This island is called a zoo. It opened in the early 90's after they caught a large variety of wild animals in Serengeti NP and brought them to this tiny island.
Nowadays most of the animals died. You can see some smaller antelopes, nice birds, interesting reptiles and if you're lucky crocodiles, while 2 hyena's, a chimp and a lion live in horrible cages.
However the island is beautiful and the 20 minutes boattrip is fantastic!
Fondest memory: This eroded rock is probably the most famous sight.
It looks like it could get out of balance every moment but it's there already for thousands of years. Rather stunning!
By the way everywhere around Mwanza outcrops like this appear, very nice scenery!
Mwanza has a big post house where you get all the services you need. It's not exactly customer friendly and if you stay for a long time and go there to pick up packages sent to you from back home, be prepared to bribe a few people on the way. They will always charge you a ridiculous amount before you get your package, and there is really nothing you can do about it. Bargain a bit with them and you might be able to get a 'discount'. But that's just the way the post office works down here, so get used to it. You can also send packages back home, and I'm surprised to say that most of them actually reach their home destination.
On Post Road just before the church
The best bank in town is undoubtedly Standard Chartered Bank. Things run pretty smoothly here, and you are sure to get a lot of help from friendly people. Also, they are the only bank offering VISA services. In fact, Mwanza is the only city in the region offering this service. The ATM is open 24 a day, but be prepared that the machine is often broken so you can't always count on it. SO make sure to always have extra cash on you, if VISA is the only means of payment you brought with you.
Lies on Kenyatta Road next to Imalaseko
If you plan on going on safari, Mwanza is the perfect starting point. You avoid all the hazzle you get in Arusha and there's a good chance you will be able to get a better deal her than there.
I always used Serengeti Services - both for tips and help in planning and also for bookings. They are very service-minded. You can also go to Masumin Tours next to Bank of Kenya. Some of my friends used them for a safari in Serengeti and were very pleased with it.
Don't panic or get on the first plane back home if you have a problem with your teeth. There are a couple of dentists in Mwanza, and believe it or not - they are perfectly fine. A friend of mine broke her tooth and had to have a crown put on it. For 100 dollars she had excellent work done by a good dentist. Go to Aga Khan Hospital and ask for the British dentist. He is very nice and will make you relax in a matter of minutes.
As for hospitals - see "Dangers and Warnings - Malaria".
There is plenty of opportunity to use internet in Mwanza as it has several internet cafees. However there is only one cafe in town that has a generator, and considering the multitude of power breakdowns in this region, it might be a good idea to go here if you are planning on writing something important. This place is called Karibu Corner and is situated in the roundabout near New Mwanza Hotel. You can drop in any time and get your own small booth for 1000 sh for an hour or 500 for half an hour. The owner and the staff are extremely friendly and will try to help you with any problem. But keep in mind that this is Tanzania, so the computers break down every now and then.
You can also go to the internet cafe that lies opposite Massumin Tours close to Standard Chartered. Here you pay for the time you spend, so you don't have to worry about keeping an eye on the time all the time. A good thing is that they are open every day and late at night. I believe they close at 10 pm on week nights. Service is also very good here, but they don't have a generator. Prices are the same.
Favorite thing: If you do happen to get robbed or have your things stolen from you, you have to go down to the police station to fill out a report if you want to get money back from your insurance company. This can be an experience. The police station lies next to Standard Chartered and Imalaseco. Dealing with the police is learning by doing and I guess it depends on who you are lucky enough to run into how succesfull your trip down to the station will be... if you know any one down there - go straight to them and let them handle it. Your first problem will be the language - very few of them speak English and it requires some patience to get the message through that you want to file a police report. Don't be surprised if they act like they don't know what you're talking about. They probably don't so be prepared to explain 10 times. One of 2 things can happen - either they just ask you for information about ethnicity, country of origin, items stolen or they will make you write down the entire thing as it happened, who you were with, how much you had been drinking and then make you swear to telle the truth... Don't ask me why, because they don't seem to use it for anything..... you will then get a note with a number on, and the next day you can get what looks like a report if you pay around 500 sh. It's up to you if you want to use your energy on it, but unless you lost something very valuable, I would not bother. It's really a hazzle.
just out of town on Station Road you can find some nice places to eat and drink while retiring on the terraces and look over the water.
One of them is the Yacht Club.