Very useful trip report here from Rupert Gude:
I have just done the Mwanza-Bukoba drive in an aged Rav4 going about 80-90kph when possible and it took 8 hours driving. Below are times (not including stops)and journey distance in (km).
0.00 Take Shinyanga road south, reasonable road,turn right at Usagara (26)on relief road, reasonably graded, besides new road that should open in next few months
0.45 Arrive Ferry to Busisi(36) Tsh 5,000 for car, 300 per person and 500 council tax
1.00 – 1.25 ferry takes 25 mins , left at half past the hour.
2.30 to Geita,(120)via Sengerema, excellent new road , still working on sides.
On right at beginning of Geita 2 new hotels
Goldbelt Hotel with large ‘beer garden’, fenced reasonable,clean doubles for 20,000. +255737804811,+255759904400
Also AGIF Hotel
3.10 Bwanga, (183) still excellent new road,turn right. unpaved road to Biraamulo is straight on
3.55 Chatto (237)a few pot holes but still generally excellent condition.
On the right(after NMB bank)is a new pub with thatched roof, did not stop but seemed good place
4.05 Nyamirembe (259)
4.25 Muganza (278) This is the new landing and setting off place for Rubondo. There is no where secure at the port to leave a car so our tour operator last year left his at a church about 2 km before the port.
5.05 (315) the road goes to to top of the escarpment and immediately after 7 concrete upended culvert section is a flat area to turn right and there ia a fabulous view point over the Lake and islands ( vies with irente view point!). It is on the left just after the 2 chevron signs coming the other way.
At the bottom of the hill over the first bridge over the side ditch and down a lane (unmarked)towards the lake is a small RC mission which has sodas, beers sometimes and patch of grass besides the lake to sit under an umbrella. It may develop into proper place as road improves.
The road skirts around the east and north edges of the National park going through the park for a few kms.
5.15 Join Biharamulo to Bukoba road (330). This road is unpaved and in poor condition to Muleba
However can be negotiated by ordinary car.
6.45 Muleba (362) new road opened in last month in middle of town, stretch north due to be opened in next few weeks.
8.00 Bukoba (435) excellent road with only one pot hole.
The road from Chatto to the top of escapment and from Muleba to kemondo Bay is stunning. It has virtually no traffic and looks down on the blue blue water of Lake Victoria. It reminded me a bit of the road down the Adriatic coast in Croatia or by an Italian Lake except no traffic.
North of Katoke on has on the left the Rubya/Ndolage escarpment on the left with the Ngoni valley at the base and on the right Lake Victoria with the islands scattered all over. One of my favourite roads in all TZ.
By the way Muleba ia the administrative HQ of the distict,has NMB bank but no port. The port is at Kemondo Bay about 25 km south of Bukoba and the ferry calls there about an hour before or after Bukoba. On the trip bukoba mwanza it is well worth while staying up to watch the loading of the bananas (matoke). The MV Victoria is covered from bow to stern with bananas.
The coffee trade has petered out due to low price.