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Top 10 Mbeya attractions

A trip to the Mbeya wouldn’t be complete without seeing the top attractions. Plan ahead so you don’t miss out on these top things to do in Mbeya.

Mbeya transfers to Matema Beach
MATEMA BEACH

Enjoy Return Trip to Matema Beach for: $250/vehicle

MBEYA COOKINNG CLASSES FROM: $20 /Person

Matema beach, at the northern end of the lake, in Kyela district, Mbeya region, is suitable for sunbathing with its soft sands and is renowned for the traditional pottery of the Wakisi community. The Uporoto, Kipengere and livingstone mountain ranges and the rift valley are the other attractions found in Mbeya region. The 20 – tonne nickel iron meteorite in mbozi area and Kalambo falls near the Zambia – Tanzania border are source of tourist attractions. Usangu valley game reserve is famous for its wildlife and has been one of the best hunting safari areas in Tanzania.

Chimala and matamba escarpments, where the road winds down 52 bends, is a major man – made attraction in Mbeya. The road snakes through nine kilometers of escarpment with many waterfalls and breath taking natural scenery.

The daraja la Mungu (Bridge of God) at Kiwira is another marvel. The natural stone bridge on the river kiwira is believed to have been formed 18 million years ago. Thre kilometers up the deep gorge from the Bridge of God, is the mysterious and awe-inspiring Kijungu (pot). This natural formation looks like a huge African cooking pot into which the kiwira river pours its waters.

List of the top 10 places to visit in Mbeya

Lake Ngonzi is a beautiful crater lake found in the Mbeya region of Tanzania; 38km from Mbeya city. 

Much like the Ngorongoro Crater, the surrounding area was created by explosive volcanic activity which makes Lake Ngozi a ‘crater lake’; in fact it is the second largest crater lake in Africa spanning over 2.5km in length, 1.6km in width, and roughly 75m deep (although estimates vary wildly from 50m to 300m) . 

It is part of the Poroto Ridge which is a section of the larger caldera rim’s highest point (2620m), a Caldera being the imploded remains of a volcano which has collapsed in upon itself. Ngozi is said to have been created 12000 years ago during a Plinian eruption (an eruption which ejects a large amount of pumice with very powerful continuous gas explosions).

 

day trips from Mbeya

Just northwest of Mbeya is Mbeya Peak (2820m). It’s the highest point in the Mbeya Range and makes an enjoyable day hike, best done by arranging a local guide through your hotel or a Mbeya travel agency.

There are several possible routes. One goes from Mbalizi junction, 12km west of town on the Tunduma road. Take a dalla-dalla to Mbalizi, get out at the sign for Utengule Coffee Lodge, head right and follow the dirt road for 1km to a sign for St Mary’s Seminary. 

Turn right here and follow the road up past the seminary to Lunji Farm and then on to the peak. With a vehicle, you can park at Lunji Farm and continue on foot. Allow five hours for the return trip, and only climb accompanied by a guide, which you can arrange at Mbeya travel agencies or through most hotels.

About 65km southwest of Mbeya is the Mbozi meteorite, one of the largest meteorites in the world. Weighing an estimated 25 metric tonnes, it’s around 3m long and 1m tall. Scientists are unsure when it hit the earth, but it is assumed to have been many thousands of years ago, since there are no traces of the crater that it must have made when it fell, nor any local legends regarding its origins.

Although the site was only discovered by outsiders in 1930, it had been known to locals for centuries, but not reported because of various associated taboos. Like most meteorites, the one at Mbozi is composed primarily of iron (90%), with about 8% nickel and traces of phosphorous and other elements. It was declared a protected monument by the government in 1967 and is now under the jurisdiction of the Department of Antiquities. The meteorite’s dark colour is due to its high iron content, while its burnished look comes from the melting and other heating that occurred as the meteorite hurtled through the atmosphere towards earth.

To reach the site you’ll need your own vehicle. From Mbeya, follow the main road towards Tunduma. About 50km from Mbeya there’s a signposted turn-off to the left. From here, it’s 13km further down a dirt road (no public transport). During the wet season, you’ll need a 4WD. Otherwise, a 2WD can get through without difficulty, except perhaps for a tiny stream about 2km before the meteorite.

South of Ngozi Peak and west of the main road, this natural bridge 22km west of Tukuyu is estimated to have been formed around 1800 million years ago by water flowing through cooling lava that spewed out from the nearby Rungwe volcano. The bridge spans a small waterfall.

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