Bukoba – History, Ports, Economy, Airport, Climate and More

Bukoba – History, Ports, Economy, Airport, Climate and More

The city of Bukoba has a population of 128,796 based on the 2012 census and is located on the shores line of Lake Victoria to the northwest of Tanzania’s United Republic. It is Kagera‘s regional capital and the Bukoba Urban District administrative seat. Bukoba Airport and the standard ferry connection to and from Mwanza, and roads merging up to Rakai District in Uganda make the city accessible by car. Meanwhile, plans are underway for a standard gauge railway construction to fulfill Uganda’s high ambitions. 

History of Bukoba

In the aftermath of the deadly battles of Tanga and Jassin, the Entente won the Battle of Bukoba, its first victory in German East Africa.   The British goal was to destroy the wireless station in Bukoba. Because Bukoba lies on the shore of Lake Victoria, the British decided that the raid should take the form of an amphibious assault.

Bukoba Tribes

Bukoba is home to several ethnic groups or tribes. Some of the major tribes in the area include the Haya, Zinza, and Jita.

The Haya tribe is the largest ethnic group in the region and is known for their agricultural practices, including banana farming and livestock rearing. The Zinza people are a smaller ethnic group in Bukoba, known for their traditional practices such as pottery-making, basket weaving, and beekeeping.The Jita people, also known as the Nyoro, are another significant ethnic group in Bukoba. They are known for their skills in metalworking, such as blacksmithing and ironworking, and also for their hunting and gathering practices.

Other tribes present in the region include the Kwaya, Kihaya, and Sumbwa. Each of these tribes has its unique cultural practices, languages, and traditions, and they contribute to the diverse cultural landscape of all the bukoba villages.

The Battle of Bukoba

On the 21st of June 1915, the British launched the raid from Kisumu in British East Africa. The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and the 25th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, or the 25th ‘Frontiersmen,’ were among the units participating in the raid. As an irregular skirmish force, it was formed by Colonel Daniel Patrick Driscoll in response to his acquired knowledge during the Second Boer War and was primarily constructed from his peacetime paramilitary group, the Legion of Frontiersmen. Driscoll recruited several big-game hunters to his force, including 64-year-old Veteran Frederick Selous, who died in battle at the age of 65.

On reaching their objective at Bukoba, the attackers accidentally landed in a large swamp and were pinned down by machine guns and rifle fire from the German Army. Finally, the British forces managed to escape the swamp but were halted by German snipers. Despite heavy fighting in the town for another two days, casualties were low on both sides. In the end, the Frontiersmen captured the city on the 23rd of June. As a symbol of victory, Lieutenant Wilbur Dartnell, a unit member, climbed the flagpole and removed the German Imperial Ensign.


The German Bukoba fort and the wireless station were incinerated entirely, with thirty-two thousand rounds of ammunition and hundreds of rifles apprehended. With General Stewart’s permission, the Frontiermen were given access to loot the town in conformity to their ”irregular unit” code. All hell broke loose as the 25th Frontiermen raped, robbed, and burnt most of the city with such impunity that the events of that day were nicknamed the ”Sack of Bukoba. In shame and embarrassment, a high Commander denied the claim of looting by the Frontiermen.

The destruction of the wireless station during the raid backfired because it took away the ability of the British to intercept German transmissions.  Henced Bukoba was deserted.

Wilbur Dartnell

After the just-ended battle in Bukoba, the 25th Frontiermen were ordered to guard the Uganda Railway between Nairobi and Mombasa, which was under consistent attack by the heavy German artillery. During this period of loss of lives of noblemen and other soldiers, Wilbur Dartnell was awarded the Victoria Cross for a battle near Maktau on the 3rd of September 1915.

On the 3rd of September 1915, near Maktau, Kenya, the enemy was so strong and vigorous during a mounted infantry engagement that it was difficult to get the badly wounded soldiers out. Lieutenant Dartnell, being subjected to a leg wound and seeing his follow comrades being slaughtered and knowing that the injured stood no chance of survival, insisted on being left behind to help save as many lives as he could. He fought effortlessly and died in his heroic attempts. 

Bukoba City

Located on the southwestern shores of Lake Victoria, Bukoba sits just one degree south of the Equator.

In the United Republic of Tanzania, you can find Bukoba city at Lake Victoria’s South Western shores line in the northwestern region. The biggest town in Kagera also doubles as the regional capital standing as the gateway to the area.

The bukoba rural district is made up of several rural wards scattered across the region. It has a lower population density than the urban district and is predominantly agrarian, with farming being the main economic activity.

Bukoba University is a public university located in Bukoba city. It was established in 2017, with the aim of providing high-quality tertiary education to students in the Kagera region and beyond. The university offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs in various fields, including education, business, law, and social sciences.

The bukoba kagera tanzania is a region in northwestern Tanzania that shares borders with Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi, and is known for its natural beauty, agriculture, and cultural diversity.

The bukoba regional referral hospital is a public hospital that provides a range of health services to the local community and beyond. It is one of the major health facilities in the Kagera region and has a team of qualified medical personnel and modern medical equipment.

Check out these bukoba town photos!

Bukoba town photos
Bukoba town photos

Ports in Bukoba

As it stands, Bukoba is Tanzania’s second-largest port on Lake Victoria, followed by Mwanza.

Bukoba port serves as a hub for transportation and trade, connecting the Kagera region with other parts of Tanzania and neighboring countries.


The National Electric Utility Company called TANESCO supplies electricity to Bukoba. 

Economy of Bukoba

At the Bukoba Central Business District, you can find Kagera’s Regional Commissioner’s residency and head officer, Col. Fabian Massawe.

The city is smooth, flat, and compact, forming a bowl as hills surround it. A bus stop, an airport, and a ferry that transport travelers from Bukoba to Mwanza on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during nighttime hours through Kemondo Bay. The ferry transport service was suspended in 2014 after the ferry broke down beyond repair. 


The Airport in Bukoba
The Airport in Bukoba (Bukoba airport photos)

Bukoba Airport

The Bukoba airport is situated southeast of the city. You can check the roadside signpost on Sokoine Road.

Air Auric is air-bound two to three times a day to Mwanza. With the expectations of more Flights in 2010, the Airport expansion was on the way following the Air Terminal review capacity growth milestone, which happens every quarter of a year. Air Tanzania (ATCL) also has programmed flights to Bukoba within the week, connecting flights from Mwanza to Dar es Salaam.

If you’re looking for bukoba to dar es salaam flights, you can book one through Air Tanzania. The air tanzania dar to bukoba price is around $103-$135 at the lowest. Check out other prices here:

If you’re not looking for a dar es salaam to bukoba flight, but would rather travel in some other way, there are other options for you!

Bukoba Transportation Services


The bus station opens every day from 7 am in Kampala, with the bus going to Bukoba leaving at 11 am from Kampala daily. The town boasts of an outstanding market center, a beautiful white sandy beach, a swimming pool, a tennis court at the port, and three banks, two of which you can use a VISA card at the ATM center.

Like any other Bukoba district council in the region, Bukoba possesses municipal directors and local government officials due to its municipal Council status.

Visiting Bukoba

If you wish to visit Bukoba, there are multiple ways to reach the city.

You can take a dar to bukoba bus, it only costs $39 approximately. You can also drive from dar to bukoba, however it is a very long trip. The dar es salaam to bukoba km distance is 1,382km. The bukoba to dar es salaam distance is almost 21 hours long

If you wish to travel from mwanza to bukoba, it is a 7hr 22min drive of 423km approximately. 

If you’re going from arusha to bukoba, it is a 1,020km long drive of 17hrs.

If you’re traveling from bukoba to dodoma, the distance is 965km.

Bukoba Tanzania Map

Bukoba map
Bukoba map

Bukoba Hotels

Bukoba has a range of hotels and lodges that cater to different budgets and preferences. Some of the popular hotels in Bukoba Tanzania include:

ELCT Bukoba Hotel and Tours

ELCT Bukoba Hotel and Tours is a hospitality and tourism company located in Bukoba, Tanzania. The company offers a range of services, including accommodation, tours, and conference facilities. It is owned and operated by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT), and aims to provide high-quality services while also promoting social and environmental responsibility.

Bukoba Kolping Hotel

The Kolping hotel Bukoba is a mid-range hotel located in Bukoba, Tanzania, offering comfortable rooms and basic facilities such as a restaurant and a bar. The hotel is owned and operated by Kolping Tanzania, a non-profit organization that aims to empower vulnerable communities through vocational training and other programs.

Victorious Perch Hotel Bukoba

Victorious Perch Hotel Bukoba is a budget hotel located in Bukoba, Tanzania, offering affordable rooms and basic facilities such as a restaurant and a bar. The hotel is located near the town center and is popular among budget travelers and backpackers.

Balamaga Bed and Breakfast Bukoba

Balamaga Bed and Breakfast Bukoba offers affordable rooms and basic facilities such as a restaurant and a bar. The property is owned and operated by a local family and offers a home-like atmosphere for travelers looking for a budget-friendly stay.

Bukoba Beach Resort

Bukoba Beach Resort is a mid-range resort located on the shores of Lake Victoria in Bukoba, Tanzania. The resort offers comfortable rooms, a swimming pool, a restaurant, and a range of activities such as boat rides and fishing.


In the Tanzanian Premier League, the football club Kagera Sugar represents Bukoba. Also, Bukoba is home to numerous charity Organizations such as Jambo Bukoba and SHEAR in Africa. Both of whose objectives are based on education.

On Jamhuri road, You can find the Kaitaba Stadium located in the southeast of Bukoba.

Bukoba Weather

Bukoba is a tropical monsoon climate region, although it is milder than most climates with the same classification due to its altitude.  During the two rainy seasons, it can get severely cold, especially at night, but never as deadly as the winter season in Europe.

Bukoba Climate Data
Bukoba Climate Data

Bukoba Diocese

The Bukoba Diocese was established in 1953 and covers an area of approximately 23,000 square kilometers. The diocese has over 100 parishes and is led by a bishop who oversees the spiritual and administrative affairs of the diocese.

The Bukoba diocese priests serve in various capacities in the diocese, including as pastors, chaplains, and teachers. These priests are trained in theology and pastoral ministry and are responsible for providing spiritual guidance and leadership to the Catholic community in Bukoba. 

Bukoba Accidents

Bukoba city has experienced several accidents over the years, including earthquakes, plane crashes, and ferry accidents.

One of the most notable accidents was the earthquake in bukoba that occurred on September 10, 2016. The bukoba earthquake had a magnitude of 5.9 and caused widespread damage throughout the city, including collapsing buildings and injuring hundreds of people. At least 17 people were reported dead in the aftermath of the earthquake.

In addition to the earthquake, Bukoba has also experienced plane crashes. One of the most devastating bukoba plane crash occurred on April 29, 2008, when a plane operated by the Tanzanian airline Precision Air crashed into Lake Victoria shortly after takeoff from Bukoba airport. The crash resulted in the death of all 11 passengers and crew members on board.

Ferry accidents have also been a problem in Bukoba. One of the most notable bukoba ferry disaster occurred on May 21, 1996, Also known as the mv bukoba accident. The MV Bukoba 1996 ferry sank on Lake Victoria, killing an estimated 800 people. The ferry was carrying passengers and cargo from Bukoba to Mwanza when it sank, with only a few dozen survivors.

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