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Songwe Travel Guide | Songwe Safari tours

Songwe Travel Guide | Songwe Safari tours

Songwe is a Tanzanian region formed from the westernmost half of the Mbeya Region on January the 29th, 2016. Vwawa serves as the region’s capital. To the south, the Songwe Province borders Malawi and Zambia, with Tunduma serving as the primary point of entry into Zambia and Isongole serving as the vital point of entry into Malawi. Songwe is also bordered to the west by Katavi and Rukwa, on the northern front by Tabora, and on the eastern front by Mbeya. Lake Rukwa is a significant stretch of water in the region’s western part. The area is intersected by the Eastern African Rift Valley as well as the Southern Highlands.

Likewise southern highland regions, Songwe is placed at 7o and 9o 36’ latitudes south of equator and 32o and 33o 41’ east of Greenwich meridian. On the south it is bordering Malawi and Zambia, Rukwa and Katavi regions on the west, Tabora on the North and Mbeya region on the east. Lake Rukwa in the west is the large water body in the region. Tunduma makes gateway to Zambia and other southern and central African countries while Isongole makes a gateway to Malawi.

Best Safari tours from Rukwa

Often overlooked by many safari operators in favour of the northern parks, the southern parks of Nyerere National Park (formerly the Selous Game Reserve) and Ruaha National Park are worth serious consideration and are the preferred destination for most who are really keen on their safari. 

The benefits of heading to the south is that, where the very north of the Serengeti gives the numbers of game, along with some seclusion, the southern parks are still very much “frontier” parks and so are noticeably less busy (they also feature the same spread of species as the north, but more like a thousand, rather than 2 million). 

The second important point is that, where the average lodge cost in the north is around $700 per person per night, the lodges in the south, where they offer a similar experience, are around $2-300 less.

Selous walking Safari
BEST SAFARI TOURS IN SELOUS
Best safari tours from Iringa
BEST SAFARI TOURS IN RUAHA
BEST SAFARI TOURS IN SAADANI
BEST SAFARI TOURS IN MIKUMI
6 Days flying Safari Southern Tanzania
NORTHERN TANZANIA FLYING SAFARI
Western Tanzania flying Safari
SOUTHERN TANZANIA FLYING SAFARI
The south and west of Tanzania are often overshadowed by the more famous and iconic Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater in the north.  Some agents feel that the south and west are better suited to the seasoned safari-goer and don’t recommend them for a first timer  –  however we would disagree! We have sent thousands of first timers to southern Tanzania where they have had an excellent safari experience.

Songwe Travel Guide

To the south, the Songwe Province borders Malawi and Zambia, with Tunduma serving as the primary point of entry into Zambia and Isongole serving as the vital point of entry into Malawi. 

Songwe is also bordered to the west by Katavi and Rukwa, on the northern front by Tabora, and on the eastern front by Mbeya. Lake Rukwa is a significant stretch of water in the region’s western part. The area is intersected by the Eastern African Rift Valley as well as the Southern Highlands.

Additionally, within the same border between Malawi and the region of Songwe in Tanzania, there is an existence of the popular Songwe river.

Omary Tebweta Mgumba, the administrator of Songwe District, was appointed on May the 15th, 2021.

Songwe Districts

The city of Tunduma and the regions of Mbozi, Ileje, Songwe and Momba, make up the Songwe Region. Tunduma is partitioned into fifteen wards and 71 streets [mitaa], while the 4 districts are partitioned into eleven divisions, 79 wards, 307 rural areas, and 1493 hamlets.

                            Districts Of Songwe as Of 2016
DistrictPopulation. (2012 Census)
Songwe District133,692
Momba District294,380
Mbozi Songwe District446,339
Ileje District124,451
Total998,772
Mbozi District Mission Hospital
Mbozi District Mission Hospital

In the census of 2012, the local gov’t areas that presently make up the Songwe Region recorded a total population of 998,862, with 46 per cent of the people under the age of 15. In the census of 2002 in Tanzanian, the same territories had a population of 723,480, indicating a 3.2 per cent yearly rate of population growth between 2002 to 2012. In 2017, the region’s population was estimated to be 1,173,667 people. In 2012, 211,537 individuals lived in the cities, accounting for 21.2 % of the district’s population, a 250.4 per cent increase over the 60,377 people who lived in the urban city in 2002. The Nyiha, Manda, Bungu, Ndali, Lambya, and Nyamwanga are among the region’s main ethnic groups. Nyiha is the predominant indigenous racial group in Mbozi district, Manda and Bungu in Songwe, Lambya and Ndali in Ileje. At the same time, Nyamwanga is the indigenous ethnic group in the Momba district. The Nyihas are the region’s most populous ethnic group, with a total expected population of about 450,000 by 2017.

Agriculture, fishing and animal husbandry are the primary economic activities in the region of Songwe. 

Paddy rice, sesame, beans, maize, sunflowers, coffee, and sorghum are among the crops cultivated. Wandali, Wabungu, and Wanyiha, are among the locals, as are Walambya and Wandamwanga.

Pastoralism is practiced by the Sukuma and Maasai people in the region. In 2016, the region’s gross domestic output was predicted to be 1888.3 bn Tanzanian shillings.

In the southern portion of the Songwe Region, both the TAZARA Railway and the Tanzam Highway pass between Tunduma and Vwawa. The Tanzania-Zambia Highway is known as Tanzam, and the Tanzania & Zambia Railway Authority is known as TAZARA. TAZARA was built in 1975 with the support of the Chinese government to facilitate the transit of people and heavy products between the two nations.

The distance from Dar es salaam to Songwe border is about is about 753 kilometers, but the actual distance by road is 823.5 kilometers.

Songwe Airport

The Songwe international airport which is formally referred in flight tickets as Mbeya Songwe airport, is an airport that is situated in the Mbeya region, southern highlands.

Among the tourist attractions found in the Songwe region is the Songwe Hot springs set amid the Travertine Mining.

The hot spring water is at a boiling temperature of 74 °C

Several activities can be done by tourists using the water like boiling eggs/ potatoes which takes around 20–45 minutes to cook.

From the Songwe hot spring, you get spectacular views of beautiful scenery such as the hills, Mountains, the Great Rift Valley and you get a great view of the Songwe River.

Mbeya (Songwe) Bat Caves
The bat caves are approximately 30kms from Mbeya and extend deep into the limestone rocks – bring a torch. Seasonal bat colonies, incorporating six different bat species can be seen streaming out of the cave at dusk. There are also several natural hot springs lower down the valley and several lime kilns dotted around the area.

Mbozi MeteoriteMbozi Meteorite
Located 65 kms South East of Mbeya, towards the Zambian border. It is the seventh largest meteorite in the world and weight approx 15 tonnes.

Kiwira natural bridge and Kijungu waterfalls
The “Bridge of God” (Daraja la Mungu) is just outside the town of Tukuyu, South of Mbeya. Nearby is the Kijungu waterfall.

Other attractions
Other attractions include Kaporogwe falls, the World’s End viewpoint looking out across the Usungu Flats, Loleza Peak, the market village of Masoko. The quite wilderness areas around Lake Rukwa to the North (the largest lake to lie entirely within Tanzania’s borders) have large concentrations of hippo, crocodile and bird life.