Imagine paradise on earth; spending your holiday experiencing the broad breadth of a pure African lsland. I am talking about the rock city-Mwanza. The word emanated from a Swahili word mwanzo, which means the beginning.
It is surrounded by the second largest lake in the world, Lake Victoria. Built on the soil of the largest country in East Africa with a population of a whopping 43.9 million people and 120 tribes, Mwanza is the second most popular city in Tanzania with a population of 2.9 million.
From Kigali to Mwanza, the 712km road journey takes approximately nine hours and costs RWF 22,000 by public means. After leaving Rwanda at the Rwanda-Tanzania boarder in Rusumo, you enter breath-taking Tanzania. The mountainous topography is scattered with rocks and acacia trees. The rural centres of Tanzania are less populated and there are noticeable spaced homes and very large chunks of unproductive land; this is due to rural-urban migration. It is also important to note that Tanzania is a right-hand drive country with roads fairly smooth and wide.
Once you glide into Mwanza, a superb view of Lake Victoria awaits you if you use a Bukoba ferry. It is an experience like no other. The breeze slowly and gently brushes against you as you float on the water mass, watching the water wash the rocks clean. Through the Buhongwe route, everything changes. Swahili signposts greet you, billboards stand tall, and rhythms of Taarab songs rent the air. You can also feel the presence of the palm trees. The weather is different; sunny and hot with a white sand carpeted ground.
The erect city buildings are a thrill to see. Tourist hotels like Midland, Hillcrest and Springs are the perfect place to retire. The hotels are situated in the heart of the city – a breathtaking view. The food is mouth watering. Rice being their staple food is on most menus - you can sample their pilau or even ugali with tasty fried fish. Sharpening your appetite is necessary because the hospitality is of a very high class.
Inspired by Swahili architecture, Hotel Tilapia and Malakia are elegant and imposing. Their Swahili grilled chicken with lettuce and mashed potatoes will force you to go to bed to sleep off the effects of the meal.
The sun is up quite early - the cool bright morning offering you the chance to take a stroll. There is no better moment to enjoy your own company than when taking an early morning walk or jog along the beach.
From Mwanza it is easier to access the Serengeti National Park, which is a three-hour drive off the Mwanza-Sirare road and you can be part of history by witnessing the great immigration of the wildebeest in what is dubbed as the ninth wonder of the world. In a space of a few days 1.5 million wildebeests cross the Mara river.
So, if you want to feel like a toddler on their first day at school, the riveting trip to Mwanza will do. As you drive back you can’t help but think of the calm coast and its beautiful breeze that keeps you refreshed and relaxed.
Without a doubt, you will envy those who live there and be the envy of those who haven’t been there!