5 Star rated African Tour Operator
Leafy Tabora was once the most important trading centre along the old caravan route connecting Lake Tanganyika with Bagamoyo and the sea, and several other minor slave-trading routes converged here. The region, known in those days as Kazeh, was the headquarters of many slave traders, including the infamous Tippu Tib. A string of European explorers passed through its portals, most notably Livingstone and Stanley, who both spent many months here. Stanley noted in 1871 that it contained ‘over a thousand huts and tembes (house with a flat earthen roof), and one may safely estimate the population...at five thousand people’. By the turn of the 19th century the Germans had made
Tabora an administration and mission centre, and following construction of the Central Line railway Tabora became the largest town in German East Africa. It also became a regional education centre and many large schools are located here. Today, it’s primarily of interest to history buffs and rail fans, which’ll have to wait here if taking a branch line to Mpanda or Mwanza.
SightsThere are many buildings dating back to the German era. Notably attractive ones include the Catholic cathedral, with concrete inner walls painted to look like wood and marble, and the old boma, now an army base so you can’t take photos.
Livingstone’s TembeThis deep maroon-colored, flat-roofed Arabic-style home, built in 1857, is the main attraction in these parts. It was Livingstone’s residence for part of 1871. Later that year, Stanley waited three months here hoping that the Arabs would defeat Mirambo, famed king of the Nyamwezi (People of the Moon) tribe, and reopen the trail to Lake Tanganyika. When Mirambo was victorious, Stanley had to travel to Ujiji via Mpanda. Stanley and Livingstone returned here together the next year.
The large building was undergoing restoration at the time of research (but was still open to the public). It is now a museum and has some original Zanzibar carved doors, a few Livingstone letters and some slave trading information. It’s 8km southwest of town in Kwihara. Occasional dalla-dallas heading to Kipalapala from a stop just southwest of the new bus stand (near the public toilet) can drop you at Etetemia. From there it’s a 2.5km walk straight down the road: if in doubt, just ask for ‘Livingstone’.