Kigoma, Tanzania

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Kigoma, Tanzania

Region: Kigoma Region

Geographic Coordinates: -4.883300, 29.633300
Temperature Range: 20.0°C to 35.0°C (68°F to 95°F)
Climate: Seasonal.
Population: 135234
Language: Swahili

Kigoma is a charming lakeside town located in western Tanzania, Bordering Lake Tanganyika. It is the capital of Kigoma Region and serves as a gateway to various tourist destinations such as Gombe Stream National Park, Mahale Mountains National Park, And Katavi National Park. The town has a population of approximately 230, 000 people and is predominantly inhabited by the Wafipa tribe. One of the most notable features of Kigoma is its stunning natural beauty. With its crystal-clear waters and breathtaking sunsets over Lake Tanganyika, It’s easy to see why this area attracts so many visitors.

The lake itself is the second deepest in the world and home to over 350 different species of fish – making it a popular spot for fishing enthusiasts. Another attraction in Kigoma is Gombe Stream National Park which was made famous by primatologist Jane Goodall’s groundbreaking research on chimpanzees. Visitors can trek through the park’s lush forests to observe these fascinating creatures up close in their natural habitat. Mahale Mountains National Park also offers an opportunity for visitors to see chimpanzees along with other wildlife such as leopards, Elephants, And buffalo.

In addition to its natural attractions, Kigoma also has several historical landmarks that are worth exploring. One such landmark is Ujiji – a small village located just outside Kigoma where explorer Henry Morton Stanley famously met Dr David Livingstone in 1871 with his now-famous phrase Dr Livingstone I presume. Visitors can visit Livingstone’s house which has been turned into a museum that showcases his life story. The town itself boasts several colonial-era buildings including St Thomas Catholic Church which was built by German missionaries during colonial times.

There are also several bustling markets where locals sell fresh produce alongside handmade crafts like baskets woven from palm fronds or intricately carved wooden figurines. Kigoma has an airport that connects it to other major cities in Tanzania such as Dar es Salaam and Mwanza. The town is also accessible by ferry from other towns along Lake Tanganyika, Making it a popular stop for travelers exploring the region. Overall, Kigoma is a hidden gem in Tanzania that offers visitors both natural beauty and cultural experiences.

With its stunning lake views, Unique wildlife, And historical landmarks, It’s no wonder why this town has become a popular destination for tourists seeking an authentic African experience.

Important Landmarks

  1. Gombe Stream National Park is renowned for its chimpanzee population and breathtaking scenery.
  2. Lake Tanganyika, the second deepest lake in the world, is a popular destination for swimming, fishing, and relaxation.
  3. Ujiji Town is famous as the place where Stanley met Livingstone; it has a museum dedicated to their meeting.
  4. Kigoma Hilltop Hotel provides stunning views of Lake Tanganyika and its surroundings.
  5. Kibirizi Beach is a picturesque beach on Lake Tanganyika with white sand and crystal-clear water.
  6. Mahale Mountains National Park boasts diverse wildlife in a mountainous landscape that’s home to chimpanzees and other primates.
  7. The Mwamgongo Village Cultural Tourism Programme offers an opportunity to experience local traditions such as traditional dances, food preparation techniques, etc.
  8. Karibu Beach is located in Kigoma town and offers visitors a beautiful beach experience.

Primary Industries

  1. Fishing
  2. Agriculture
  3. Timber industry
  4. Tourism
  5. Mining
  6. Transportation services
  7. Retail trade

Kigoma is located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika which provides a significant fishing ground for local fishermen. The region also produces crops such as maize, beans, cassava and bananas through its agricultural sector.

Kigoma has a large forest reserve which provides timber for local use and export. The region is also home to Gombe Stream National Park which attracts tourists who come to see chimpanzees in their natural habitat.

Small-scale mining activities in the region produce gold, diamonds and other minerals. The port of Kigoma serves as a transportation hub for goods coming into Tanzania from neighboring countries such as Burundi and DR Congo.

Various retail shops selling consumer goods such as clothing, electronics and foodstuffs among others can be found in the town center of Kigoma.

Noteable History

  1. The Arab slave trade: Kigoma played a significant role in the Arab slave trade in East Africa during the 19th century.
  2. German colonialism: In 1884, Kigoma became part of German East Africa and was an important port on Lake Tanganyika.
  3. Richard Burton and John Speke: These two British explorers arrived in Kigoma in 1858 while searching for the source of the Nile River.
  4. Mahatma Gandhi: In 1915, Gandhi visited Kigoma as part of his journey through East Africa to promote Indian independence from British rule.
  5. World War I: During World War I, Kigoma was a battleground between German and British forces in East Africa.
  6. Tabora Offensive: In 1916, British forces launched a successful offensive against German troops stationed in Kigoma.
  7. Julius Nyerere: The first president of Tanzania lived in exile in Kigoma during his struggle for independence from colonial rule.
  8. Lake Tanganyika ferry disaster: In May 1996, a ferry carrying over 800 passengers sank on Lake Tanganyika near Kigoma resulting in over 600 deaths.
  9. Burundi Civil War refugees: During the Burundi Civil War (1993-2005), thousands of refugees fled to Tanzania and many were settled around Kigoma.
  10. Fishing industry: Today, fishing is one of the main industries in Kigoma due to its location on Lake Tanganyika which is home to hundreds of fish species including sardines that are exported across East Africa.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Livingstone Museum
  2. Kigoma Hilltop Hotel
  3. Mwamgongo Cultural Centre
  4. Gombe Stream National Park
  5. Ujiji Slave Trade Memorial Monument
  6. Lake Tanganyika
  7. Mahale Mountains National Park
  8. Kibirizi Hot Springs
  9. Kigoma Railway Station Museum
  10. Mwana Nyerere Cultural Centre

Cultural Events

  1. Kigoma International Dance Festival showcases traditional dances from different tribes in Tanzania and other countries.
  2. Kigoma Fishing Festival celebrates the fishing culture of the region with fishing competitions, boat races, and cultural performances.
  3. Ujiji Cultural Festival celebrates the history and culture of Ujiji, a town located in Kigoma that was an important trading center during the 19th century.
  4. Mwaka Kogwa Festival is celebrated by the Zaramo people of Kigoma to mark the beginning of a new year according to their lunar calendar.
  5. Eid al-Fitr is celebrated by the Muslim community in Kigoma at the end of Ramadan with prayers, feasts, and cultural events.
  6. Nyerere Day is observed on October 14th each year to honor Tanzania’s first president Julius Nyerere who played a key role in its independence movement.
  7. Independence Day on December 9th marks Tanzania’s Independence Day which is celebrated with parades, speeches, and cultural events across the country including Kigoma.


  • Ugali and fish – this is a staple dish in Tanzania made from maize flour and served with grilled or fried fish.
  • Mtori – a traditional Tanzanian dish made from mashed plantains, beef, and spices.
  • Nyama Choma – grilled meat (usually goat or beef) served with ugali and vegetables.
  • Chapati – a type of flatbread that is popular in East Africa.
  • Kigoma Fish Market – this market offers fresh fish caught from Lake Tanganyika which can be cooked at nearby restaurants for a small fee.
  • Hotel Jakobsen Restaurant – serves traditional Tanzanian dishes as well as international cuisine.
  • Kigoma Hilltop Hotel Restaurant – offers panoramic views of the city while serving local delicacies such as kuku choma (grilled chicken).
  • Lake Shore Lodge Restaurant – located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, this restaurant specializes in seafood dishes like prawns and tilapia fillets.
  • Bismark Beach Resort Restaurant – another lakeside restaurant that serves fresh seafood dishes along with other Tanzanian specialties like pilau rice and samosas.
  • Mama G’s Kitchen – A small family-run restaurant specializing in delicious local food at affordable prices.

  • Parks and Recreation

    1. Gombe Stream National Park is a renowned destination for primate lovers and hiking enthusiasts, with stunning waterfalls to admire.
    2. Lake Tanganyika is the world’s second deepest lake and provides ample opportunities for swimming, fishing, and boating.
    3. Kigoma Hilltop Hotel Pool offers a refreshing dip to the public at an affordable fee.
    4. Mwamgongo Beach is a popular spot on Lake Tanganyika for sunbathing and swimming.
    5. Kibirizi Beach boasts clear waters and white sand on Lake Tanganyika, making it another must-visit beach in Tanzania.
    6. Ujiji Museum commemorates the historic meeting between Stanley and Livingstone in 1871.
    7. Mahale Mountains National Park features chimpanzees, hiking trails, and breathtaking views of Lake Tanganyika that will leave you in awe.
    8. Rubondo Island National Park on Lake Victoria is home to diverse wildlife including elephants, hippos as well as birdwatching opportunities while fishing or boating on the lake itself are also available here!
    9. Kigoma War Cemetery serves as a memorial to those who lost their lives during World War I in Tanzania’s former German colony of East Africa.
    10. Gombe Forest Lodge Nature Walks offer guided tours through the forest surrounding Gombe Stream National Park where visitors can observe birds, monkeys butterflies flowers etc.. up close!


    Let The Journey Begin.

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