Sukuma Museum

Museum in Lake Victoria

The Sukuma Museum in Bujora village is an open-air museum where, among other things, you’ll see traditional Sukuma dwellings, the grass house of a traditional healer, blacksmith’s tools and a rotating cylinder illustrating different Sukuma words for counting from one to 10. It is the site of the well-known Bulabo Dance Festival in June, where dancers compete using a variety of animals as props.

Among faded wooden sculptures, also on the grounds is the royal drum pavilion, built in the shape of a king’s stool, holding a collection of royal drums that are still played on church feast days, official government visits and other special events, and a round church with many traditional Sukuma stylings that was built in 1958 by David Fumbuka Clement, the Québecois missionary priest who founded the museum. English-speaking guides are available.

On request, the museum can organise on-the-spot performances of traditional drumming and dancing for Tsh130,000 (for up to nine people) per performance. It’s also possible to take Sukuma drumming lessons. You’ll need to negotiate a price with the instructors, but don’t expect it to be cheap.

Expect a little flexibility with Sunday opening times as it depends on 'when mass finishes'.

The museum has no-frills bandas (per person with meals Tsh30,000) in the style of Sukuma traditional houses and a campground (camping Tsh15,000). The accommodation is rarely used so you'll need to give advance notice. There’s a little bar and you can use the kitchen.

Bujora is 18km east of Mwanza off the Musoma road. Take a dalla-dalla (Tsh500, 30 minutes) to Kisesa from Uhuru Rd north of the market in Mwanza. From Kisesa, motorcycle taxis cost Tsh1000. Or, walk a short way along the main road and turn left at the sign, following the small dirt road for 1.7km along some twists and turns. A taxi from Mwanza, with waiting time, will cost Tsh60,000 to Tsh70,000.

En route from Mwanza, just past Igoma on the left-hand side of the road, is a graveyard for victims of the 1996 sinking of the Lake Victoria ferry MV Bukoba.