Cultural Tours: Developmental Projects in Tanzanian Villages
This is your chance to explore the traditional way of living in the rural areas and, at the same time, contribute to different developmental projects in each area. The cultural tours can offer you several adventures, among the options are visits to local medicine men, cheese factories, joining a camel safari, trekking various mountains, visiting tribes, and exploring the rituals of the Maasai. Accommodation is simple, but clean; some villages have their own guest houses and can offer you traditional Tanzanian dishes at a very reasonable price. In places with no guesthouses, you will set up camp and overnight on the ground in a tent.A fixed percentage of the income from these tours will go directly to the villages, helping the local people build cattle dips, schools, and other projects needed. Small gifts are appreciated, as well as donations to the various projects. As a visitor, you can see with your own eyes where the money goes, and you are also offered to take a look in the accounting books to see what each shilling has been used for.Tour Options: Mwanza-The Rock City, Longido, Mto wa Mbu, Mulala, Engaruka, Mkuru, Ilkiding’a, Pangani, Mbeya, Babati, Kisangara, Mamba Marangu, Ng’iresi, Pare Mountains (south), Pare Mountains (north), Usambara, Machame.Mwanza is located in the extreme northern part of Tanzania mainland dominated by Africa’s largest lake, Lake Victoria. Geographically, Mwanza lies between latitudes 1o 30’ and 3 o 0’ south of Equator. The location ensures a fresh breeze, a friendly humidity, and a nice temperature throughout the year. The town looks onto the lake, which includes dramatic views of the Bismarck Rock, a massive outcrop of granite rocks. Mwanza is an important crossroad of the region with a railroad connecting Tabora, Dodoma, and Dar es Salaam, a busy port with ferries to Ukerewe Island, Kamanga, Bukoba, and Port Bell in Uganda.Lake Victoria is nearly 69,000 square kiometers, Africa’s largest tropical lake and the second largest fresh water lake in the world; it is also the source of the great Nile River. Mwanza is the place where sir Richard Francis Burton and John Speke traveled in the eighteenth century to discover the source of river Nile. Mwanza is a land of unparalleled diversity of scenery, fauna, flora, minerals, historical, and many natural features. The infrastructure has been improved recently, making the city and its places easily accessible. Roads to and from Mwanza are all tarmac. The Mwanza Airport has been upgraded to international standards. Also from Mwanza you can sail to the neighbor island of Ukerewe, where you find an oasis for relaxation with the beautiful view of Nansio Lagoon.Mwanza is full of cultural tourist attractions, as well as historical sites and museums. When you are in Mwanza, you can’t talk about cultural tourism without mentioning Bujora Museum Center; this is the Sukuma museum found in Kisesa area where all history about the Sukuma tribe is provided; the tribe is said to be the largest in Tanzania. At Bujora Center, there is an enormous church built in 1952 where local people are taught Catholic Liturgy to date. This church was designed by cultural Arctic’s and attracts every visitor who comes to explore this majesty of the Sukumaland.Beyond the city, there is Kageye historical site founded in the 1800s. This village is part of Sukuma Kingdom. Sukuma land comprised of 52 separate and independent kingdoms (chiefdoms) among which one of the smallest is this one. Kageye is one of the oldest historical sites in Tanzania. Kageye deserves a distinction of possessing a monument of the memory of those unfortunate and innocent victims of slave trade. At this very place is where they were enchained for the long and terrible journey to the cost of about 720 miles(1,200 kilometers) which separate Kageye and Bagamoyo. At this historical site is where you can find grave yards of Frederick Barker, an explorer who died of dysentery on April 23, 1875. Jonh Smith, a missionary, died on May 11, 1877, together with other black men buried at Kageye. Other famous explorers passed by Kageye, like Dr. Fisher, a German who passed there in December of 1885 on his way from Buganda; also Dr. Junker, a Russian of Jewish descent from St. Petersburg, who had been exploring in Sudan and Egypt. If you are interested in the real history of past traders, missionaries, and explorers, Kageye is the ideal site to visit.In the direction of Serengeti, you won’t dare to miss the cultural experience at Utamaduni camp. Before or after Serengeti game drive, visit the Utamaduni camp that is situated 12 kiometers from the park entry gate of Ndabaka, towards Mwanza. This is the place where you can meet two giant histories namely, Lake Victoria and Sukumaland. Activities and programs provided here are fishermen village tour and history, canoeing tour by local boats and dhows, fishing program, traditional healer, Sukuma dance, fire dance, digging dance, snake dance, healing dance and songs, Sukuma history (lecture), picnic sites, and ecotour (primary school, livestock visit). All these activities are operated at Utamaduni camp. Come one, come all and you wont forget all about Sukuma culture.