Discover Tanzania’s beautiful natural wonders, or surprise your loved ones – it’s easy and affordable with fastjet’s cheap flights from Dar es Salaam to Mbeya. From only TSH 87,800, fastjet will take you there quickly and in comfort. If that doesn’t whet your appetite, the stunning experience you’ll have at Mbeya and surrounds will.
30 minutes before sunrise and Dar es Salaam is already warming up. Climbing out of the air-conditioned hotel shuttle at Julius Nyerere International Airport, I’m thankful that I don’t have long to wait in the humidity before my plane takes off. After a quick check-in it was time to board the plane. I along with other passengers was looking forward to the flight, and soon we waved Dar es Salaam farewell.
Although I could have driven the 817-km journey, and spent 8 hours in a hot car, the flight would only be 681 km, and we’d be landing 85 minutes! What could be better?
Early into our flight we traversed the southern half of Mikumi National Park below, well known for its elephants, zebra and impala amongst others. Before we knew it, the cabin crew was announcing that we were due shortly to land at Songwe International Airport, 20 km from Mbeya City. From my window, I could see Mbeya City in the distance. And then the wheels of the aeroplane touched down on the runway. At last, we had arrived.
So why would anyone holiday in Mbeya? Although there are many good reasons, top of the list is the stunning countryside. From mountains to lakes, forests, and incredible fauna and flora, it is a dream getaway.
Situated at the base of the 2,656 metre-high Loleza Peak, Mbeya City is flanked about 60 km to the north by Usungu Game Reserve, and about 80 km to the west by Uwanda Game Reserve, hugging the shores of Lake Uwanda.
Mbeya was established as a gold-mining town after the 1905 gold rush, with many entrepreneurs settling in the area after the opening of the TAZARA railway.
Today, Mbeya City forms a business hub for the southern districts of Tanzania as well as for the neighbouring countries of the Congo, Zambia, and Malawi. The city is on a main tar road that forms part of the ‘Great North Road,’ which extends from Cape Town to Alexandria.
The area surrounding Mbeya has been dubbed the ‘Scotland of Africa’, evidenced by hills covered by heather and bracken, which also happens to be similar to the fynbos of the Western Cape.
Add Ngozi Crater Lake to your itinerary
Why not visit Ngozi Crate Lake? Lying about 38 km south of Mbeya, and situated in the Mporoto Ridge Forest Reserve at the foot of the Ngozi Peak, it is the second-largest lake in Africa. Found in a caldera or a cauldron-like volcanic depression, it is about 2.5 km long, 1.5 km wide, and 300 metres deep. Take a walk through the forest to the edge of the crater rim, and observe monkeys and wonderful bird species, as well as a local chameleon.
Take a slow drive through Kitulo National Park
A short 90 minute drive from Mbeya and you’ll find Kitulo National Park. The locals call it ‘God’s Garden’! Graced with proteas, aloes, orchids, and lilies to name a few, as well as come spring time and the most amazing birdlife, it is utterly magnificent year round, but more so in Spring.
The plateau has elevations as high as 2,500 metres. If you’re feeling energetic, hike from the plateau, via the Livingstone Mountains, down to Matema Beach on Lake Nyasa, or Lake Malawi as it is also known.
Relax on the sands of Matema Beach
Travelling through high mountains and various villages, you arrive at Matema Beach, 130 km from Mbeya City. Boasting exquisitely white sand, it is situated on the northern tip of Lake Malawi. Hire a dugout canoe, pack a light lunch, and discover the tranquillity of this lake. Don’t forget your camera, because the views are spectacular.
Discover this one-of-a-kind picturesque part of Tanzania today. Choose fastjet to take you there. Book your cheap flight from Dar es Salaam to Mbeya online, through the call centre or at a fastjet-appointed travel agent. Look forward to friendly service, a delicious on-board menu and arriving on time. With flights departing once a day you can drop and go whenever you want to.