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Iringa Tanzania - Tanzania Tourists Destinations

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Iringa Tanzania

Iringa Tanzania

Perched at a cool 1600m on a cliff overlooking the valley of the Little Ruaha River, Iringa was initially built up by the Germans at the turn of the century as a bastion against the local Hehe people. Now it’s a district capital, an important agricultural centre and the gateway for visiting Ruaha National Park. Once away from the main street, with its congestion and hustlers, it’s also a likeable place, with its bluff-top setting, healthy climate and highland feel, and well worth a stop.


Market Area

Iringa’s market is piled high with fruits and vegetables, plus other wares, including large-weave, locally made Iringa baskets. On its southern edge, in front of the police station, is a monument honoring Africans who fell during the Maji Maji uprising between 1905 and 1907. West along this same street is the main trading area, dominated by the German-built Ismaili Mosque with its distinctive clock tower. Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery At the southeastern edge of town is this cemetery, with graves of the deceased from both world wars.

Iringa Rock Art

This large frieze, similar in style to the Kondoa rock art, is on the edge of town off the Dodoma road.

Gangilonga Rock

This large rock northeast of town is where Chief Mkwawa meditated and where he learned that the Germans were after him. Its name, gangilonga, means ‘talking stone’ in Hehe. It’s an easy climb to the top, with views over town. Don’t climb up on your own, as muggings are frequent.

Isimila Stone Age Site

Isimila is signposted off the Mbeya road to the left, about 15km west of Iringa. Here, in the late 1950s, amid a landscape of small canyons and eroded sandstone pillars, archaeologists unearthed one of the most significant Stone Age finds ever identified. Tools found at the site are estimated to be between 60,000 and 100,000 years old. There’s a museum with small, well-captioned displays highlighting some of the discoveries.
The main pillar area is accessed via a walk down into a steep valley (about one hour round-trip), for which you’ll need a guide. Visits are best in the morning or late afternoon, when the sun is not at its zenith.


About 15km from Iringa on the road to Ruaha National Park is the former Hehe capital of Kalenga. It was here that Chief Mkwawa had his headquarters until Kalenga fell to the Germans in the 1890s, and it was here that he committed suicide rather than succumb to the German forces.


Kalenga Historical Museum

This tiny museum contains Mkwawa’s skull, personal effects, python-skin drum and several other relics. It’s also possible to arrange with the caretaker to visit other nearby historical sites, including a cemetery with the graves of some of Mkwawa’s 62 wives, and the site of part of Kalenga’s old defensive wall (the ruins themselves are now nonexistent).

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