Iringa is an old German town from the colonial era. It is the capital of Iringa Region. It is the gateway to the southern part of the African Rift Valley and is located on top of a steep escarpment. At 1500m it is cool in the evenings.
The word Iringa is derived from the local tribal language, KiHehe, for 'strong place'. Iringa, as it is seen today, was built towards the end of the 19th century by the German Army as a fortress town to use as a base to put down the Hehe uprising lead by Chief Mkwawa. This uprising was called the 'maji maji' ('water water' ) rebellion because of the erroneous belief that sacred water could make you bullet proof. This was not the case and you can see the skull of chief Mkwawa at his old base at the village of Kalenga. The skull was returned to his grandson, who was the first speaker of the Tanzanian Parliament, on independence.
Iringa is a lively town with a vibrant market and busy night-life. There are no top end hotels in town but there are several reasonable mid range establishments. Just out of town is Kisolanza Farm which is a very nice place to stay.
Isimila Stone Age Site is about 15 km from town along the Tan-Zam Highway towards Mafinga. Isimila has yielded one of the richest collections of stone age tools known anywhere in the world and is said to be one of the earliest examples of a factory - producing tools and arrowheads.