Mtwara region is the major Makondecarrvingscentre in the world. Its uniqueness is the presences of sand dune, the highest in eastern Africa with unique vegetation and coastal forests, with a variety of species with different status (rare, endemic, etc). The giant Ruvuma river estuary, home to crocodiles, hippos, terrapins, fish is another attractive place to visit. The river and riverine ecosystem is potential a site for eco – tourism.
Currently, it is more than 1,349,236 people.
Mtwara region is situated in the south eastern part of Tanzania.
Area of Mtwara region:
16,720 square kilometers or 1.9 percent of the country’s mainland mass.Mtwara is the third smallest region after Kilimanjaro (13,209 square kilometers) and Dare s salaam (1,339.59 square kilometers).
History of Mtwara region:
History of Mtwara region can be traced by one of its districts. This is mikindani district which was an important export point for traders from Malawi, Zambia, Angola and Democratic republic of Congo. The traders from the Arabian penisuala settled at Mikindani in the 9th and 18th centuries and by the second half of the 15th
Bantu group indigenous of Makonde, Makua and Yao.
Administratively, the Mtwara region consists of 7 districts of Mtwara district, mikindani urban, Mtwara rural, Newala, Masasi, Tandahimba and Nanyumbu.
Good climate with rainfall of between 830 to 1120mm per annum and rising with elevation. Temperatures are moderated by the Indian Ocean.
The main industry in Mtwara region is agriculture (more than 85 percent of income) followed by fishery, the service industry and forestry. The major cash crops are cashew nuts. Mtwara region is the leading cashew nuts producer in Tanzania and about two third of the cashew nut in the country is produced from Mtwara.
Is one of the best and deepest port. It has a quay wall of 385 metres with water depth of 9.85 metres at low tide. The port is so strategically placed that it could serve as an outlet for cargo to and from the Southern regions of Mtwara, Ruvuma and Lindi as well as the countries of Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique.
The natural gas and electricity available at Mtwara greatly assist in providing the basis for industrial development for Mtwara Development corridor anchored by the commercial waterport.
On tourism industry, Mtwara boasts of having two game reserves. These are Msanjesi (44,425 ha) and Lukwika / Lumesule (21,025 ha) both of which are in Nanyumbu district. The region is also blessed with beautiful beaches with pristine, attractive clean water and sand such as Msimbati, which is one of the finest unspoilt beaches in East Africa.
It also has a marine park at Mnazi bay – Ruvuma Estuary marine park has a total area of 650 square kilometers sea.
The region also enjoys huge mangrove forests, with the second largest mangrove forest in Tanzania having a total of 9 species. On fish, the region has more than 400 fish species. This makes the area to be a potential site for commercial and subsistence of fishing. On marine mammals, the region is home to whales and dolphins visits to the area are done seasonally (August to November).
The other important thing the region boasts is makunde carvings. Mtwara region is the major Makonde carvings centre in the world. The carvings use one of a valuable endemic tree species called African ebony.
Tourists Attractions in Mtwara Region
Historical and cultural tourism:
Mikindani Ruins, Newala old Boma, Makonde arts, carvings and dances among others.
Wildlife tourism mainly in Nanyumbu / Masasi districts where there are 2 game reserves; Lukwika / Lumesule migration corridor between Selous game reserves and North – east Mozambique (Niassa).
Whale sightings during October / November breeding time, also dolphins in the marine park.
Deep sea diving within the Mnazi Bay Ruvuma Estuary, Marine park, in pristine coral reefs.
Pristine and unique beaches with pure white sands, scenic and unspoilt beaches at Msimbati and MsangaMkuu.