The airport is 10km north of the centre; taxis should cost between Tsh15,000 and Tsh20,000.
Coastal Aviation has a daily flight to Arusha airport stopping at various Serengeti National Park airfields. It also flies to Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.
Fastjet flies daily to Dar. One-way fares to Bukoba/Dar average Tsh140,000/200,000.
Precision Air flies daily to Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and Kilimanjaro.
Flight schedules and destinations constantly change so it pays to check each airline's website for the latest. There are instances when a flight is cancelled due to lack of customers, so be prepared to make alternative plans at inconvenient times.
At the time of writing, the MV Victoria, which formerly connected Mwanza with Bukoba via its port in Kemondo, was not operating. Meanwhile, service on the Mwanza to Bukoba route began in January 2018 on the smaller MV Bluebird. For updates, check at Mwanza's north port. There is a daily ferry service connecting Mwanza with Ukerewe Island.
Crossing Mwanza Gulf
Until completion of the planned Busisi-Kigongo bridge (years in the future), travelling west from Mwanza along the southern part of Lake Victoria entails crossing the Mwanza Gulf by ferry. There are two ferries, each with advantages.
The Kamanga Ferry docks right in town, near the post office. It departs Mwanza hourly between 6am and 6.30pm, except Sunday when departures are every two hours from 8am to 6pm. If you’re travelling to Bukoba or anywhere along that highway, ask which ferry the bus will use; you may be able to save a trip to the bus station by boarding the bus here.
The government-run Busisi Ferry, also known as the Kigongo ferry (passenger/car Tsh400/6500), 30km south of Mwanza, has the advantage of the road west being paved. It also sails more often (every 30 minutes, 24 hours), but there are often delays, especially at peak commuting times. Many trucks also use this boat.
About 10km south of town, Nyegezi Bus Station handles buses to all points east, south and west including to Dar es Salaam (Tsh45,000, 15 to 17 hours), Arusha (Tsh35,000, 12 to 13 hours) and Moshi (Tsh45,000, 14 to 15 hours). The Arusha and Moshi buses go via Singida (Tsh25,000, six hours). There are no buses between Mwanza and Arusha via the Serengeti – you will need to catch these in Musoma. Buses also go to Babati (Tsh35,000, nine to 10 hours), Dodoma (Tsh30,000, 10 hours) and Iringa (Tsh60,000, 14 hours).
Buses to Bukoba (Tsh20,000, six to seven hours) via Chato (Tsh10,000) depart between 6am and 1pm and mostly use the Busisi Ferry, but if they’re redirected to the Kamanga Ferry in central Mwanza, you can meet them there.
Adventure is probably the best of several companies departing daily at 5.30am to Kigoma (Tsh40,000, 12 hours) via Tabora (Tsh15,000, six hours). You can also find buses to Kigoma taking the route via Kasulu. Both take about the same amount of time, but at the time of research, there was more tarmac going via Tabora than via Kasulu.
Buses for Musoma (Tsh10,000, three to four hours, last bus 4pm) and other destinations en route to the Kenyan border depart from Buzuruga Bus Station, 4km east of the centre.
There’s no need to travel to the bus stations to buy tickets since numerous ticket agencies are stationed near the old City-Centre Bus Terminal in a converted multistorey parking garage, where the various companies have agents in numbered shops spread over two floors. Before arriving, ask staff at your hotel to recommend the current best company for your route and to verify current prices. It's also recommended to go with a Tanzanian to purchase your ticket, to avoid the inevitable haggling.
Car & Motorcycle
Puma Gas Petrol Stand A 24-hour petrol station.
Mwanza is the terminus of a branch of the Central Line and trains run to Tabora (1st-class sleeping/2nd-class sleeping/economy Tsh29,600/22,700/11,800, 12 hours) on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday at 5pm. From Tabora, you can connect to Kigoma (Tsh31,700/24,200/12,500 from Tabora) or continue on to Dar es Salaam (Tsh76,100/54,800/25,000 from Mwanza). If travelling to Kigoma, you'll need to disembark in Tabora (arrivals are in the morning) and spend the day there before boarding the train to Kigoma in the evening. For Dar es Salaam, just stay on the same train.