Book Flights to Mtwara

Visit  Mtwara, Tanzania

A little-known fishing village with a sunbaked atmosphere, Mtwara is a rarely visited beautiful coastal town in the southern part of Tanzania with unexplored diving options.

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Why Visit Mtwara?

  • The Historical Swahili Town: See over 50 ruined buildings lining the shores of the heart-shaped, Mikindani bay when you visit the old historical Swahili town. Access the excellent long sandy and unpopulated beaches, Mkonde and Rubondo plateaus as well as the Newala Game reserve. A walk around the town is interesting as it unfolds unexplored historical sites and places.
  • Makonde Carvings: Mtwara is home to the Makonde tribe famous for their wood carvings found in tourist, souvenir and art shops throughout the country. Buy yourself some high-quality arts and crafts as travel souvenirs.
  • The Plateaus: The Makonde and Rubondo plateau are popular rock forms in Mtwara. Home to the famous wood carvers, Makonde plateau, its carvings of masks, ornaments and village history are long-lasting and durable. Large, flat and close to the abrupt steep edge, the views from Rubondo plateau are truly stunning. If you are fit and up for a challenge, then this off the beaten track in Tanzania should excite you!
  • Unexplored Beaches: Mtwara is a laid-back town that sprawls over a large and quite unexplored area. Across the bay entrance of Shangani to Msangankuu peninsula are superb beaches with good snorkelling and diving. Beyond Shangani are the mangroves and coral flats with rock pools and diverse bird life. Mikindani Bay and Mnazi Bay Marine Park offer some of the most unexplored diving in the Western Indian Ocean.

Mtwara is the major town in south-eastern Tanzania and the capital of Mtwara Region with a population of about 80,000. The sprawling town is easily accessible, and it’s the resting point for people travelling between Songea and Dar es Salaam along the paved highway between Tunduru and Masasi.

  • Time zone: Africa/Dar es Salaam – UTC / GMT +3
  • Currency: Tanzanian shillings (TSh, often written as =/)
  • Language: The general language is Swahili
  • International dialling phone: +255
  • Driving: left-hand side of the road
  • Power Outlets: 220V-240V 50Hz. Plug types are ‘Type D & G (British)’
  • Closest Airports: Mtwara Airport
Best time to visit

From June to December is the best time to visit and enjoy snorkelling & diving in this coastal town. During this time of the year, you can enjoy a wide range of activities such as fishing, seeing traditional Makonde dancers, Mnazi Bay Marine Park trips, sailing on a traditional dhow, dugout canoe rental and Mikindani town historical tour.


Sights and sounds

Positioned on the dramatic stretch of coastline leading to neighbouring Mozambique and one of the more remote locations in the country, Mtwara is ideal for travellers keen to stay away from the crowds.

Activities & Trips

Possibly the best in Tanzania, Mtwara features excellent beaches perfect for diving. Enjoy world class diving in Mnazi Bay Marine Park.  See Lindi, the seldom visited coastal town located at the mouth of the Lukuledi River with good access to the plateaus of Mkonde and Rubondo. Take a day trip from Mtwara to visit the Makonde plateau, home of the Makonde tribe famous for wood carving. Get a souvenir and a real chance to see unspoilt Tanzanian Culture and traditional craftsmanship in action.

Food & Goods

If you do nothing else in this beautiful coastal town, you must go to the fish market. It is beautiful and Swahili Tanzania at its finest. Get your basic needs at the Makonde Mini Mart, a small but well-stocked supermarket. Pick up local goods from food and clothes to traditional medicines at the market near the bus stand.


Dining and Dietary Considerations

The town of Mtwara offers a good choice of bars and restaurants to drink and eat from. Traditional bars such as Magomeni on the airport road offer freshly cooked local food and cool drinks.

The Finn Club is where the expats hang out. Enjoy simple, delicious and generously portioned meals of grilled fish or chicken and chips, plus cold drinks at Drive-In Garden & Cliff Bar. Senir restaurant will spoil you with tasty Indian cuisine (plus some Chinese food) served inside or on a pleasant, shaded street side porch.

Sundowners can delight to tasty seafood grills, and other dishes, plus good coffees at Southern Cross Hotel. Himo 2 Restaurant serves mishikaki (marinated, grilled meat kebabs) and the best of local-style dining.


Religious and Cultural considerations

Although Mtwara is a Muslim centre, it is a city with varied religious beliefs. A good number of its population practices Christianity and Islam while the rest follow traditional beliefs centred on ancestor worship.

Swahili, English, and Arabic are the languages spoken in Mtwara.

Cost of Living


  1. The Mtwara Port is the third largest ocean port in Tanzania.
  2. Mtwara is one of the largest places in Tanzania.
  3. Mtwara was designed to be a major town and exporter of groundnuts.
  4. The town of Mtwara acts as a gateway into Southern Tanzania for tourism.

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