If I were to be honest, I had never really considered Lake Tanganyika to ever be on my travel bucket list, that is until a Filipino celebrity I follow shared her visit to this remote destination. In short, the place is gorgeous, it still maintains that untouched feel that’s all the hype and has a lot to offer visitors. Lake Tanganyika one of the Great African Lakes, is located on the Western edge of Tanzania, shared by other East African countries and carries the title of the world’s deepest freshwater lake. A visit to this warm and balmy area will expose you to two aspects: the lake itself and the deep Chimpanzee residing mountain forest.
A stay at the lake will make you forget that you’re in the middle of land as the long sandy beaches; dazzling blue waters are reminiscent of the ocean. Here people can enjoy water activities such as fishing, relaxing dhow cruises, snorkeling; the water being home to an astounding variety of fish, 98% endemic to the lake, kayaking or simply sunbathing on the beach. After frolicking in the lake you can hit the surrounding Mahale National park and pay a visit to the most prominent residents of the area, the Chimpanzees. Nature at its purest form, that’s what I envision on Lake Tanganyika, a visit there will not be forgotten.
When thinking of Swahili coastal regions Zanzibar and Bagamoyo get all the hype but there is a small town a little south of the Tanzanian coast, known as Kilwa, a town with just as much to offer. The great traveler Ibn Battuta, when setting foot in Kilwa in the 14th century, wrote that it was one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and this is a man who had seen some of the greatest. The Islamisation of the African coasts, the Portuguese adventure of the route to India, the Oman sultanate and the proximity to Zanzibar. Once the hub of trade in the East African coast, everything here is History. Visit the islands of Kilwa kisiwani and Songo mnara which have been named UNESCO world heritage sites and relieve the 14th century Kilwa in its ancient palaces, mosques, sultan burial sites and fortresses. Explore natural caves and tour places of local legends and sacred ritual sites of great importance to the people.
Enjoy canoe lake excursions where Hippos, Crocodiles, wild flocks of birds and other animal species can be seen. On dry seasons you may even spot Elephants and Warthogs as they gather to drink. Revel in nature where forest, the mangroves, sea, and rivers form a patchwork of landscape creating a complete ecosystem home to birds and butterflies.
Rest in the local villages and enjoy fresh mangoes or cashews after an authentic Swahili meal prepared by the locals, watch the fisherman at work on Dhows as you relax on white sandy beaches and enjoy the beauty of the Indian Ocean. Kilwa’s place of importance has long been gone but what remains is a rich Swahili spirit which echoes in its architecture, history and most importantly it’s people.