Mwanza, Lake Victoria

Mwanza is the second largest city in Tanzania (after Dar es Salaam). It’s at the shore of Lake Victoria, one of the largest lakes in Africa, a lake shared by three countries: Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. This is also the place where an old documentary (“Darwin’s nightmare”, 2004) was filmed.

Unfortunately we’ve only stayed two days in Mwanza and I got a different vibe than what was described in “Darwin’s nightmare”. It might also be the case that I didn’t explore enough. After all, I didn’t go to villages around the lake and definitely two days is not long enough to get a real impression of a place you’ve never been before. It’s only enough to get a superficial impression.

One thing easy to notice, though, is the lack of fishermen on the lake. I couldn’t really see too many small boats on the lake. While we were there, our couchsurfing host told us that the government had just forbidden fishermen to take out small fish from the lake. It was announced while we were there. It’s a way to try preventing over-fishing from happening. Hopefully this policy doesn’t come too late. We were told that fish on the local market is not very expensive and easily accessible. “Darwin’s nightmare” was filmed 12 years ago…maybe some things have changed meanwhile? Yet it was mentioned to us by different people, at different times that most of the fish from Lake Victoria is still exported to Europe. Luci was trying to organize a fishing trip, since he’s always carrying a fishing rope in his backpack, but he was put off once a fancy hotel told him they charge for the boat 100 dollars for two hours.

A bit off the touristic places, out of the city center, further from the main bus station, the views of the lake are exceptional. It’s nice and quiet; it might as well be Switzerland or other European country. I sat by the shore and enjoyed the view and the sun for quite a while.

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