Crater
  • Lake Manyara
  • Olduvai Gorge
  • Tarangire
  • Mount Kilimanjaro

It is surrounded by hills to the north and east with a local habitat of a mix of savannah woodlands where its population with the main ethnic groups of Iraqw, Arusha, Maasai, Meru and Barbaig mixed with others Sonjo, Gorowa, Rangi, Chagga, Pare and Nguuin small numbers have lots to share.

Getting there:

By Air

Arusha is served by Kilimanjaro International Airport [JRO]located about 60 Kilometres east of the city on the way to Moshi, the town of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The airport provides international and domestic flights to both international and national travellers. In addition, the city in its west has a domestic Arusha Airport [ARK] serving more than 87,000 passengers yearly.

BY BUS

There are regular buses and coaches from and to Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Dodoma, Moshi, Tanga in Tanzania mainland and from and to Nairobi in neighbouring Kenya.

Dar es Salaam

Size & Population:

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The City is located between latitudes 6.36 degrees and 7.0 degrees to the southof Equator and longitudes 39.0 and 33.33 to the east of Greenwich. It isbounded by the Indian Ocean on the east and by the Coast Region on the othersides.

The total surface area of Dar es Salaam City is 1,800 square kilometres, comprising of 1,393 square kilometres of land mass with eight offshore islands, which is about 0.19% of the entire Tanzania Mainland’s area. Dar es Salaam city has a population of 4,364,541 according to Census 2012.

Brief Information:

The City was originally dominated by Zaramo and a few other tribes especially Ndengereko and Kwere. However, due to urbanization many people of differentethnicity and origins have immigrated to the city in big numbers resulted in a cultural diversification.

Dar es Salaam has a unique status, being the major City of Tanzania and the centre of countrywide government administration, industry, commerce and banking activities, despite of the Government decision to move its capital to Dodoma. Dar es Salaam is also the major port City of Tanzania. It has more than 575 majorindustrial establishments, a Central Bank, Commercial Banks, Foreign Exchange Bureaus, and Business companies in all sectors.

Dar es Salaam city comprises of great historical places as was:-

  • Built by Sultan Seyyid Majid of Zanzibar who ruled the 166-km East African coastal strip between 1856 to 1870
  • Capital of German East Africa in 1891
  • Capital of the British Administration in Tanganyika after the 1st World War
  • Capital of the United Republic of Tanzania since the 1961 independence until now

Popular attractions:

Dar es Salaam city being the centre of Tanzania history, commerce and administration for many economic sectors, a city tour of will take you to the museums such as the National Museum, the Nyerere Cultural Centre, and the Village Museum; to markets such as Mwenge Carvings Market, the Magogoni Fish Market, and the largest in the country Kariakoo; to historical places such as Askari Monument, State House, St Peter’s Church, St Joseph Cathedral; to Botanical Gardens and Beaches and Coastal areas; and, interesting spots facilities.

Getting there:

By Air

There are many international flights from overseas to Dar es Salaam via the Julius Nyerere International Airport [JNIA] to include Emirates, Turkish Airlines, KLM, Kenya Airways, Dubai Air.

There are domestic flights from and to Dar es Salaam city connecting you to nearly all parts of Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar such as Arusha, Mwanza, Tanga, Zanzibar, Kigoma, Mtwara, Bukoba, Mbeya and to the National Parks and Game Reserves.

BY BUS

There are regular buses and coaches from Dar es Salaam and to all parts of Tanzania mainland and neighbouring countries of Zambia, Malawi, Uganda, Kenya, and, Rwanda.

Mwanza

Size & Population:

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Mwanza is a city of 0.8 million people increasing at a rate of 11% per annum and spread over 1,325 kmof which 900 kmis covered by water and 425 km is dry land. Approximately 86.8% km(20%) of the dry land is urbanized and the rest is forest, valleys, cultivated plains, grassy, and undulating and rocky hill areas.

Brief Information:

Mwanza, the second largest City in Tanzania after Dar-es Salaam City serves as an administrative and service centre for the
Mwanza Region, Lake Victoria Zone, and neighbouring countries of the “Great Lakes Region” It is also a major transit centre of goods destined for neighbouring countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Democratic Republic of Congo.

In the shores of Lake Victoria in north-western Tanzania, Mwanza city famously know as “Rock City” due presence free standing large rocks, was founded in 1892 as a regional administration and commercial centre to control mainly export production of the cotton growing areas in the Lake Victoria.

The main ethnic groups in Mwanza City are the Sukuma, Zinza, Haya, Sumbwa, Nyamwezi, Luo, Kurya, Jita and Kerewe with other small groups inhibiting from across the country. The people of Sukuma tribe dominate by 90 percent of the population.

Mwanza is also a city of industries, commerce and banking activities. It has number of industrial establishments, Commercial Banks, Foreign Exchange Bureaus, and Business companies in all sectors.

Popular attractions:

Mwanza is one of unique undiscovered destination in Tanzania. It is a land of much wonder hobbling an unparalleled diversity of Fauna, Flora and many natural features. The wonders of free standing rocks, the sceneries, and friendly people harbour the growth of excellent cultural tourism beach holidays, game hunting, infrastructure ventures, historical and archaeological ventures and certainly the best wildlife photographic safaris on the continent. The popular attractions includes:-

  • The Bujora Museum where Sukuma cultural history is preserved
  • Scenery view of Lake Victoria with its naturally arranged and free standingrocks set on top of each other
  • Safari trips to Saanane Game Reserve in the Island, Rubondo Island National Park and Serengeti National Park
  • Strolling around Mwanza City
  • A visit to Ukerewe Island, a big island situated in the north of Mwanza[in Lake Victoria]referred to as “little Zanzibar”, a truly place to relax and watch the beautiful nature of the lake ecosystem.

Getting there:

By Air

Mwanza is served by both international flights from Kenya and Uganda, and domestic flightsto and from Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Arusha and Kilimanjarovia the Mwanza Airport [MWZ] with daily flights from Kilimanjaro and Dar es Salaam.

BY Bus[Road]

There are dailybuses and coaches to and from Dar es Salaam and to all parts of Tanzania mainland and neighbouring countries of Bujumbura (Burundi), Kigali (Rwanda), Nairobi (Kenya) and Kampala(Uganda) through the all way tarmac roads.

BY Train

Mwanza is accessed also using daily trains to and from Dar es Salaam city booked up to 2-3 weeks in advance.

BY Boat

Mwanza is accessed by ferries only through Bukoba town [in Tanzania]every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evening. If you are arriving from Uganda, take a bus from Kampala to Bukoba [in Tanzania] and connect to the ferry, MS Victoria.

Moshi/Kilimanjaro

Size & Population:

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Moshi town is a Tanzanian municipality with a population of 184,292 according to the 2012 census. The municipality is in the Kilimanjaro Region and is situated on the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, covering an area of 59 km².

Moshi town serves as the base for expeditions up the “Roof Top of Africa”,Mount Kilimanjaro and cultural tourism programs operating on the lower slopes of the mountain.

Brief Information:

Moshi is always referred to as “the Town of Mt. Kilimanjaro” is at the base of Africa’s highest mountain and a home to mainly Chagga tribe-people. Other small ethnic groups residing the town after the independence are Pare, Wakahe, Sambaa, Indian, and Arabs. Moshi town has also a good number of European and American experts. It lies on the east to west road linking Arusha and Mombasa in Kenya, and it is very close, about 35 Kilometres to Kilimanjaro International Airport [JNIA].

Germany established a military camp in Moshi (Neu-Moschi) in August 1893 with the northern line railroad reached Moshi in 1912.

Moshi is a city ofcommerce, coffee production and marketing and banking activities. It has number of coffee establishments, Commercial Banks, Foreign Exchange Bureaus, and Business companies in all sectors.

Moshi hosts a number of higher education facilities. Those include theKilimanjaro Christian Medical College (KCMCo), the Stefano Moshi Memorial University College (SMMUCo), the Mwenge Catholic University (MWECAU), the Moshi Co-operative University (MoCU), the College of African Wildlife Management (CAWM), the Kilimanjaro School of Pharmacy (KSP), and the Tanzania Training Centre for Orthopaedic Technologists (TATCOT).

Popular attractions:

Moshi, Tanzania is at the foot of the tallest mountain of Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro with its ice capped peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo throughout the year despite being in the equatorial region. Beside a mountain, Moshi has a stable climateand the town enjoys a relatively cooler temperature. The popular attractions includes:-

  • The sceneries and greens of the mountain slopes
  • Several wonderful designed Cultural tourism programs
  • Climbing the Roof Top of Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro through well designed routes of Marangu, Machame, Lemosho, Umbwe, and Rongai
  • Visit to Lake Jipe, NyumbayaMungu, and the Lake Chala, a crater lake in a Calderon the borders of Tanzania and Kenya on the eastern edge of Mount Kilimanjaro. The lake is home to the endemic Lake Chala Tilapia [Oreochromishunter].

Getting there:

By Air

Moshi is served by the Kilimanjaro International Airport [JRO] for international and domestic travellers from all corners of the world. The airport is located about 35 Kilometres from Moshi on the way to Arusha.

Moshi has also domesticcharter flightsthrough the Moshi Airport [QSIto and from Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Arusha, Kilimanjaroand National Parks serving both international and domestic travellers.

BY Bus[Road]

There are dailybuses and coaches to and from Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Tanga, Dodoma, and Mbeya and neighbouring countries of Kenya [Nairobi] and Uganda [Kampala] through the all way tarmac roads.

Zanzibar

Size & Population:

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Zanzibar Citysimply referred to as Zanzibar, is the capital and largest city of Zanzibar, in Tanzania.

It is located on the west coast of Unguja, the main island of the Zanzibar Archipelago, roughly due north of Dar es Salaam across the Zanzibar Channel.

Zanzibar City has a population of approximately 205,870 people with a diverse culture.

Brief Information:

Zanzibar City comprises of two areas, the Stone Town and Ng’ambo [“The Other Side”] whichwere historically divided by a creek, now marked by a large street called Creek Road.

Stone Town is the historical core of the city because of its unique architecture and culture also declared by the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Ng’ambo is a much larger, modern area that developed around Stone Town after the Zanzibar Revolution, with office buildings and large apartment blocks such as those of the Michenzani neighbourhood. Zanzibar flourished as a trading centre during the 19th century, especially renowned for spices and slaves commerce, the origin of Zanzibar tourism.

Zanzibar people areof diverse ethnic origins, with the first been the ancestors of the Bantu Hadimu and Tumbatu. Zanzibar is today mostly inhabited by ethnic Swahili, a Bantu population, Arabs, as well as Indians. A great number of residents in Zanzibar speaks Swahili, English French and Italian as a result of Tourism.

Popular attractions:

Zanzibar City, is the best and origin of beach tourism in Tanzania and East Africa. The popular attractions just to mention a few includes the following:-

  • The House of Wonders [or “Palace of Wonders”, also known as “Beit-al-Ajaib”], in Mizingani Road on the seafront, is the most well-known landmarks of Stone Town built in 1883 and restored after the 1896 Anglo-Zanzibar War. Since 2000, its interior has been dedicated to a museum on Swahili and Zanzibar culture
  • Built from 1887 to 1894 is the Old Dispensary (or “Ithnashiri Dispensary”)to serve as a charity hospital for the poor but was later restored and is now used as a dispensary
  • The Old Fort [“Ngome Kongwe” in Swahili], was built in the 17th century by the Omanis with a roughly square shape and an internal courtyard, now used as a cultural centre with shops, workshops, and a small arena fordaily live dance and music shows
  • David Livingstone’s House, a palace that was originally built for Sultan Majid bin Said and later used by European missionaries to include Livingstone while preparing his last expedition to the interior of Tanganyika
  • The Anglican cathedral of Christ Church, in Mkunazini Road, was built at the end of the 19th century to celebrate the end of slavery with its altar in the exact spot where the main whipping post of slaves market used to be
  • The Hamamni Persian Baths built by Shirazi architects for Sultan Barghash bin Said at the end of 19th century as a complex of public baths
  • Tippu Tip’s House is another large, historical house of Stone Town. It was the house of the infamous Zanzibar slave trader Tippu Tip
  • Slavery memorial – Stone Town as well as a museum on the history of slavery, are besides the church
  • The Forodhani Gardens in front of the Old Fort and the House of Wonders where every after sunset the gardens host a popular, tourist-oriented market selling grilled seafood and Zanzibar recipes
  • The Darajani Market is the main bazaar of Zanzibar, one of the main attraction to visitors because of its colourful, chaotic maze of stalls selling everything from kangas to exotic fruits to consumer electronics.

Getting there:

By Air

Stone Town [Zanzibar City]is served by the Abeid Aman Karume International [ZNZ] Airport with both international and domestic flights from and to mainland Tanzania, Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Moshi, and Tanga as well as Nairobi and Mombasa in Kenya and Johannesburg, in South Africa.

BY Ferries

At Stone Town’s harbour ferriesthat departs within an interval of every hour an on daily basis to and from Pemba Island and Dar es Salaam.

Tanga

Size & Population:

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Tanga City is located on the shores of the Indian Ocean in northeast Tanzania. It has a land area of 474 square Kilometres with an estimated population of about 273,332 people according to National Census 2012.

It is the administrative city of Tanga region situated at the extreme northeast corner of Tanzania between 40and 60degrees below the Equator and 370-39010’degrees east of the Greenwich meridian. Theregion occupies an area of 27,348 sq Kms, sharing borders with Kenya, Morogoro, Coast, Kilimanjaro and Arusha in Tanzania.

Brief Information:

In comparison to other Tanzanian cities and towns, Tanga City has the best economic and social infrastructure in the country, and is well connected by road, railways lines, Domestic Airport and telecommunications. Tanga is the seaport city situated in the northeast of Tanzania very close the islands of Pemba and Zanzibar.

The City is thesecond largest port, third largestIndustrial center in Tanzania, and also the headquarters of Tanga Region, Tanga District and Tanga City Council. Tanga city has institutions in medical and livestock research, the largest Regional hospital and companies offering financial services. An airport provides air services to other urban and tourism centers in the country.

It was known to Shirazi Persians over a thousand years ago, had thriving trade links with Asia and the Middle East in the 13th Century, and became a continental gateway, including for the colonial activities of Omani Sultans, the Germans and British. During the past century and half, it developed functions as a transport, commercial, administrative, military and urban-industrial hub and as an important engine of the Regional and National economy.

Tanga people are originally Digo ethnic group, however other ethnics groups namely Sambaa, Zigua, and Bondei migrated to the city from other parts of Tanga region. There are other small ethnic groups such as Segeju, Duruma, Mbugu and Pare, and small population of Asians and Europeans living in the city.

Popular attractions:

Tangais a city with unique resources in terms of cultural and heritage tourism. The history of the city and its architectural heritage is special in Tanzania to offer most popular attractions just to mention a few:-

  • Well-preserved Tongoni Ruins managed by theDepartment of Antiquities in a small fishing village situated17 km south of Tanga City. The ruins wasonce a prosperous and respected trading centre in the 15th century established by the Shirazi of Persian
  • Mysterious Amboni Caves located about 8 km north of Tanga City. The caves are the most extensive limestone caves inEast Africa, and were sculptured bynature into a fascinating undergroundworld of halls, chambers, nichesand tunnels, some equipped withstalactites and stalagmites.
  • Toten Island in Tanga Bay.The island is covered by a lushcoastal forest with huge baobabtrees and has also ruins of early settlements. Toten Island also has small beaches and nature trails crisscrossing the forest and ruins and can be visited by boats, arranged by hotels and tour operators in Tanga.
  • Gallanos Hot Sulphur Springs located about 8 km from Tanga City and only 3 km from the Amboni caves. People visits these hot and sulphurous springs for their healing properties, especially for skin ailments.
  • Traditional Boat Building, Yambe Island, Old Ndumi Village Ruins, Tanga Museum and an experience to Traditional Medicine

Getting there:

By Air

Tanga City is served by the Tanga Airport [TGT] for domestic flights from and to Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Moshi, and Zanzibar.

BY Bus [Road]

There are dailybuses and coaches to and from Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Arusha, Kilimanjaro, and Morogoro and neighbouring countries of Kenya [Mombasa] through the all way tarmac roads.

Bagamoyo

Size & Population:

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Bagamoyo is located geographical in the coordinates of 6° 26′ 0″ South, 38° 54′ 0″ East

It was founded at the end of the 18th century. It was the original capital of German East Africa and was one of the most important trading ports along the East African coast.

It has a population of about 311,740 people and is recently being considered as a world heritage site.

Brief Information:

Bagamoyo was the most important trading centre of the east central coast of Africa in the late 19th century. Bagamoyo’s history has been influenced by Indian and Arab traders, by the German colonial government and by Christian missionaries. Until the middle of the 18th century, Bagamoyo was a small and insignificant trading center where most of the populations were fishermen and farmers. The main trading goods were fish, salt, and gum, among other things.

In the late 18th century Muslim families settled in Bagamoyo, it became a trading port for ivory and the slave trade, with traders coming from the African interior, from places as far as Morogoro, Lake Tanganyika and Usambara on their way to Zanzibar. The slave trade in East Africa was officially prohibited in the year 1873, but completely well to the end of the 19th century.

Currently, Bagamoyo is a centre for dhow sailboat building, tourism and artworks. The Bagamoyo College of Arts is an internationally famous arts college in Tanzania, teaching traditional Tanzanian painting, sculpture, drama, dancing and drumming.

People residing Bagamoyo are diverse in nature than some other areas of the country. Ethic groups found here includes Wakwere, Wazaramo, Wazigua, Maasai, and Waswahili. Other different cultures coexist in Bagamoyo, including people of Arab descent.

Popular attractions:

Bagamoyo town has a plenty of historical buildings, crafts, cultural experiences like hena decorating and traditional dances of bigilia, selo and sangenge, and above all it is the administrative town of Saadani National Park. Bagamoyo town is the home of handcrafts and wonderful unspoiled beaches of both sand and coral beach and mangrove. The popular attractions just to mention a few include the following:-

  • The Historical Town of Bagamoyo, Bagamoyo is a 19th century historical town with buildings architecture inspired by African, Swahili, Arab, Indian and European cultures
  • The Roman Catholic Museum, which has an exhibit on the history of Christianity in Tanzania and East Africa and efforts made by the church to a complete abolition of slave trade
  • The Kaole Ruins’ a 13th -18th Centuries AD settlement is an impressive monumental architecture of mosques, graves and houses and an exhibit on archaeological findings from coastal Tanzania showing the Eastern Africa region had been trading with Indians, Chinese, Arabs, Persians and Europeans from as far back as the 7th century AD to the 18th Century AD
  • The unspoiled clean beaches where you can see man making or mending sail boats and nets, in-coming fishermen in sail boats, selling and processing fish at the fish market and close to the sea food restaurant
  • The work of art at the Bagamoyo College of Arts has an ultra-modern theatre, regularly organizes and hosts traditional dance groups for live performances. At the old market and within the historic town, souvenirs of Makonde carvings, Tinga Tinga paintings, beadwork and textiles produced by outstanding artists are plenty

Getting there:

By Bus

Bagamoyo town is served daily buses to and from Dar es Salaam through the all way tarmac road.

Mbeya

Size & Population:

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Mbeya city is located in southwest of Tanzania with a population of 385,279 people according to 2012 Census. Mbeya city is the capital of Mbeya region with a total population of 2,707,410 people.

When travelling from Zambia, one of neighbouring country, Mbeya is the first large urban settlement to encounter. Mbeya is situated at an altitude of 1,700 meters above the sea level, and sprawls through a narrow highland valley surrounded by a bowl of high mountains.

Brief Information:

Mbeya was founded as a gold mining town in 1920s following the 1905 gold rush. The city which attracted a British administration until 1961 had also attracted migrants and small entrepreneurs and later developed into a growing metropolis and business centre for the southern regions and the neighbouring countries of Malawi, Zambia and Congo.

Mbeya City is well connected with an all-weather [tarmac] road that forms part of the “Great North Road” running from Cape Town in South Africa to Alexandria in Egypt.

The main ethnic groups in the city are the Safwa, Malila and Nyakyusa. Others are Sangu, Bena and Wanji and small ethnic groups to include the Masai and Sukuma. Most of these ethnic groups are predominantly agro – pastoralists.

Popular attractions:

Mbeya city belongs to the tourism circuit which commands several attractions including extension of Ruaha National Park, Usangu and Lukwati Game reserves, mountains, Sandy beaches on Lake Nyasa shores, the Rift Valley Plains, unique ecological features of rain forests, historical features as well as cultural tourism.

In addition there are open areas with a good number of wildlife like Piti, kipembawe, Kwimba in Chunya and Usangu open areas in Mbarali district. With the establishment of Kitulo National Park and Mpanga/Kipengere Game reserve famous for its unique birds and flowers, the Region attracts massive number of tourists.

There are several game animals like buffaloes, london, elephants, lions, reedbuck, roan antelope, hartebeest, crocodiles, leopard, zebras, waterbucks, greater kudu, jackals, impalas, hippos and various types of birds. The most popular tourist attractions includes:-

  • Ruaha-Usangu National Park within Mbeya and Iringa, with a large number of flora and fauna
  • The unique ecological features of the tropical rain forest.
  • The wildlife in the Lukwati Game Reserves in Chunya district.
  • Mpanga – Kipengele Game Reserve in Mbarali district.
  • Protected variety of Game stock and wild animals such as rare monkey species known as Rungwecebus kipunji.
  • The Rift Valley – Usangu plains.
  • The warmth of Lake Nyasa and Rukwa.
  • Sandy beaches of lake Nyasa.
  • A unique Ngosi Crater Lake, located on top of Rungwe rainforests and other crater lakes of Masoko and Kisiba in the Rungwe District.
  • Ihefu wetland systems in Ruaha river basin which can be toured by flying boats.
  • Natural bridge formed on Kiwira river in Rungwe District
  • Meteorite site in Mbozi “Kimondo cha Mbozi”. This is a rare and spectacular sight and is the eighth largest meteorite in the world, weighing about 12 tonnes.
  • Museums, Monuments and Heritage.

Getting there:

BY AIR

Mbeya city in southern regions has a new airport since 2006 that provides air-links with other airports such as Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, Mwanza and Dodoma.

BY BUS

Transportation in Mbeya is frequent and there are regular bus services from and to Iringa, Morogoro, Dar es Salam, Dodoma, Arusha, Moshi and Songea and to many other regions countrywide.