Other Towns of Interest

Dodoma

parliament building

Located in the heartland of Tanzania, Dodoma is the nation’s political capital and the seat of government in the country. Comparably much smaller and less developed than the country’s commercial center Dar-es-Salaam, Dodoma remains center for national politics. Situated on the eastern edge of the southern highlands, the city is surrounded by a rich agricultural area and pleasant scenery. It is the center of Tanzania’s growing wine industry and Tanganyika Vineyards Company is actively promoting its products.

Historically Dodoma was a stopover on the overland caravan route that traveled from the Swahili coast inland towards Lake Tanganyika. Early in the 20th century, the city became a major point on the Central Line Railway, which carried agricultural crops for export to the harbor in Dar-es-Salaam. In recent times, the town’s economic base has declined in favor of the coastal city, but in the early days of Tanzanian independence, there was a popular political motion to move the entire government to the town in the southern highlands. These days, the government divides its time between the two cities.

Iringa

Located in the southern highlands of Tanzania, near the country’s legislative capital of Dodoma and the agricultural center of Morogoro, Iringa is a pleasant small town and a focus of regional agriculture and production. Its streets are quiet and peaceful, and the market offers a colorful scene of traditional African Culture. Iringa overlooks the Little Ruaha River and is a popular stopping point for visitors to Ruaha National Park.

Historically, Iringa was a center of colonial administration. During German occupation, the German military constructed a town as a fortified defense against marauding Hehe tribal warriors intent on driving them out of the region. Gangilonga Rock, a site just outside of the town, is a legendary spot where the Hehe chief a that time, Chief Mkwawa, met with his people and decided how to fight the Germans. Iringa was also the site of several battles during World War One and Two and commonwealth war graves are located just outside of town.

Mbeya

Near the Zambian border deep in the southern highlands, the city of Mbeya is the major agricultural in the country’s south-west region. The Mbeya Mountain Range lies to the north, and the Poroto Mountain Range lies to the southeast. Coffee, tea, banana and cocoa all of which are grown in the region, are sent to Mbeya for packaging and transport. Mbeya’s location also makes it an ideal transit point with goods traveling by road or rail between Tanzania and neighboring Zambia and Malawi.

In addition to its agricultural prosperity, Mbeya’s mineral wealth has attracted investment and provides the country with a good source of income. The town was originally founded in 1930s when gold was discovered and a “gold rush” ensued. But instead of a supply running out and Mbeya becoming a ghost town, the city has continued to supply the country with regular amount of gold. Its mountain views and pleasant weather make it a good stopover point for overland travelers heading south.

Tabora

The sleepy town of Tabora, in the hinterland of western Tanzania, remains a key transit point in the country. The Central Line Railway branches at Tabora to both Kigoma and Mwanza, and visitors traveling by train often use Tabora as stopover point during their journey. The regions around Tabora are famous for the honey they produce, and large jerry canes and bottles of the famous nectar can be bought in the village market.