Swagaswaga Game reserve gazette on 1997 through the Government Notice No. 72. It is located in Chemba and Kondoa districts in Dodoma region and a small piece of its land falls in Singida district in Singida region. In the North, the reserve borders Hanang district of Manyara region.
The name Swagaswaga is anchored back to colonial epoch when the Arabs created a route from interior part of Tanganyika heading to Tanga via Singida region which was used to transport slaves, ivory and other products for shipping to Asia. When executing their business, the Arabs used to say “Songa Songa” to instruct slaves to move forward. Then, the native of Mtiryangwi village in Kondoa district, called the forest where the route was traversing as “Songa” to commemorate the event.
Later, the same route was used by Somali livestock traders to move their herds to the coast. It was a tiresome trip which required a place to rest for some days. They did that by camping at a hill situated at a distance of one kilometer North of Swagaswaga Game reserve. In order to continue with their journey, they ordered their assistants by saying “Swaga Swaga” which implied to move the livestock. Then, the Asi tribe of Mtiryangwi called the hill “Swaga Swaga”, which in turn became an official name of our reserve. To date, there are scars of the route which are conspicuous in the northern part of the reserve.
The reserve is ideal for photographic tourism as it harbors a diversity of wildlife species which are presented in different habitats. Also, the reserve offers a scenic brilliance of Bubu River whose sand relation during the day may make one feel as in the paradise and appreciate the mysteries of creation.
The reserve has undulating plateaus and hills which in combination provide places for hiking and related activities. Some of the best places for hiking are Githau and Amak’hee.
Star gazing and Sun bathing
During dry season the sky is free from clouds, hence it offers good presentation of stars at night, sunrise in the morning and sun set in the evening.
Archaeological and historical tourism
The reserve is rich in rock art paintings; hence it is the best place where archaeologists and other allied groups may come to experience fantastic artistic work which is thought to be dated back for approximately two millennia. The Germany ruin at Githau calls for tourists to, vividly, see how architectural work of that era was done and experience how the ruin was strategically set and reinforced to provide security during the WW II.
There is no any place in any county other than the Sandawe land in Tanzania where one can access and enjoy the Simboo dance. The dance demonstrates how the traditional hunters and gatherers of the Central Tanzania are spiritually bound to their ancestors. Dancers are selected from family members by ancestors who fill them with spirit of dancing and detecting witchcrafts in their vicinity
Rock art paintings
The reserve distinguishes itself from others by having more than 50 rock sites with more than 200 decorated rock shelters, caves and overhanging cliff faces. The paints are said to be date back more than 2000 years and were drawn by red pigment in the outline of steaky and silhouette styles to depict people, wild animals, stars, moon, comets, meteors and others alike. Paints are believed to have been drawn to convey different messages in relation to rituals, beliefs norms of conduct of the ancient hunters and gatherers of Central Tanzania-The Sandawe and cosmological events like fall of the meteors. Among others, Mialo, Koroma, Pengusee, Kongoro, Anga, Khat’sawase, Bulali, Simbo, Amak’hee and K’honx’oli are the sites with Eye-catching paints in the reserve.
Flora and Fauna
The Reserve has high density of plant and animal species which attract the visitors from different part of the world. To mention a few are Elephant, Giraffe, Zebra, Buffalo, Impala, Leopard, Spotted Hyena and Lion. The area is also rich in Greater and Lesser Kudu, Roan antelopes and Hartebeest. Some bird species in the reserve are Coli bustard, Pigeons, Guinea fowls, Eagles, Hornbills, Francolins, Herons, Hammercop, Cattle egret, Ground hornbill.
The Germany ruin
There is a Germany ruin at Githau hill which believed to be built before WWI. The hill probably to furnish for security purpose as the area gives a wide range of view as well as panoramic view of the Sandawe and Rangi lands.
Despite of the Reserve being located in semi-arid region of Central Tanzania with annual rainfall ranging from 600mm-800mm and temperature of 220C to 350C, its iconic vegetation is Miombo woodland. This becomes a salient feature to express the uniqueness of the reserve in the region. The woodland provides habitat, shelters and concealment to support wide and varied life forms of Avi-fauna.
The western part of the reserve is bordered by the former traditional hunter and gatherers tribe of Sandawe. Despite of the transformation the tribe passed, yet there are remnants of cultures that had retained as its identity. Simboo dance-the post-harvest, is one of its remarkable cultures in which dancers are filled with ancestral magical power to capacitate them to dance and detect superstition or witchcrafts when dancing. Dancers are also empowered to jump on fire and dance into and confront any fierce animal without being harmed.
Camping sites (special campsite) is allowed inside the reserve. Hostel facilities is also found. There is plenty, affordable and comfortable accommodation from hotels and lodges in Dodoma city depends on visitors preference.
The best time to visit the reserve is from the month of June to December.
Due to its proximity from the Capital City of Tanzania-Dodoma, the reserve is accessible by both road and air. Dodoma airport and Kondoa airstrip provides ideal landing places for those who wish to get closer to the reserve by air. Also, the reserve is accessible by roads from Kondoa town at a drive distance of 24 kilometers southwest and 147 kilometers North of Dodoma city.
Swagaswaga Game Reserve,