Kilombero River

The Kilombero River is a major watercourse in Tanzania, originating in the Uluguru Mountains and flowing through the Kilombero Valley before eventually joining the Rufiji River. The river is an important source of water for irrigation, fishing, and transportation in the region, and is also home to a rich diversity of wildlife.

The Ulanga River, likewise known as the Kilombero River, originates on the eastern slope of the East African Rift in the highlands southwest of Morogoro Region, Tanzania. The river travels northeast along the Lindi Region’s northeastern boundary before joining the Rufiji River. The Rufiji finally empties into the Indian Ocean on the Pwani Region’s southern shore.


The Kilombero River or Ulanga River is approximately 300 kilometers in length, and its catchment area covers more than 44,000 square kilometers. The river flows through the Kilombero Valley, which is a floodplain that stretches for around 80 kilometers from north to south. The valley is bordered by the Mahenge and Udzungwa Mountains to the west, and the Uluguru Mountains to the east.


The Kilombero River and its surrounding wetlands are home to a wide variety of wildlife species, including hippos, crocodiles, elephants, and various species of fish. The river is particularly renowned for its excellent fishing opportunities, with several species of catfish and tilapia found in its waters. The river is also home to the Kilombero Weaver, a bird species that is found only in the Kilombero Valley.

Agriculture and Irrigation

The Kilombero Valley is an important agricultural region in Tanzania, with much of the land used for rice cultivation. The river is a vital source of water for irrigation, with several dams and weirs built along its course to regulate its flow and provide water for crops. The region is also home to several small-scale fisheries, which provide an important source of income and food for local communities.


The Kilombero River is an important transportation route in the region, with several small ports and landing sites located along its banks. Boats are used to transport people, goods, and produce between villages and towns in the region, and the river also provides a link to the larger markets and towns downstream.

Threats and Conservation

The Kilombero River and its surrounding wetlands are threatened by a range of factors, including habitat loss, pollution, and overfishing. Climate change is also having an impact on the region, with changing rainfall patterns and increasing temperatures affecting both agriculture and wildlife. Several conservation initiatives are underway in the region, aimed at protecting the river and its biodiversity, including efforts to promote sustainable agriculture and fishing practices, and to improve water management and conservation.


The Kilombero River is a vital resource for the people and wildlife of the Kilombero Valley, providing water for agriculture, transportation, and fishing. The river is also a unique and diverse ecosystem, home to a wide range of wildlife species and an important breeding ground for fish. While the river and its surrounding wetlands face a range of threats, conservation efforts are underway to protect this valuable resource and promote sustainable development in the region.

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