All long-distance buses depart between about 5am and noon from the main bus stand just off Sokoine Rd near the market.
To Masasi (Tsh7000, four to five hours), there are roughly hourly departures between about 6am and 2pm.
To Songea (Tsh25,000, 10 hours), there is at least one departure daily at 6am.
To Lindi, there are direct buses daily at 6am and again usually at 8am (Tsh7000, three hours).
To Kilwa Masoko, there's no direct bus. You'll need to go first to Lindi and get onward transport from there, or take any Dar es Salaam–bound bus to Nangurukuru junction. For the latter option, you'll usually have to pay the full Dar price.
Direct buses to Newala (Tsh7500, six hours) usually use the southern route via Nanyamba. Departures from Mtwara are between 6am and 8am daily. At the time of research rehabilitation work was starting on this route, so enquire before setting off. It’s also possible to reach Newala via Masasi, and via Mtama (en route between Mnazi Mmoja junction and Masasi).
To Dar es Salaam (Tsh23,000, eight hours), there are numerous departures daily in each direction between 6am and 10am, starting and terminating at Temeke’s Sudan Market area, on Mbagala Rd, just east of Temeke Rd, where all the southbound bus lines also have booking offices. Book in advance. Some Dar es Salaam–Mtwara buses also start/terminate at Ubungo for approximately the same price.
To Mozambique, there are several pick-ups and at least one minivan daily to Mahurunga and the Tanzanian immigration post at Kilambo (Tsh5000), departing Mtwara between about 6am and 8am. This transport to Kilambo is from in front of Chilindima Guesthouse, one block southwest of the bus stand.
Car & Motorcycle
If you’re driving to or from Dar es Salaam, there are petrol stations in Kibiti, Ikwiriri (unreliable), Nangurukuru, Kilwa Masoko, Lindi and Mtwara. The road is now all paved.
For self-drivers between Mtwara and the Mozambique border at Kilambo, the best places for updated information on the Ruvuma River crossing are Old Boma at Mikindani and Ten Degrees South Lodge, both in Mikindani. At the time of research, Mozambique visas were being issued at the Kilambo border. However, this could change at any time, so get an update before setting your plans. There is no Mozambique consulate in Mtwara; the closest one is in Dar es Salaam.