The town of Iringais an old German town from the colonial era. It is the capital of Iringa Region . It is the gateway to the southern part of the African Rift Valley and is located on top of a steep escarpment rising off the Tanzam Highway. Anyone wishing to reach Ruaha National Park by road will have to pass through Iringa en-route. The hotels in Iringa are basic but there are several good accommodation options nearby which are suitable as part of a long safari. At an altitude of 1500m it is often cool at night.
Iringa has a population of 112,900 (census 2004). The word Iringa is derived from the dominant local tribe, the WaHehe's language (the KiHehe word lilinga, means 'strong place'. Iringa, as it is seen today, was built around 1890 by the German Army as a fortress town to use as a base to put down the Hehe uprising lead by Chief Mkwawa. This revolt was called the 'maji maji' ('water water' ) rebellion because of the belief by the WaHehe that sacred water could make you bullet proof. Sadly this was not the case and you can see the skull of chief Mkwawa at his old head quarters at the nearby village of Kalenga. The skull was returned by the Germans after Tanzanian independence.
Iringa is a great place to to break for a night on the way to explore the Southern Highlands or Ruaha National Park . Whether you prefer to stay in Iringa Town or just outside there are several interesting sites to be seen in the area. Gangilonga Rock The 'talking stone' or 'Gangilonga' is a large rock with superb views over the town and the surrounding rocky hills.
Isimila Stone Age Site is located 15 km from town along the Tan-Zam Highway towards Mafinga. Ismila Stone Age Site is a seasonal watercourse has yielded one of the richest collections of stone age tools known anywhere in the world. Even if you don't find archaeology particularly alluring, Isimila is still well worth a visit to see the the scenic gully which contains a number of spectacular sandstone pillars carved out by an extinct river.
Nearby Lulanda Village Forest Reserve is a stunning location in the mountains amongst tea plantations, with panoramic views, mist shrouded forest and remote villages. This is a good area for hiking, and we can also arrange a visit to sustainable forestry projects and tree nurseries.
Iringa Region Locations view all
The busy market town of Iringa is located town in Southern Highlands of Tanzania about 502 km away from the city of Dar es Salaam. Iringa is situated at 1635 m above sea level and is therefore cool at night. It is a very fertile area where many types of vegetables and fruits are grown.
Around Kisolanza Farm are many hiking and riding trails, perfect for the keen walker and equestrian. With over 250 species of bird in the area the site is ideal for ornithologists and birdwatchers. The farm is an interesting location and ideal for families with children.
Lulanda Village Forest Reserve is a pristine ecologically diverse Eastern Arc forest fragment located in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania. The forest is located next to Lulanda village and is a community owned forest.
Riverside Campsite is situated on the banks of the little Ruaha river with excellent birding which, combined with its rustic collection of chalets makes a pleasant safari stopover. It is well combined with a visit to Ruaha National Park or the Udzungwa Mountains National Park. It can be refreshingly cool at night so bring a fleece or jumper!
Iringa Region Activities
Isimilla Stone Age Site
Isimilla Stone Age Site is an ancient dried up lake, exposed by river erosion - a process clearly seen happening. The site is of interest for stone age tools, and also geologists with its pillars of volcanic ash, standing 30m tall under their umbrella of hard basalt lava flow.