Let's travel to: Mwanza, Tanzania
Mwanza is one of the fastest growing cities in Tanzania, and boasts unparalleled sunsets and dazzling night skies. This city is only 2 hours away from the world renowned Serengeti National Park. Also, did you know that Freddie Mercury from ‘Queen’ was born in Tanzania?
Interesting Facts and Useful Information
Language: Swahili, English, and more than 500 regional dialects!
Currency: Mwanza uses the Tanzanian Shilling (TSh) as its major currency but accepts USD for large purchases. Always carry cash with you as most vendors and businesses do not accept debit or credit cards. 10,000 TSh is approximately $6 Canadian (as of June 2016).
Clothing: The culture is modest with clothing so respect local customs. It is advised to wear clothing that cover your shoulders, and wear bottoms that reach your knees.
Interesting Fact: Mwanza is known as the Rock City because the city sits on naturally-formed rocks. The local architecture creatively incorporates these boulders in its designs, giving this place a unique vibe.
Pro-Tip: Local vendors do not display any prices for their goods and will give you verbal quotes. Be sure to negotiate prices because as a foreigner or ‘mzungu,’ vendors will definitely try to earn extra income from you.
Things to Do and Sights to See:
Friday nights at the Gold Crest Hotel Rooftop Patio is Karaoke Night. It’s where a lot of the expats and locals gather and enjoy some drinks and food. The milkshakes at the Gold Crest are life-changing! Get to the hotel just as the sun is about to set, and you can see the entire city and the sun setting over the lake.
Mwanza has a vivacious informal sector, with local vendors displaying goods from fruits and vegetables, to second-hand clothing, to unique African arts and crafts. Each market is an experience of its own so go visit them all!
Locals define Bismarck Rock as the identifier of Mwanza. Enjoy some ice-cream from a vendor while facing its stunning view.
Ask a local to lead you up a 30-minute climb to reach Capripoint. The climb is steep, so make sure you wear proper footwear. Once you are at the top, you can enjoy the 180-degree view of the city on one side, and watch the sunset on the lake on the other side.
Places to Eat:
The Town Centre Pizzeria is an all vegetarian place with delicious handmade thin-crust pizzas! Get a large pizza for only 13,000TSh (~$8 CAD) and share between 2 people. You can also get a huge fruit platter with pineapple, watermelon, papaya, banana, and avocado for only 3,000TSh (~$2 CAD)!
The Royal Oven is home to the greatest chapatti and vegetable samosas EVER! Definitely give this local business a try.
Hotel Tilapia has the best Indian food in the city! Prices range from 19,000 TSh – 25,000 TSh (~$12-$15 CAD), and it’s worth every cent. Come here at night to see the moon emerge from behind the mountains. During the day, you can take a quick dip in the pool for 20,000 TSh (~$12 CAD).
Try Chips Mayai! This Tanzanian staple is an omelette with fries cooked in eggs. Venture to any local restaurant or food booth to get a taste. Hint: it’s amazing with chili sauce.
Drink Fanta!! Tanzania has so many unique Fanta flavours you can’t get in North America. My favourites so far are Fanta Blackcurrant and Fanta Pineapple!
List by: Iris Wu
Iris is currently working in Tanzania for 3 months to establish a community-led probiotic yogurt kitchen. Despite her extreme fear of flying, she is still a travel and adventure junkie. Keep up with her on Instagram at @iriswu61 as she fills the pages on her passport with a student budget.