Tabora – History, Socio-Economic, Food, Culture and More

Tabora – History, Socio-Economic, Food, Culture and More

Tabora is a capital and municipality, according to the government of Tanzania. Additionally, it’s the administrative home of Tabora Urban District. The population of the district was 226,99,9, according to the 2012 census.


At the start of the 1830s, traders from the coast settled in the region to benefit from the slave and ivory caravan trade. Omani and Swahili traders created Kazeh, near modern-day Tabora, during the 1850s.

In 1870, the population of Tabora was between 5,000 to 10,000 people living in approximately 50 big square houses. Each home accommodated hundreds of people and had adjacent garden plots, inner courtyards, servant quarters, store rooms, and outside houses for slaves. Nyamwezi villages were sounding the town, providing caravan labor and produce.

During this period, the Sultan of Zanzibar appointed an agent there. It belonged to the Unyanyembe Kingdom. Tabora was a trade centre with traders from the far north, including the Buganda Kingdom. During August 1871, a quarter of the city was razed during an attack by the army of the Nyamwezi ruler, Mirambo. Despite proclaiming the region as a German East Africa in 1885, by the end of late 1891, travellers called it a lawless town, without German colonial administration until late in the year. Being an important station along the Central Line, it grew into an essential administrative centre for central German East Africa (GEA).

By 1916, the colonial battalion had an urgent mint at Tabora, producing some pieces of gold and various crude brass and copper GEA rupee smaller coins Mint with a “T” mark. In the period of the Tabora Offensive during  East Africa’s World War I campaign, Belgian Congo (Force Publique)’s colonial army commanded by General Charles Tombeur annexed Tabora on 19 September 1916 following heavy fighting for10 days and nights.

Shops owned by Indians with people roaming around in year 1906
Shops owned by Indians with people roaming around in year 1906

Socio-Economic Environment

Tabora, including its people, primarily depend on agriculture as small-scale tobacco farmers or sustenance farmers. Tabora also has a ballast quarry.

Tabora Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Authority (Tuwasa) manages the water supply, from Kazima and Igombe Dams. River Igombe is a tributary of Malagarasi-Muyovozi Wetlands and River Malagarasi.

Culture and Food

The streets of Tabora are lined with mango trees planted a century ago by traders from Oman. Tabora is Western Tanzania’s fruit capital, with markets usually full of local produce.

Tabora has various tiny local restaurants that serve regular Tanzanian food, including Ugali (heavy maize porridge), rice, chips, beans, chicken, or beef. For breakfast or lunch, it is usually chips-mayai (chips with egg), basically, some fried eggs combined with chips. Despite the bland food, it is often served with local chilli sauce to give it some character.

Farmers harversting rice in Igunga, Tabora
Farmers harversting rice in Igunga, Tabora

A mix of pumpkin and peanut butter sauce is a local speciality. This is served with rice pilau widely all over the region.

Snacks include local sambusa (samosa), freshly roasted corn on the cob or goat’s meat on a stick, available throughout Tabora. The huge regional market in Tabora has a wide choice of fruit, including bananas, pineapples, and watermelons.

Tourism in Tabora

Tabora has few tourist attractions. It’s well off the beaten track, with a handful of tourists. Noteworthy is Fort Boma, put up by the Germans towards the end of the 19th century and still used by the Tanzanian military. The railway station is another remnant from the colonial period.

Approximately 9m (15kms) in Tabora’s southwest is the town of Kwihar,known initiallyn as Kazeh,  a vital slave trade town until  the Germans began developing Tabora. Sir Henry Morton Stanley and David Livingstone are some of Kazeh’s famou visitors, who were dazzled. The Livingstone Museum ” is a tiny museum here dedicated to Dr Livingstone, visitors have to pay 2,000 Tanzanian shillings.

Igombe Dam, a forest reserve in the area, is another day trip in Tabora. 

Tabora Climate

The climate of Tabora is tropical savanna (Köppen Aw) having two seasons of about equal length. November to April is the wet season with the dry season being May to October.

Tabora climate data
Tabora climate data

Transport in Tabora

The city is small enough to go across. Regular taxis, bicycle taxis, and motorbike taxis are available.

Tabora Airport
Tabora Airport

Road Network

Tabora currently is served by mainly a paved T18 road from the region of Singida to Kigoma including a partially unpavedT8 road to Mwanzafrom Mbeya going through the district. The west has salt flats that inhibit the connection of a direct road to Kigoma.

By January 2013, the government of Tanzania announced the beginning of work to improve tarmac level on the Tabora-Urambo road with the 127km (79 mi) Nyahua-Tabora-Ndono road. By December 2012, Mizengo Pinda, the Prime Minister revealed the intention of the Tanzanian government to upgrade to tarmac level to 359 km (223 mi) of Tabora-Inyonga-Mpanda road before 2015. By August 2011, Harrison Mwakyembe, Deputy Minister for Works, told the National Assembly about the government’s commencement of tarmacking the 115km (71 mi)  Tabora-Puge-Nzega road.

Railway Network

The Central railway line serves Tabora with its junction, going to Dar es Salaam in the east, Kigoma in the west to reach Lake Tanganyika and Mwanza on Lake Victoria in the north. Trains depart thrice  regardless of direction.

By 2017, there was a proposed new station along the standard gauge railway.


Tabora Airport is located 7 km south of the town center. Its renovation ended in 2015.

Precision Air began flights to the airport three thrice a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from Julius Nyerere International Airport, Dar es Salaam in the east and from Kigoma in the west.

For more articles related to regions of Tanzania click here!