Bustling, green-leafed Bukoba has an attractive waterside setting and a pleasing small-town feel. Everyone who comes to visit here seems to like it, even though it’s a little hard to put your finger on exactly why. The town traces its roots to 1890, when Emin Pasha (Eduard Schnitzer), a German doctor and inveterate wanderer, arrived on the western shores of Lake Victoria as part of efforts to establish a German foothold in the region. Since then, the second-largest port on the Tanzanian lakeshore has quietly prospered, thanks to the income generated by coffee, tea and vanilla farming.
In September 2016, the area was hit by a magnitude 5.7 earthquake, which levelled many of the earthen-brick dwellings. Shortly afterwards, extremely heavy rains caused floods and more devastation. The city has now bounced back from these disasters though, and has returned to being a great spot to visit any time of year.