Mwanza Tanzania, Lake Zone Region – February 2000
Habari zenu (How are you all)? Vipi (Whats up)? Poa (Cool)!
The rain is slowing up here in Mwanza on Lake Victoria and the corn is soon to be picked. It has been a good season for harvest. It also means that vistors won’t be affected by the rain during their travels to Tanzania. All roads are open into the national parks, the train is running and the rain has kissed nature with awesome beauty.
Mungu amesaidia sisi (God has helped us).
I spend most of my time in the village away from crazy town life. My camp was set-up for visitors so that they have a chance to experience and learn about the peace of the village, its nature and people.
Karibu Tupo (you are welcome to join us).
You can choose to pitch a tent, stay in a hut or just stop by and we’ll cook you up some local food. Ugali, beans, meat and machi cha, or if you need something more familiar we’ll cook you some chips mayai (visitors would translate eggs mixed with french fries, onions, green peppers & tomatoes). If you arrive in Mwanza town you can hop on the Nyegezi Malimbe bus for 200Tsh (25¢). Get off at the last stop Nyegezi Sumba and trek out to Malimbe. Just ask the locals where Rasta Japhet’s camp is and they’ll help you out.
Don’t forget to stop and greet the people when you meet them before asking for what you want. It is our custom to spend this time in greetings. This is a custom that many visitors get frustrated with when they first arrive because they are used to going straight into business.
Remember you are visiting Tanzania to experience it, not to change it. “When in Tanzania do as the Tanzanians do.” After a while I think you will begin to see the beauty in our 5 minute greetings. Habari yako, Habari za nyumbani, Habari za familia na watoto…(how are you, how is your home, how is your family and your children…).
Shikamuu (I hold your feet in respect). If you meet an older person it is our custom to give them a sign of respect before you begin to speak with them. Every Tanzanian child knows not to address an elder before saying Shikamuu.
As you walk in the village of Tanzania people will Shikamuu you even though you are a foreigner. The proper reply is Marahaba (I acknowledge your respect).
If you need to get a hold of me or would like more information on safaris in Tanzania, visit my website UjamaaTravel.com
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Tanzania & Me
My name is Japhet Jackson and I own UjamaaCamp, a simple camp and my home on Lake Victoria in a small village named Nyegezi-Malimbe.
This village is primarily a Sukuma village but here in Tanzania we do not break things down by tribe. Each person is welcome anywhere and is able to communicate through the national language, Swahili.
National development was introduced by the late President Julius Nyerere or better known as “Mwalimu” (teacher) to his people. Tanzania is a peaceful country and one of the few countries in Africa that has never experienced a civil war.
Map of Tanzania
Map of Mwanza
Mwanza is located on Lake Victoria, the second largest lake in the world. Its name is simple in Swahili – Mwanza means Lake. The village I stay in, Nyegezi, is named after a Sukuma Chief.
However his name was Nyegeji not Nyegezi. The difference is due to Swahili versus Sukuma language.
Tshillings are used in Tanzania. Currently the exchange rate is 800Tsh to $1. You can exchange money in town at a few places. I use Serengeti Travel Bureau Exchange. You will receive a higher exchange rate for higher bills.
There are many local guest houses in town. Take your pick. The cost is about $10 a night and depends on how much you want to rough it. There are a few big hotels that cost from $35-$75 a night.
UjamaaCamp is the only camp outside of Mwanza and it is $10 per night. If you travel to Bujora you can also camp there. The Lonely Planet mentions the BlueSky camp but that has been closed for a while.
Cheap Eats/Dining Out
If you can live on ugali, beans and machi cha (local spinach) you can survive on about $12 per day. There are many of these local places. Roasted Meat & a beer at Four Ways will cost $5. If you plan on checking out the local pizza place Kuleana (supports street children) expect to spend $7 per meal and if you go to the high end hotels such as New Mwanza Hotel or Talapia, budget for Western prices.