Elevated bastion

High on a cliff overlooking the valley of the small Ruaha River, Iringa – once built by the Germans as a bastion against the local Hehe people – is now a nice base for the southern parks of Tanzania and in particular the Ruaha National Park, the famous Isimila stone age site and the Igeleke rock drawings.

Iringa town is a cool refuge at 1,600 meters above sea level, stretching along the ridges and valleys of the Udzungwa Mountains.

  • Height 1,600 meters
  • Inhabitants 151,000
  • spring rainy season around April
  • autumn rainy season around November

About Iringa Town

Iringa is a pleasant small town in the southern highlands, with a focus on regional agriculture.
The streets are quiet and peaceful, and the market offers a colorful scene of traditional African culture.
A popular stopping point for visitors to Ruaha National Park.

Culture and products in Iringa

Iringa stretches along a hilltop of the Udzungwa Mountains overlooking the Little Ruaha River to the south, and extends further along ridges and valleys to the north. The area surrounding the town is more than 1600 meters above sea level.

The agricultural sector is the main product of Iringa town; regional agriculture and food processing. Various types of grain are grown and tobacco, but also vegetables and fruit. Iringa is the administrative capital of the Iringa region.

The main ethnic group of Iringa Town are the Hehe; Bantu-speaking farmers occupying the Iringa region of southern Tanzania. In 1898 they were subdued by the German troops after seven years of resistance until 1926. The Hehe practice a grain farming, with maize (maize) being the main crop. They are also livestock farmers and hire out as farm labourers.

Religion revolves around the cult of ancestors for the Hehe, but Christianity and Islam also have many followers.

Climate and Seasons in Iringa

Iringa is one of the coldest regions in Tanzania due to its geographical location. Iringa has a fairly dry subtropical highland climate adjacent to a tropical savanna climate with a wet season from December to April.

The temperature in Iringa is 18.5 degrees on average over a year. There is 700 mm of precipitation. In the months of June, July and August the temperatures are low around the freezing point.

June to October
During this dry period there is almost no rain. The temperatures are lowest in July, with an average of 16 degrees during the day and 11 degrees at night. But temperatures at night can also approach freezing. In the other months of this period, the temperatures during the day rise slightly to about 23 degrees max. and the nights are also cool.

This is the warmest month, with temperatures around 26 degrees in the afternoon and a minimum of 14 degrees in the early morning. The rain showers are increasing.

December to April
The wet period in which almost all rain falls, with the most precipitation in January. There is a shower almost every day. Temperatures average 20 degrees during the day and 15 degrees at night. The humidity is high.

March to May
Just like the rains, temperatures drop considerably during this period. It no longer rains every day and shorter and shorter. Temperatures are around 21 degrees during the day and 12 degrees at night.

Interesting facts

1. The name Iringa is derived from the Hehe word lilinga, which means fortress.

2. The surrounding areas can be surveyed from the town.

3. Due to its high location, 1,600 meters high, the inhabitants of Iringa are not unfamiliar with snow.

4. Historically, Iringa was a center of colonial rule.

5. During the German occupation, the German army built the town in the 1890s as a fortified defense against marauding Hehe tribesmen who wanted to drive them out of the region. The uprising, one of the first against German rule, was led by chieftain Mkwawa, who was headquartered in the nearby village of Kalenga.

6. It was only after seven years of resistance that Chief Mkwawa was defeated. In order not to fall into the hands of the Germans, the chief committed suicide in 1898. As proof that the uprising had ended, his head was sent to Berlin.

7. In and around Iringa there was also a lot of fighting during the First and Second World War. Just outside the town are the Commonwealth war graves.


Iringa Town is not only a base for the southern parks, but also offers fun activities in the field of: culture, history and nature.

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City tour

To get a good impression of the town, its surroundings and the sights, a city tour is definitely recommended.

Due to the German rule, there are also many interesting buildings that remind you of Germany.

Gangilonga Rock

Gangilonga is the Hehe word for ‘talking stone’.

Located just outside the town, the Gangilonga Rock is a legendary place where Hehe’s then chief, Chief Mkwawa, met his people and decided how to fight the Germans.

Igeleke Hills

The Igeleke Hills near Iringa contain famous rock paintings.

Isimila site

The ‘Isimila stone age site’ dates back to the Stone Age and contains archaeological artifacts, especially stone tools, from human habitation about 70,000 years ago. And the era of Homo erectus about 400,000 years ago.

In addition to traces from the Stone Age, many bones and fossil remains have also been found. For example of elephants, a sivatherium (giraffe with a short neck) and an extinct hippo species. The finds are in the National Museum in Dar es Salaam.

Due to water and wind erosion, gorges and pillars have formed in this area.

Mkwawa Museum

Mkwawa Museum, also called the Kalenga Museum, extensively tells the story of the Hehe people and chieftain Mkwawa and their relationships with other peoples.

The village of Kalenga is located just outside Iringa Town.

The chief’s skull is also located in the museum. The head of Mkwawa was sent to Berlin after his suicide in 1898 as proof of his death, but returned in 1954.

The current chief of the Hehe population lives next to the museum.

Iringa Boma

The Iringa Boma, a former German military hospital, is the regional culture-historical museum.

Its German colonial architecture combined African, Swahili and European styles.

Here you will learn about the customs, traditions and ways of life of the different inhabitants of Iringa. Original and current inhabitants.

Animals in the environment

In Iringa Tanzania itself there are no wild animals, just the usual pets and birds.

In the nearby Ruaha National Park you can enjoy the buffalo, elephants, lions, leopards along the rivers (Ruaha, Mwagusi Sand and Mdonya) and antelopes.

Imagining yourself in Iringa Town yet?

Have a look at the example trips that can be customized to your specific preferences or contact us directly!

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Accommodations in Iringa Town

The accommodations in Iringa Town have been selected with care and attention.
Small scale, hospitality and quality are paramount.

Iringa Sunset Hotel

Iringa town, South Tanzania
Luxury hotel
€40 to €65 pppn (lodging & breakfast)

Saivilla hotel

Iringa town, South Tanzania
Cozy lodge
€50 to €55 pppn (lodging & ontbijt)