"Sukuma-land" Sengerema by Metten

Sengerema Travel Guide: 33 reviews and 26 photos

Good bye civilization - hello Africa

I don't honestly expect anyone to choose Sengerema as their holiday destination, and I would be lying if I said it was an absolute 'must' to go there. I literally thought I was going to die, when I arrived here in April, realizing this would be my home for the next 6 months. Most people who have been to Sengerema have only seen it behind closed windows rushing by in an off-road express on the way to either Mwanza or Geita. What they will tell you about Sengerema, is that it is an absolute hole in the ground with nothing but a terrible dirt road leading out of there, which is therefore its most positive feature! Getting the h... out of this redneck, hill-billy village and back to civilization in Mwanza was my initial reaction, too, but I soon realised that Sengerema had a lot to offer and better represented what Africa is all about, than did Mwanza.

Closing in on Africa

Sengerema is a semi-rural city with around 45.000 people living in the city centre or scattered around the surrounding chambas. This may seem like a lot, but Sengerema truly has a village-like feel to it. Most people here are Sukuma - the biggest ethnic group in Tanzania. Even though Sengerema has had its share of white people working here, people still think it's a big deal if a white person comes to town and everyone will know who you are in a matter of minutes after your arrrival. This is also what makes it extremely safe to stay or live in a place like Sengerema. People look after you and will often know everything about your where-abouts. If not, they will ask you! It's easy to get in contact with people, and this is also the best way to learn about a country. Staying in Sengerema allows you exactly that and will give you a very good picture of what life is like for the majority of the population.

Simplicity at its best

I grew to love Sengerema over the months for the same reasons why I hated it in the beginning. It has none of the city features like shops, restaurants or large-scale industries and therefore no hazzle, noice, distractions or stress. Things go nice and slow here and you learn to appreciate and value it more than anything. Here you can experience life boiled down to its essence - running a duka or working in the field making money to support the family and spending time with family and friends. In many ways life is simple in Sengerema - hard, but simple, and that is the biggest attraction of all to me.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:slow pace, friendly people, safe, 'real' Africa, has most things you need
  • Cons:horrible roads, dangerous means of transportation, malaria, not the place to go if you don't like people staring at you at all times
  • In a nutshell:This is Africa
  • Last visit to Sengerema: Sep 2003
  • Intro Updated Dec 13, 2003
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Reviews (36)

Comments (4)

  • lichinga's Profile Photo
    Jan 18, 2004 at 9:18 AM

    Lovely. It made me travel back to Africa for a while!

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo
    Dec 12, 2003 at 4:03 PM

    nice to see some new africa destinations on vt. they are very nice.

  • Dec 12, 2003 at 5:31 AM

    Fantastic coverage of the place which is alien to me...This is a highly informative page..well written congrats.

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Dec 11, 2003 at 2:17 PM

    Definitely an updated version of 'Out of Africa' going on here, only a little further to the South this time. A fascinating guide to life in another world of Tanzania inhabited by people rather than animals. Super.

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