High on a cliff overlooking the valley of the small Ruaha River, Iringa – once built by the Germans as a bastion against the local Hehe people – is now a nice base for the southern parks of Tanzania and in particular the Ruaha National Park, the famous Isimila stone age site and the Igeleke rock drawings.
Iringa town is a cool refuge at 1,600 meters above sea level, stretching along the ridges and valleys of the Udzungwa Mountains.
Iringa at Glance
Iringa is a pleasant small town in the southern highlands, with a focus on regional agriculture.The streets are quiet and peaceful, and the market offers a colorful scene of traditional African culture. A popular stopping point for visitors to Ruaha National Park.
Iringa Stretched long the Hilltop of the Hudzungwa Mountains overlooking the Little Ruaha river to the South, and extends further along ridges and values to the North. The area surrounding the town is more than 1600 Meters above the sea Level.
Where does Iringa fit into your Tanzanian adventure?
Iringa Town is not only a base for the southern parks, but also offers fun activities in the field of: culture, history and nature. In Iringa Tanzania itself there are no wild animals, just the usual pets and birds.
In the nearby Ruaha National Park you can enjoy the buffalo, elephants, lions, leopards along the rivers (Ruaha, Mwagusi Sand and Mdonya) and antelopes.
To get a good impression of the town, its surroundings and the sights, a city tour is definitely recommended. Due to the German rule, there are also many interesting buildings that remind you of Germany.
How do you Get to Iringa?
Nduli/Iringa Airport serves the Iringa region and is located about 15-20 minutes north of downtown. Auric Air is the sole carrier at the airport, operating twice daily flights to and from Dar es Salaam. They have an office in Iringa, close to the Clocktower Roundabout. Reservations are accepted online, via email, or in person at the office.
Iringa is located on the Tanzam highway and is an important stop for many intercity buses. There are two bus stations. The main bus station is opposite the sokoni (market). Buses to/from Dodoma and the north stop here, as well as buses with their final destination as Iringa.
The second bus station, at Ipogolo, is located just off the Tanzam highway, at the bottom of the hill up to Iringa City. Buses traveling to/from Mbeya and the south/west will typically stop here.
Traveling in a group? Air travel too expensive? Want to avoid a crowded bus? This may be the best option for you.
Renting a car with a driver can be surprisingly affordable in Iringa. See our rental car page for more information.
There are plenty of taxis in town. Many can often be found around Posta (Post Office). If you have a specific taxi need, we recommend Amani. He’s a great driver, won’t rip you off, and can arrange any size of taxi.
Motorcycle taxis are everywhere in Iringa. You’ll often find several of them at major intersections. Be careful–these can be a dangerous form of transport and accidents do happen. They’re also the most affordable, however, typically costing between 1-2,000 Tsh for transport within Iringa.
A step up from the bodaboda, but still cheaper than a taxi. Bijajis are known as tuk-tuks in other parts of the world. These small vehicles are great for getting around Iringa affordably. Expect to pay between 3-8,000 Tsh for a Bajaji ride.
Running on designated routes (as shown on the front of each dala dala), these are the quintessential method of transport around Iringa. Typically costing between 400-800 Tsh, be prepared for a cozy, but affordable ride to your destination. Most dala-dala routes in Iringa start and end at the Soko/Kuu bus stand just below Shooters in the market.
Things to do
A great place to buy souvenirs that are made by teen mothers and other vulnerable populations. Located in the grounds of Sabasaba.
Located in the very heart of the Hehe people, the village of Kalenga, this museum tells the story of one of the only chiefs to stand up to colonizers and win.
Take a tour of this center to see exactly how much disabled Tanzanians can accomplish.
A combination of 300,000-year-old stone tools and amazing natural pillars makes this a perfect weekend hike.
This is a must-do in Iringa. The rock is in the Gangilonga neighborhood and is a quick 30-minute walk from downtown. There is a guard at the rock who will collect an entrance fee. This fee depends on your proficiency with Swahili, but should be somewhere between 2 and 10 thousand shillings per person. The view of Iringa from the top is amazing. See the map on the home page of this site for directions.
No trip to Iringa is complete without visiting these ancient rock paintings. See the map on the home page of this site for directions.
See graves of British and South African troops from WW1 along with expatriate graves from the years since.
As the second largest national park in all of Africa, this is a must-see. Safaris can easily be arranged in Iringa. Check out our Safari page for more information!
Your tour guide will meet you at your lodgings in Iringa. If you’re staying on the outskirts of town, you might hop on a dala-dala to get to the center. Once in the center, your guide will escort you through the town, showing you the important sites of this former German colonial town. Your tour will end at the historic Iringa Boma Museum, which is stocked with artifacts steeped in the history of Iringa.
*can be combined with Market tour
Interested in experiencing the soko (market) through the eyes of a local? Walk through the beating heart of Iringa, taking in the sights and sounds of a bustling market. Your tour guide will show you the hidden corners, helping you to understand the economic powerhouse of Iringa town.
*can be combined with the Historic Walking Tour
A local viewpoint that provides a commanding view of the town, Gangilonga Rock is an important landmark for the Hehe people. Your tour guide will escort you up the trail to Gangilonga Rock, explaining the importance of the rock in Hehe folklore. After enjoying the view, he’ll return you to either the Greek Club for lunch, or the Sunset Hotel for dinner.
Note: Hike is moderately strenuous.
Explore pre-historic rock paintings just outside of Iringa. Your tour guide will escort you on a dala-dala (local minibus) to the rock paintaings, about 30 minutes from the center of Iringa. He’ll give you a sense of the history and lore surrounding the paintings. At the conclusion of the hike, your guide will escort you back to the center of Iringa.
A prominent leader in the Hehe tribe, Chief Mkwawa was instrumental in organizing Hehe resistance to German occupation in the 19th century. Just outside of Iringa, a museum preserves his memory. Your guide will pick you up from central Iringa and bring you to the museum, located in the small village of Kalenga, once the capital of the Hehe people. After touring the museum, your guide will return you to central Iringa.
Maasai jewelry is known for its colorful beaded patterns. Held at the local Maasai market, this activity will teach you how to make your own Maasai jewelry. Experienced Maasai artisans will guide you as you craft your own work, which will be yours to keep at the conclusion of the activity.
Curious about Tanzanian cuisine? Want to learn for yourself? In this seminar, you’ll learn the ins and outs of Tanzanian cooking. Led by experienced “mamas” (Tanzanian women), you’ll prepare your own delicious Tanzanian feast!
The Iringa Region is known around the world for it’s hand-woven baskets. Interested in how they’re made? Want to give it a try yourself? In this activity, you’ll have that chance. Your guide will take you to a small village on the outskirts of Iringa, where you’ll learn how to weave traditional baskets under the guidance of village women.
Places to eat in Iringa
Where to Stay Iringa?
Iringa hosts a number of the most beautiful hotels and resorts known to the world. For those seeking fine hotels and resorts, Iringa offers some of the best five-star accommodation in Tanzania.
Among the best hotels includes Gold Lodge Iringa, Igumbilo Hilltop Hotel, Iringa Lutheran Centre, Kalenga West Park and Tours Motel, Ngorongoro Lodge, Staff Inn Annex, Tamarinda Lodge, Wilolesi Hilltop, Zakinn Gangilonga among others.
Serengeti Trips offers Iringa hotel bookings and reservations. These include self-catering accommodations, lodgings to luxury lodges and hotels.
We also make reservations for Iringa budget camping, tented camps, guest houses, bed and breakfast, private homestays, resorts, restaurants to house rentals, and all-inclusive Apartments.