Near the Zambian border deep in the southern highlands, the city of Mbeya is the major agricultural capital in the country’s south-west region. The Mbeya mountain range lies to the north, and the Poroto mountain range lies to the south-east. Large coffee and tea plantations, banana farms, and fields of cocoa are all grown around the region and come to Mbeya for packaging and transport. Mbeya’s location also makes it an idea transit point for good travelling by road and rail between Tanzania and neighbouring Zambia and Malawi.
In addition to its agricultural prosperity, Mbeya’s mineral wealth has attracted investment and provides the country with a good source of wealth. The town was originally founded in the 1930’s, when gold was discovered and a ‘gold rush’ ensued. But instead of running out and becoming a ghost town, Mbeya has continued to supply the country with a regular amount of gold. Its mountain views and pleasant weather make it a good stopover point for over land travellers heading south.