There are daily buses going to and from Dar es Salaam. Several transport companies such as Green Star, Princess Muro and many more are one of the best and reliable choices. The journey takes about thirteen hours to reach Mwanza, the northern cultural and trading center. The unpaved road from Dar to Mwanza-Shinyanaga is under development by South African and Chinese road construction companies and has been completed. There are also buses to Bujumbura (Burundi), Kigali(Rwanda),Nairobi(Kenya)and Kampala(Uganda) on a daily basis.
There are daily trains to Dar es Salaam. These are often heavily booked up to 2-3 weeks in advance. But don't expect a comfortable journey by train as most of the time you will find the speed less than average.
To arrive from Uganda you can take a bus from Kampala to Bukoba (in Tanzania) and from Bukoba you can either take the ferry Monday, Wednesday or Friday evenings or the bus (several every day around 6-7 AM).
The ferry MS Victoria departs to the Tanzanian town [Bukoba) every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evening. Attention: As of February 2015 MS Victoria is suspended from service! The authorities require substantial safety improvements before MS Victoria will be allowed to carry passengers again. It remains unclear, when MS Victoria will resume service.
There is a ferry across the Mwanza gulf that leaves from the city (the Kamanga ferry) and another about 32km south of the city. The southern one is recommended for driving because the roads on the western terminal are rumored to be much better.
Daladalas (public "buses") are a good, cheap way to get from the city to the surrounding areas. Costing only 300tsh for a trip, they are crowded, slow, and thrilling sometimes. You may want to ask someone which one you need to take as there are no transit maps.
Taxis can be an option, although there aren't any official labels on them as there are in the capital. Use at your own risk.
Pikipikis are the little motorcycles that will take one or two people on as a fare. There are usually a few sitting at intersections. Again, use at your own risk.
The shores of Lake Victoria are interesting to walk along and popular with locals.
Climb to the top of Capri Point at the west end of Station Road for a nice view of the area.
In Ukewewe the Monarch Hotel (the room price ranges from 15,000 to 50,000Tsh per night) is where you want to stay. There are several guest houses, but most will not offer warm water. Ferries return at 7:30am and 1:30/2 pm to Mwanza from Ukerewe port. Tourism is not really developed on this island, but that will add to your experience. "Tour Organizers on Ukerewe Island" - book your trip to Ukerewe Island with "Nansio Cultural Tourism Enterprise" that operates as a set of products that involve different cultural and natural attractions, activities, and provision of services on Ukerewe Island. The enterprise founded and run by a local guide "Paschal Phares" who is also recommended by Lonely Planet. Get in touch with the enterprise by email or phone/whatsApp : [email protected] or +255 763 480 134.
Frozen and fresh Nile perch fish fillet boxes available near the airport is the great buy.
There are some excellent fabric markets on the north end of Rwagasore Road with patterns and designs that aren't available in Dar es Salaam or Zanzibar.
Walk through the market area between Lumumba and Pamba Roads for an intense taste of a bustling market.
Great Lake Victoria's fresh water Tilapia fish is a must eat food. A good number of fish industries exist. They export Nile perch fish fillet (sangara fish) to Europe and South Africa.
Street food and fresh produce. Oranges, bananas, pineapples, mangoes, avocados, cassava, roast maize, taro are all available on the street from vendors for anywhere from 100tsh to 1000tsh. Also available are mandazi, bagias, and other local fried breads in some areas. Vendors are usually walking around, so they may be harder to find.
Any local hotel and most restaurants serve beer and other drinks
You can start you safari adventure from here. Serengeti and other National parks like Rubondo Island in Lake Victoria. It's just two hours away from Mwanza thus the city is a good base to start a safari. If you start your safari from Mwanza you will enter Serengeti from the Western corridor at Ndabaka Gate. Good safari companies include:
Rubondo Island National park in Lake Victoria. Rubondo Island National Park. A pair of fish eagles guards the gentle bay, their distinctive black, white and chestnut feather pattern gleaming boldly in the morning sun. Suddenly, the birds toss back their heads in a piercing, evocative duet. On the sandbank below, a well-fed monster of a crocodile snaps to life, startled from its nap. It stampedes through the crunchy undergrowth, crashing into the water in front of the boat, invisible except for a pair of sentry-post eyes that peek menacingly above the surface to monitor our movements.
Rubondo Island with small islands Rubondo Island is tucked in the southwest corner of Lake Victoria, the world's second-largest lake, an inland sea sprawling between Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. With nine smaller islands under its wing, Rubondo protects precious fish breeding grounds.
Sport fishing Tasty tilapia form the staple diet of the yellow-spotted otters that frolic in the island’s rocky coves, while rapacious Nile perch, some weighing more than 100kg, tempt recreational game fishermen seeking world record catches. Rubondo is more than a water wonderland. Deserted sandy beaches nestle against a cloak of virgin forest, where dappled bushbuck move fleet yet silent through a maze of tamarinds, wild palms, and sycamore figs strung with a cage of trailing taproots.
Birds and Animals The shaggy-coated aquatic sitatunga, elsewhere the most elusive of antelopes, is remarkably easily observed, not only in the papyrus swamps it normally inhabits, but also in the forest interior. Birds are everywhere.
Flocks of African grey parrots – released onto the island after they were confiscated from illegal exporters – screech in comic discord as they flap furiously between the trees.
The azure brilliance of a malachite kingfisher perched low on the reeds competes with the glamorous, flowing tail of a paradise flycatcher as it flits through the lakeshore forest. Herons, storks and spoonbills proliferate in the swampy lake fringes, supplemented by thousands of Eurasian migrants during the northern winter.
Vegetations Wild jasmine, 40 different orchids and a smorgasbord of sweet, indefinable smells emanate from the forest.
Ninety percent of the park is humid forest; the remainder ranges from open grassland to lakeside papyrus beds.
A number of indigenous mammal species - hippo, vervet monkey, genet and mongoose - share their protected habitat with introduced species such as chimpanzee, black-and-white colobus, elephant and giraffe, all of which benefit from Rubondo's inaccessibility.
About Rubondo Island National Park Size: 457 sq km (176 sq miles). Location: Northwest Tanzania, 150 km (95 miles) west of Mwanza.
Getting there By either road from Mwanza and then boat transfer or scheduled flight form Mwanza airport.
When to go Dry season, June-August. Wildflowers and butterflies Wet season November-March. December- February best for migratory birds.
Accommodation Accommodation in the park includes one Luxury tented camp - owned by a private company. Self contained and self catering visitor bandas, a campsite and hostel which are owned by the park.
The park is ideal for: -Honeymooners -Bird watchers -Sport fishing -Hikers and -Boat racers -Company retreats
Fishing boat is available for hire.
Health There is a medical staff and a health centre in the park. There are snakes, some are poisonous some are not.