Tanzania Towns, Cities, Locations and Districts
(Tanzania, TZ, East Africa)
On the whole, Tanzania is mostly rural. For example, the north-east of the country is mountainous and home to Africa's highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro
, while the north-west is characterised by national parks and lakes.
The east comprises coastland, with eastern Tanzania bordered by the Indian Ocean and the islands that make up Zanzibar. Most Tanzanian people and activities tend to be concentrated within four major cities, namely Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Mwanza and Mbeya.
Dar es Salaam
Whilst no longer the official capital of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam remains at the heart of Tanzanian politics and government. Most ministries are still located in Dar es Salaam, despite plans to the contrary. For tourists in the city, there is plenty to keep everyone interested. Attractions include the city's Botanical Gardens, Old State House and the National Museum. Dar es Salaam's beaches are also popular with visitors. More information about Dar es Salaam
Situated at the heart of Tanzania, Dodoma is the country's official capital and seat of legislature. Whilst Dodoma has grown quite steadily in recent years, it remains something of a city in miniature. A popular tourist destination is the Lion Rock. Those with enough energy to hike to the very top will be able to enjoy uninterrupted views across the whole of Dodoma. More information about Dodoma
Most visitors to Tanzania will spend some time in Arusha, usually on the way to the safari parks in the northern part of the country. This fast-growing city does make a good base for travelling to nearby attractions, such as the Arusha National Park and Mount Meru. The markets in the city centre of Arusha are also worth a visit, particularly the Maasai Market, while the high concentration of street touts and dodgy tour operators are worth avoiding.
Just a short drive away from Dar es Salaam is Bagamoyo, once one of the most important coastal towns in Tanzania. In 1888, it became the capital of German East Africa. However, when Dar es Salaam took over that role just a few years later, Bagamoyo lost its colonial wealth and started to go into decline. Today, the town has settled nicely into its new role as a somewhat sleepy town with lots of African charm and a reputation for stunning white beaches.
Western Kigoma is a bustling port town located on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika. Surrounded by mountains, Kigoma functions as the capital of the Kigoma region and serves as a useful base for visiting nearby safari parks, including the Gombe Stream National Park. Close by, the town of Ujiji is just 6 km / 4 miles away and to the south-east. The train station is amongst the town's most impressive buildings and is quite hard to miss.
Mbeya is surrounded by mountains in the southern highlands of Tanzania. The busy regional capital, Mbeya is a busy gateway to neighbouring African countries, including Malawi and Zambia.
Various hiking opportunities present themselves in the surrounding countryside. Campers may like to consider pitching a tent at the Karibuni Centre.
The town of Moshi is perhaps known for its coffee, with a series of huge coffee plantations covering the area surrounding the town. Visitors can enjoy a trip to one of Moshi's famous coffee auctions or head out to climb in the nearby Kilimanjaro National Park
. Sightseers visiting Moshi may also like to check out the central mosque and the town's various religious institutions, and perhaps the Commonwealth War Cemetery, which is situated just across from the magistrates court. Another nearby attraction and crowd pleaser, the Kinukamori Falls may also appear on your itinerary when in Moshi.
A spreading town with a noticeable laid-back vibe, Mtwara is located on the far south-eastern side of the country, where it is an appealing destination for visitors heading across the border and into neighbouring Mozambique. Worth noting, the immigration post is to be found at nearby Kilambo. A number of reasonably priced hotels are available in Mtwara, with sandy Shangani Beach being an especially popular spot for sun-seeking holiday makers. Those wishing to travel northwards to Dar es Salaam can choose between regular flights, buses and boats.
Mwanza is the second largest city in Tanzania. Located in the north of the country, it's best known for its proximity to Lake Victoria and for being the regional hub of economics. Mwanza offers great views over the lake and endless possibilities when it comes to excursions. It's also a useful transport hub for those travelling elsewhere, being the ideal base for trips to nearby parks such as the Saanane Island Game Reserve, and further afield, the Serengeti National Park
. The city's passenger ferry docks are easy to find, being located close to the clock tower and shops.
Just a short distance from the lake-side town of Kigoma, Ujiji is amongst the oldest towns in this part of the country. It is also famous for its links with the explorer David Livingstone. Indeed, Livingstone is reputed to have met Henry Stanley in Ujiji. Visitors can admire the Dr. Livingstone monument in the town, as well as explore Ujiji's small museum.
Just 40 km / 25 miles from the mainland coast lies the Tanzanian archipelago of Zanzibar. Famed for its palm tree-fringed sandy beaches, beautiful coral reefs and all-over tropical paradise allure, Zanzibar is a major holiday destination. Historic Stone Town lies on Zanzibar's Unguja Island and comes with winding alleys, crowded bazaars and grand Arab architecture. Other popular places to visit in Stone Town include the House of Wonders, the Palace Museum and Dr. Livingstone's House. On the adjacent island of Pemba, the scuba diving sites are something of a major tourist magnet, as are the migrating humpback whales, which regularly swim by the eastern coast each July and August.