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Kigoma and Doctor Livingstone

On your journey through Tanzania, if your travels take you towards the west, you are likely to get to Kigoma. It is here on the shores of Lake Tanganyika that the famous words were uttered « Doctor Livingstone, I presume? ».

What is there to see in Kigoma?

Situated at the far west of the country on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, Kigoma can only be reached by those who are willing to spend many hours on a bus.

Memorial to Doctor Livingstone in Ujiji

What makes Kigoma so attractive, are the scenes of daily life. The markets are very colourful, typical and authentic and you will find all the usual local produce with their accompanying odours. The arrival of the twice weekly train from Dodoma or that of the famous oldest transport vessel in the world, the MV Liemba, which crosses Lake Tanganyika, make a wonderful sight of organised chaos!

Apart from this, the main interests of Kigoma lie in the surrounding area. For example, you could visit the Gombe Stream National Park to see the chimpanzees.

But if Kigoma is so well-known in Tanzania, it is above all for a famous encounter which took place in 1871. To find the exact spot where this historical event took place, you have to go 10 kilometres along the shore of Lake Tanganyika to the little village of Ujiji. It is here that Stanley raised his hat and uttered the famous words "Doctor Livingstone, I presume? I thank God, Doctor, that I have been allowed to shake your hand". And Livingstone, raising his hat in return, replied "And I thank God that I am here to welcome you."

How to get there?

Whether you leave from Dar Es Salaam, on the far east of the Indian Ocean coast, from the capital Dodoma or even from Arusha, the journey will seem absolutely endless. It is not unusual for this long journey to turn into a real adventure.

Those who like it can embark on a journey by train. Two night trains leave a week from the capital Dodoma. The journey by train can turn into an epic adventure. The problem is that you know what time the train leaves but you never know when it will arrive …

If you don't have a lot of time, or you don't want to spend forever travelling, or you want some comfort, the plane is ideal.

David Debrincat
459 contributions
Updated 20 April 2016
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