Tanga

Overview

Introduction

The fairly uncrowded coastal town of Tanga (meaning "sail" in Kiswahili) was briefly the German colonial capital following the treaty between the Sultan of Zanzibar and the German East Africa Company. Today there is little to see but a walk around the faded colonial buildings, and tree-lined streets give a glimpse at how grand Tanga was in its heyday. There are good views to uninhabited Toten Island out in the bay, especially when the tide is low and the island's yellow sandstone cliffs are exposed.

The nearby Amboni Caves are one diversion from Tanga, located 5 mi/8 km to the north of town off the road to the Kenyan border. They are said to stretch all the way to Kilimanjaro, but be sure to hire a guide there to take you inside—the caves don't really go all the way to the mountain, but they are extensive and it is easy to get lost.

Another excursion from Tanga by is Pangani, which is 32 mi/52 km (or about an hour by bus) to the south. It's another sleepy stop along the coast—ideal for those who want to slow down and enjoy the beaches and nearby offshore islands. This strongly traditional Swahili port lies along the north bank of the Pangani River, which can be crossed by car and passenger ferry.

There's not much in the way of accommodation in Pangani itself, but a number of low-key beach resorts line the road back toward Tanga, and the lovely beach at Ushongo is about a 20-minute drive south of the Pangani ferry.

Tanga is surprisingly well-serviced by public transport, given that it lies on the coastal road to Kenya and flights link it to Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar and Pemba offshore. It is 209 mi/336 km north of Dar es Salaam.

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