Mtwara City | Mtwara Region
Mtwara is the capital city of Mtwara Region in southeastern Tanzania. In the 1940s, it was planned and constructed as the export facility for the disastrous Tanganyika groundnut scheme, but was deserted when the scheme was abandoned in 1951. As a result, the city is spread out over a large area planned to accommodate up to 200,000 people. The present population is around 80,000.
As part of the development associated with the failed Tanganyika groundnut scheme, Mtwara features a deep-water port that can accommodate ocean-going vessels, and a range of large municipal buildings, including a post office. Mtwara has reasonable transport links considering its remoteness in southern Tanzania. It is linked by paved roads with Lindi to the north and by partially paved roads to Masasi and Newala in-land to the west, where the newly completed Unity Bridge provides a crossing point to Mozambique.
The A19 links it with Mbamba Bay on Lake Malawi in the west. It features an airport with a paved runway that can accommodate small passenger jets. Precision Air run daily flights between Mtwara and Dar es Salaam. The flight time is around an hour. Building work is almost complete to provide Mtwara with a continuous paved road link with Dar es Salaam via Lindi and Kilwa, utilizing a new permanent road bridge across the Rufiji River. Mtwara serves as the access point for a growing tourism industry based in nearby Mikindani.
Mtwara might be the port for the export of iron ore and coal. There are plans to build a railway linking Mtwara with Lindi and mines at Mchuchuma and Liganga via Songea. There are a number of clubs and bars in Mtwara, playing a range of music from bongo flava to western pop. The Bandari Club near the Cathedral has been a popular destination for locals and visitors to Mtwara for a number of years.