Kigoma is a city in Tanzania. Beautifully situated on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. Capital of the Western Region. Main railway terminus on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. Important harbour. Population of 130,142 (2002).
The city has little infrastructure. Its roads are still mostly unpaved, electricity and water supply are erratic.
The small Kigoma Airport is in the eastern suburbs and has services from Dar es Salaam and Mwanza, organization at the airport is very simple.
Air Tanzania had daily flights from Kigoma to Dar es Salaam. It took about 3 hours. Costs were around USD290 if booked early. It seems Precision Air has begun servicing the route (Monday, Wednesday, Friday), when Air Tanzania stopped their services by cancelling their flight on 6 October 2014. Always confirm you flight at least one day before it should go.
Airport transfer to Kigoma railway station (city center) should cost no more than TZS10,000 (Oct 2014).
Tanzania Railway offers a train connection from Dar es Salaam via Dodoma and Tabora to Kigoma, the journey takes two nights from Dar es Salaam (40-48 hours) and one night from cities further inland. Three classes are available. If you are going over night a first class ticket is definitely recommend. You get a two person compartment which you can normally lock (if lock is not broken and the keys are available). The condition of the compartments is not too good, though they haven't been maintained for a long time. Price per person: TZS75,700 first class (May 2016). Local food and drinks for a cheap price are also available in train or at one of the several stops.
Kigoma is at the end of road B381, leaving the national road B8 at Kasulu. Roads are passable and steadily being improved. Traversing the country takes 3-4 days.
The ancient MV Liemba, built in 1913 by Germans, still plays up and down Lake Tanganyika between Kigoma and Mpulungu on the southern shores of the lake in Zambia, stopping at several cities along the coast. There are both first, second and third class onboard. (For more information see "Get out")
Use Bajajis (Tuk-Tuks) or Piki Pikis (motorbike taxi) . Within the city limits do not pay more than TZS1,000.
A Piki Piki from the train station to Jacobsen's Beach costs TZS3,000.
If you're going to Kibirizi a Piki Piki costs TZS2,000 if you're starting at the train station or at the market.
An alternative are the Dalla Dallas (minibuses, normaly very crowded). At the Dalla Dalla stand directly at the train station you can find Dalla Dallas going to Ujiji, Kartonga (in direction to Jacobsen's Beach), Kibirizi and some more places. They are usually cheaper than Piki Pikis or Bajajis but not that fast.
- Ujiji, the nearby former Arab slave trading settlement, the famous meeting place of Stanley and Livingstone. The Livingston Memorial is a small exhibition but worth a visit once you're in Kigoma. Price for Residents TZS10,000 ; Price for non-residents TZS20,000.
- Gombe National Park for chimpanzee viewing
- Gombe National Park - Chimp Viewing. The permit is $100 for 24 hour. If you get their around 12 pm, you can do an afternoon trek and then next morning, a morning trek. Public taxi from Kigoma to Gombe National Park takes 4 hours, costs $3.50 each way. Private taxi for three people is $150 round trip, and $250 for a bigger boat for more than three people, takes about 2 hour each way. Private taxi can get you back in one day.
- The market in the center of town is small and not too vibrant (perhaps it's because it is the low season?)
- Swim in the lake - super warm and clear jade color water
- Mahale Mountains National Park - Chimpanzee trekking and a most secluded getaway.
- Sun City, (On Lumumba Rd, close to the CRDB bank). Small tanzanian restaurant. Offers typical tanzanian food (Pilau, Chicken, Chips, Soups, Beans). Breakfast (Chai) is also available (Chai tea, Chapatti, Mandasi, Omelett). Staff is very friendly and fast. They speak a little bit english, enough that you can order and pay. edit
- Kigoma catering, food and supplies, (On Lumumba Rd, 200m behind the market if you're looking from the train station). Tanzanian restaurant. Offers typical tanzanian food (Chicken, Chips, Soups, Rice dishes, Ugali dishes). Breakfast (Chai) is also available (Chai tea, Chapatti, Mandasi, Omelett, etc.). A dilivery service ist available. You need to pay via Mpesa. For menu card and more information about the delivery contact the staff. The staff is speaking english. edit
- Sonza wileme shop, (On Lumumba Rd, Opposite of the Train station, directly at the Dalla Dalla Station). A small shop that offers some cake and nice mandasi, but their main focus is on drinks. They serve very good fresh juice (for example pineapple passion juice or sugar can juice) and milk drinks. The "bar tender" is very friendly and can speak a bit english. edit
- You can find several stands with local food. Take care that they cook everything well done, than it's very delicious and you don't have stomach problems afterwards.
- Bangwe Beach, (between Lake Tanganyika Hotel and Kigoma Hilltop Hotel). Nice "Beach Club" directly ant the Lake Tanganyika, you can swim and enjoy the great view to Kibirizi. Some lokal food and drinks for a small price are available (Chips Maiai TZS2,000, beer TZS2,000). There is also a dance floor and a pool billard table. It's open the whole day. You will meet mainly local people here. edit
- Sandra Bar & Restaurant, (close to the train station in direction to Tanganyika). Small "Club" with a dance floor, pool billard and a bar. During the day they serve local food. edit
- Sonza wileme shop, (On Lumumba Rd, Opposite of the Train station, directly at the Dalla Dalla Station). A small shop that offers very good fresh juice (for example pineapple passion juice or sugar can juice) and milk drinks. You can also get some cake and nice mandasi there. The "bar tender" is very friendly and can speak a bit english. edit
- St. Martha Nzimano, (On Kiezya Rd), (hamenyande`at´yahoo.com), . GPS coordinates: -4,873570, 29,631475. Basic clean accomodation with good value for the money. Run by the diocese of Kigoma Community Centre. Currently closed for renovation (Oct 2014), check via mail before getting there. Double room from TZS 25,000.. (-4,873570,29,631475) edit
- Lake Tanganyika Hotel, (Just off Stanley Rd), ☎ +255-282803052 ([email protected], fax: +255-282803051), . A new (opened in 2000) and modern hotel on the shore of Lake Tanganyika at the southern outskirts of Kigoma. Clean, comfortable with a bar that serves simple but good food (all meals are priced at TZS18,000). The Spaghetti Bolognese are the best option. The bar lacks Tonic Water and Bitter Lemon. If you ask nicely you can bring your own softdrinks and mix with their alcohol. Also they did not have ice cubes nor offer cocktails. Double room around USD80. edit
- Jakobsen Beach & Guesthouse ([email protected]), Kigoma (past Katonga fishing village), . For peace and quiet. It's located in a nice bay. Zebras and Vervet Monkeys are often arround. Different accomodation are available: Cottages, big safari tents with bed, normal tents and a campsite if you bring your own tent. Self-catering, at the reception you can buy some basic ingredients like Pasta, some cans, spices, etc. About 6km from Kigoma (15 minutes). $20. edit
- A guest house close to Air Tanzania's main office. Spacious and clean. Single room is $10. There's a restaurant next door with good food. A meal is about $3
The MV Liemba sails in direction Mpulungu (Zambia) and has a very erratic schedule. It usually leaves every second Wednesday. Non-residents have to pay in Dollar. The trip to Mpulungu (max. distance) costs 105$. Tickets can be bought at the harbour (north of the Lake Tanganyika Hotel). The ticketing office opens on Monday before departure (May 2016).
Buses go as far as Bukoba (about 20 hours) although for points south such as Mpanda and Sumbawanga you must change in Kasulu, at least in the rainy season.
The booking office for Adventure Busses, a company that run coaches, can be found on the Lumumba Rd 400m above the market on the right side of the road.