Kigoma town: coastal city on Lake Tanganyika with legacies from the German colonial era

Facts Kigoma town:

  • Regional capital of Western Tanzania and port city on Lake Tanganyika
  • Approximately 215,000 inhabitants
  • Final stop of the Tanganyika Railway from German colonial times


Getting here from Arusha: 

  • 1,067 km = 2 days by safari car or bus
  • Alternatively by plane via Dar Es Salaam (approx. 7-13 hours, depending on transfer time) or by charter flight (4 hours)

Kigoma town is located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika and is the starting point for your visit to Gombe, Mahale Mountains or Katavi National Park. The city of 200,000 inhabitants is also the terminus of the 1,252 km long Tanganyika Railway, which was built during the colonial era in German East Africa between 1905 and 1914. You can still travel from Dar es Salaam to Kigoma town in its original form in around 40 hours – but you shouldn’t have any fixed connection plans, if you know what we mean. :-) The motor ship Liemba, built in Germany in 1913, also operated on Lake Tanganyika between Kigoma and Mpulungu until 2017 in a condition that has hardly changed since it was built. It is currently docked in Kigoma town for maintenance work. In the town, you can watch fishermen bring home their catch or visit the Emperor’s House. Not far away you will also find the Livingstone Museum, which is located in Ujiji, the place where Dr. David Livingstone met Henry Morton Stanley in 1871. There are also beautiful accommodations where you can stay to swim and relax.