The long beaches of mainland Tanzania are rarely visited compared to the famous Zanzibar archipelago. From the coastal metropolis of Dar es Salaam, with its nearly 6 million inhabitants, up to the important port and industrial city of Tanga, near the border with Kenya, you will find gems such as the old German colonial capital of Bagamoyo and the Arabic-influenced Pangani.
On the mainland coast opposite Ugunja Island, the main island of the Zanzibar archipelago, lies the rarely visited Saadani National Park. This park, formed only in 2005, is the only one in Tanzania where you can swim in the Indian Ocean directly after a hot and exhausting game drive or safari trip in a 4×4 vehicle. The Saadani National Park borders directly on the sea and is home to green monkeys, various bird species and the rare green turtles.
A beach vacation on the Tanzania coast is ideal for people who like things a little less touristy. Many of our guests who travel Tanzania for a second time decide to stay on the coast between Dar es Salaam and Tanga after a South Tanzania Safari.
For this, a flight with your international airline to Dar Es Salaam is a good option. We have provided a selection of hotels and lodges divided into the three areas Dar es Salaam, Bagamoyo and Pangani for you.
Dar es Salaam
Until 1974 Dar es Salaam was the capital of Tanzania. It is the country's most important city in the arts, fashion, media, music, film and television, and is a leading financial center in the region.
Two of the most famous museums in Dar are the National Museum and the Makumbusho Cultural Center & Village Museum. The National Museum is dedicated to the history of Tanzania, most notably displaying some of the bones of Paranthropus boisei, one of the finds at Olduvai Gorge in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The Makumbusho Cultural Center & Village Museum on the outskirts of town on the road to Bagamoyo displays traditional huts from 16 different Tanzanian ethnic groups. Near the National Museum are also the botanical gardens with tropical plants and trees.
There are beaches on the Msasani Peninsula north of Dar es Salaam and at Kigamboni in the south. Trips to the nearby islands of the Dar es Salaam Marine Reserve are a popular day trip from the city and a place for snorkeling, swimming and sunbathing.
Well-known beaches near the city include Coco Beach (not good for swimming, but nice beach bars), Kigamboni (fine sandy beach, clean water) and at Bongoyo Island (perfect swimming conditions), which you can reach by boat from Msasani.
The city of Bagamoyo (also Bagamojo) was founded at the end of the 18th century. It was the original capital of German East Africa and was one of the most important trading ports along the East African coast. Today the city has about 30,000 inhabitants and is the capital of Bagamoyo District.
A walk through the narrow, unpaved streets of Bagamoyo will take you back to the mid-19th century, when the city was one of the most important settlements on the East African coast and the terminus of the trade caravan route between the interior and the sea. Slaves and ivory were unloaded here before being shipped onward to Arabia, India and Europe. The architecture of European origin is slowly falling apart, but is still beautiful to look at. The Arab influence is typical of an old city on the Swahili Coast.
The sights of Bagamoyo are mainly the old German colonial buildings and the Kaole ruins, with one of the oldest mosques in East Africa. There are two museums, the small Caravan Serai (documentation on slave trade) and the Museum of the Catholic Diocese, where the old splendor of the city is revived with interesting displays. The College of Arts in the south of the city is one of the most famous in Tanzania, so the area is home to many artists.
For more information we recommend a visit to the colleagues of theFreundeskreis Bagamoyo e.V., who do important (voluntary) work with cultural exchange and other programs.
Pangani is a small town in northeastern Tanzania, located 45 km south of Tanga at the mouth of the Pangani River. This important river is fed by the mountains of Kilimanjaro and Meru before its waters flow into the Indian Ocean. The town has Arab, German, Asian and British influences and is a place where Swahili traditions and modern hospitality blend together.
Pangani offers a beautiful coastline with clean beaches where endangered turtles, coral reefs and a wide variety of tropical marine life can be found. The Pangani River flows through the north side of the city, separating the old buildings and current market from the farms and small houses on the south side. A ferry is required to cross the river. The dark brown water is heavily filled with mud and slowly meanders into the ocean. On either side of the town, coconut palms and sisal plantations undulate toward the horizon.
Once an important trading center for the sultans on the African mainland, the town is now a sleepy little nest. The old German administration building still stands behind a colonnade of tall trees. Old houses along the main street offer good examples of colonial and traditional Swahili Coast architecture. The old town can be easily explored on foot. A nice day trip is a visit to Maziwe Marine Park Island, here you can watch dolphins and enjoy the warm turquoise blue ocean on the fine sandy beach.
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