In Kigoma we first visited the sites which were mentioned in the travel guides. The Kogoma Hilltop Hotel is nicely located on the top of a hill some 2 km outside town. It has its own large fenced off park surrounding it. Unfortunately you could not just drink a cup of coffee on the balcony overlooking the lake without paying an entrance fee. That would have been ok if you make a day out of it but not just for the view. The old Kaisers House was missed on the first passing. It is now being renovated and is shielded off from the road by a corrugated fence. The third attraction would have been the last vessel of the German Imperial Navy (1915) which is still working now as the ferry MV Limba (formerly Graf von Goetzen). It had been sunk in the first world war but later raised and put into ferry service in 1927. The ship runs once a week to Mpulungu (end of the lake on the border with Zambia). Unfortunately I could only admire the ship through the fence. The guards were keen that I did not take any pictures.
The 467 km drive to Tabora had a lot of variation. First it is the large outskirts of Kikoma with all its Tuk-tuks or Dalla Dallas in Swahili. The tarmac road stopped abruptly in Uvinza where a well graded sand road ran through a swampy forested area. There were not many villages along this section. After 70 km there is again a stretch of 40 km of tarmac followed by another 20 km of graded road. Except the grader had not been there for quite some time which resulted in the bottom of the 4×4 scraping the sand here and there.
Tabora started off as the centre for the slave trade. From all directions the slave caravans came together in Tabora (or Kaseh as it was then known) and was then marched/walked the 830 km to Bagamojo for export via Zanzibar to the middle east and India. All the British explorers also passed through Tabora. In fact Livingstone had a house here where he stayed together with Stanley for some time. We were lucky to find the location of this house on iOverlander app and drove there over a very narrow road full of gullies from past rains. The house is very appealing to me since I have read Stanley’s book and currently am reading Speke’s book “Journal of the discovery of the source of the Nile” (1863). A caretaker was there, who opened up the house and showed me around. There is also a grave of J.W. Shaw, a companion of Stanley, who died and was buried here.
Tabora town is very spread out. Several streets are tarmac’d and lined with trees. It is an attractive countryside town. It has the usual old run-down German railway station and an upgraded station hotel the “Orion Tabora Hotel”. I found accommodation in the Hostel of the John Paul II Cathedral and diner in the Nazareth Canteen. A football match was being shown on TV. Nice to see the reaction of the African public when goals were made.