Tanga

Tanzania

Tanga, 83 nautical miles from Mombasa and 74 miles from Zanzibar, is an important port in Tanganyika (now Tanzania).

Vessels lie off the town and passengers land by boat.

Tanga was founded by the German traveller, Hermann von Wissmann, and is situated on a plateau overlooking the harbour and Tanga bay. It is laid out among avenues of trees including many lofty palms. The northern and western shore of the Bay are bordered by mangroves and at the head of the bay is a mangrove swamp.

There was an earlier settlement on the island in the Bay some half-mile to the north of the harbour, known as Toten Island. A native superstition based on a legend, foretells death to anyone who goes to live on Toten Island and an Arab settlement, and of later years, a German Mission, have had to be abandoned for this reason. The natives regard the place as haunted.

The River Sigi (Mgambo) which runs into Tanga Bay is navigable for a few miles until rapids impede its course.

Tanga is the terminus for the Usambara Railway, which extends 279 miles inland to Moshi and Arusha in the Northern Province. From these stations the magnificent mountains of Kilimanjaro and Meru may be seen.

The town was attacked by the British in November 1914 but they were repulsed with heavy loss, and it was eventually captured by General Smuts in July 1916.

In the vicinity of Tanga are large plantations of coconut palms and sisal. The principal exports are sisal, timber, coconut oil, hides and skins and kapok.

The Amboni Caves, 5 miles from Tanga, are limestone caverns in picturesque surroundings

From Rodney Gascoyne

Heading North on the East African coast, the last port in Tanzania was Tanga, where we loaded sisal, a form of hemp for making ropes and other useful materials. The Intermediates only called there northbound in the last few years of service in the 1960s.

Our stay was a matter of hours and occasionally, passengers could also be exchanged. It was possible to get ashore quickly but not a lot to do or see.

I was able to walk around the port and also into the small town, where the daily market was being held, mainly of fruits, vegetables and other daily needs of the locals, under cover in a special building with open sides. It was an interesting and colourful sight, well worth the walk from the ship. On sailing, we moved on overnight to Mombasa and Killindini harbour for a multiple day stay.

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