Day 48 – 50: Lake Victoria to Lake Tanganyika


140 km Serengeti to Mwanza

778 km Mwanza to Kigoma

11 454 km trip to date

We wanted to experience Lake Victoria as well, and had the first views of the lake as soon as we exited the Serengeti via the Ndabaka Gate. The only problem is that there are no campsites along Lake Victoria on the eastern side in TZN except in Mwanza town on the southern shores of the lake. We enquired beforehand and received the answer from various lodges – they do not offer camping and they could not recommend any campsites, as there are none.

In Mwanza we had a choice – Tunza beach lodge, which is a local hangout with lots of African beach parties, or the Mwanza Yacht Club, which allows one to pitch camp on the lawn where they launch their boats.

Mwanza Yacht Club
Mwanza Yacht Club
Lake Victoria
Mwanza suburb overlooking Lake Victoria

We were pleasantly surprised with Mwanza Yacht club, which also has a restaurant, and spent the night there. Mwanza is a city with huge sky scrapers (half-built TZN style bling) and an international port. It is also the first time we saw a lot of industries in a TZN town. The town is busy and chaotic and filthy and loud with the normal informal markets along the roads and people and motorcycles moving and milling around everywhere.

Outside Mwanza the landscape has huge granite boulders and lots of standing water. Rice fields are along the road for km on end and the veld is the greenest of green. Really beautiful.

The next leg of the journey was quite long with a stretch of almost 800 km from Mwanza to Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika. And we knew by now that we could not attempt that in one day. So we drove 400 km (more than 8 hours) directly south to Tabora on a perfect tarred road with the normal 50 km stretches through the never-ending villages.

We stopped to prepare a quick salad for lunch under a huge baobab tree next to the road a bit too near to a village and the next minute we had a crowd of spectators. And they just kept coming, standing to see what we were doing, leaving us no personal space. And when Eric and Henriette took photos, they really became enthusiastic. In the end, we prepared the salad, got in the cars and drove off with the bowl of salad on the lap to the next tree a few km away.

Our audience along the road

In Tabora we camped in the backyard of the Old Orion Hotel – a beautiful old colonial style hotel that was build as a hunting lodge by a German in 1914. They allocated a spotless clean toilet and hot water shower to us, which was a luxury after the unkept ablutions of the Serengeti and Crater.

From Tabora we drove west to Kigoma through forest reserves with less villages on the road. The tarred road has not been completed all the way and we had 50 km of tar, then 50 km of gravel, then another 50 km of tar, etc and lots of heavy rain on the road. Another 9 hours for a distance of 350 km.

Cattle herds

Jakobsen’s Beach is just south of Kigoma on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. It is owned by Norwegians and has private beaches on the lake just below the campsite and the chalets. Here again the setting is magical, the water is crystal clear and we really enjoyed a swim in the lake. We spent 3 nights here with the objective to also visit Gombe National Park and observe the chimpanzees during the last day of our visit.

Jakobsen’s beach

Jakobsen’s beach

Jakobsen’s beach

Vervet monkeys on the beach

Where we are now…

Next: the chimps at Gombe National Park

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