Mbozi Meteorite

Landmark in Southern Highlands

About 65km southwest of Mbeya is the Mbozi meteorite, one of the largest meteorites in the world. Weighing an estimated 25 metric tonnes, it's around 3m long and 1m tall. Scientists are unsure when it hit the earth, but it is assumed to have been many thousands of years ago, since there are no traces of the crater that it must have made when it fell, nor any local legends regarding its origins.

Although the site was only discovered by outsiders in 1930, it had been known to locals for centuries, but not reported because of various associated taboos. Like most meteorites, the one at Mbozi is composed primarily of iron (90%), with about 8% nickel and traces of phosphorous and other elements. It was declared a protected monument by the government in 1967 and is now under the jurisdiction of the Department of Antiquities. The meteorite’s dark colour is due to its high iron content, while its burnished look comes from the melting and other heating that occurred as the meteorite hurtled through the atmosphere towards earth.

To reach the site you’ll need your own vehicle. From Mbeya, follow the main road towards Tunduma. About 50km from Mbeya there’s a signposted turn-off to the left. From here, it’s 13km further down a dirt road (no public transport). During the wet season, you’ll need a 4WD. Otherwise, a 2WD can get through without difficulty, except perhaps for a tiny stream about 2km before the meteorite.