Tabora region is in the central-western part of the country. The area of Tabora is 76,151 km² (approximately 9% of Tanzania). A total of 34,698 km² (46%) is forest reserve, and 17,122 km² (22%) is game reserve. Most economic activity in the region is agricultural. According to the 2002 Tanzania National Census the population of Tabora Region was 1,717,908.

Tabora Region comprises six districts: Urambo to the West, Nzega and Igunga to the North, Tabora Urban in the center, Uyui to the East, and Sikonge to the South.

Arab slave traders founded Tabora in 1852 but it was captured in 1891, when the Germans realized how prosperous the town was, and it became an administrative center of German East Africa. From 1852 to 1891, Tabora was the Arab’s slaving capital of East Africa – over 500,000 caravans passed through the town annually. Ivory and humans were bartered for guns, beads and cloth.

Historically, Tabora was once a major trading point and stopover for caravans that connected Lake Tanganyika and Central Africa with the coastal town of Bagamoyo to the northeast. Its’ former importance is illustrated by the fact that the infamous trader Tippu Tip, who lived during the 19th century, made Tabora the centre of his vast trading empire of ivory and slaves.

The town of Tabora grew … More even larger with the construction of the Central Railway line The town was also an important mission station during early European exploration of Tanzania. Stanley and Livingstone both stopped here on their journeys. Livingstone was based at Kwihala for a few months in the 1850’s. During the German occupation, Tabora was one of the most populated and prosperous towns in the whole of East Africa.

The sleepy town of Tabora, remains a key transit point in the country. The Central Line railway branches at Tabora to both Kigoma and Mwanza, and visitors traveling by train often use Tabora as a stopover point during their journeys. The regions around Tabora are famous throughout Tanzania for the honey they produce, and large jerry cans and bottles of the famous liquid can be bought in the village market.

The main attraction in Tabora is the Kwihala Museum, an Arabic-style house where Dr Livingstone stayed in 1872. The museum is dedicated to Livingstone and contains his memorabilia including letters, maps, pictures and a diary. Information about other early missionaries and explorers is also displayed.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Carol Walsh nee Banks June 6, 2011 at 6:27 pm

I was born in Tabora in May 1947, my father was the Assistant Superintendant of prinsons for the Territory of Tanganyika. We lived in Tabora, Bukoba, Tanga and Dar es Salam, my mother Doreen Banks is still living, she now lives close to me & my husband in Cambridge Ontario Canada. My parents loved to play tennis, and played in all the places we lived in, if any one remembers them please contact me.


jacqueline December 21, 2011 at 8:33 am

Apologies for the delay in replying! We are almost the same age, how interesting that you were born in Tabora & that they even had a hospital back then! Poley Ahmed the owner of the Orion Tabora Hotel might know of someone who knew your parents. It’s so in the middle of nowhere finding people who actually lived there tat long ago is like looking for a needle in a haystack! Good luck!
Let me know if you are interested in raising funds for a water well or a tank at a school in Tabora District in memory of your parents..
Regards, Jacqueline


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