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Visit Songea, Tanzania

Songea is a beautiful, hilly municipal, and the capital of the Ruvuma region in the South-west of Tanzania. Named after Songea, the great Ngoni warrior killed during the Maji -Maji rebellion, this town has a storied past for history curious travellers. Having played a key role during the World War I, Songea is dotted with bits of post-World War relics.

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Why visit Songea

  • Safari: Songea is home to some of Africa’s best wildlife features. This destination is home to a unique variety of wildlife including wild Chimpanzees, dik-diks, and Wildebeests. The ecosystem is spectacular and notable with undulating hills and typical savannah vegetation.
  • Interesting history: The town has a fascinating history, most especially during the colonial rule of the Germans in the past. It features many historical features that you can explore and learn about.
  • Fun activities:  Apart from sightseeing, you can indulge in a wide variety of activities such as fishing, snorkelling, and diving. Lake Malawi is located just an hour from the Songea.
  • Time zone: UTC / GMT +3
  • Currency: Tanzanian Shilling (TSh, often written as =/)
  • Driving: left-hand side of the road
  • Power Outlets: 220V-240V 50Hz. Plug types are ‘Type D & G (British)’
  • Closest airports: Songea Airport (SGX) services this area.
Best time to visit

The warmest months in Songea are October and November, and the Coolest is July. May to September is usually dry and usually the ideal period to visit Songea. You will want to avoid January to April as Songea experiences the heaviest rainfall during this time.

All in all, the best tourist experience is mostly guaranteed after April and before January.

Sights and sounds

The city is home to many educational institutions and most notably the St. Augustine University. It is a city of undulating hills and an exhibit of traditional Tanzanian life; the people are lively and always cheerful.

Maji Maji Museum

You can explore the city and visit some of its exciting attractions such as the Maji Maji Museum. The Maji Maji is a small museum located just a few kilometres from the town centre. It features unique sights such as the statues of the twelve chiefs the Germans captured and killed during the Maji Maji Rebellion which was the unified fight against the German colonial rule in 1905.The town was named after Chief Songea Mbano, and his graveyard is behind the museum, together with a mass grave for victims of the Maji Maji Rebellion.

Mikumi National Park

For an unforgettable wildlife experience, you should visit Mikumi National Park. This nature reserve was established in 1964 and is Tanzania’s fourth largest national park. It covers a vast area of 3230 km2 and compares proudly with the Serengeti. There are spectacular rock formations of the mountains Rubeho and Ulunguru. The vegetation is dominantly savannah and possesses attractive features like the acacia, tamarind, and baobab, and several palm trees. The national park is home to stunning wildlife such as zebras, elephant, giraffe, Kudu, and black antelope. Sometimes, tourists can catch a glimpse of a lion resting on a tree branch. There park also features two artificial pools which provide refuge to hippos.

Lake Malawi

Just about an hour away from the city centre is the dazzling Lake Malawi. The tranquil lake features colourful waters with a calm ambience. Snorkelling is an ideal past-time, and the vibrant underwater life makes for a great diving experience. You can also enjoy a little adventure by going fishing with the locals (and Lake Malawi has some exotic fish species) or just lazy around on the idyllic white sand beaches around.

Dining and Dietary Considerations

Lamoly restaurant and Serengeti Pub are amongst the best places to get the absolute best of local dishes in the town. For a taste of the locally made burgers and banana bread, you should visit Songea Bakery. The Agape Café also serves some pastries and Tanzanian meals. The restaurant at the Heritage Cottage Hotel serves intercontinental dishes as well as local foods.

Religious and Cultural considerations

There is a rich cultural history in Songea, and this is mostly showcased during the Selebuka festival featuring stylish traditional dance and exuberant music. The city houses the Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church in Songea. But you’ll find both Christians and Muslims living in exemplary co-existence here.

Cost of Living

Songea is a small town but has a range of accommodation available for tastes.

This is what you can expect to pay in Dar es Salaam for:

  • Domestic beer (0.5-litre bottle) in a supermarket – 2,000TSh
  • Coffee (normal black coffee) – 400TSh
  • Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro) – 3,000Tsh
  • A bottle of coca cola / pepsi (0.33-litre bottle) – 500TSh
  • A  bottle of water (1 litre bottle) – 666TSh


  • Songea is managed by the Songea Municipal Council and is made up of 13 wards
  • The town is the gateway to some of the game viewing parks in Tanzania.
  • Songea is well-known for its abundant mineral deposits and mining activities are popular in the area.

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