Long Way to London: Tanga to Bagamoyo (Tanzania)

One of my favorite pictures, taken with a Samsung mobile phone. Sunset in Tanga, Tanzania

Above: Sunset at the Indian Ocean, at the Tanga Yatch Club

Below: This is Tanzania’s best kept secret: Ushongo beach


The first thing that struck me when we crossed the border was the pristine condition of the highways.
I’m sure Kenya has lots of great roads, but I guess the grass is always greener on the other side. We whizzed down from the Lunga Lunga border post and raced towards Tanga, keen on getting there before sunset.

The road through Mwaboza and into Tanga
The road through Mwaboza and into Tanga

Tanga lies on one of Tanzania’s coastlines with the Indian Ocean. I had a bit of dizziness trying to orient myself – I just couldn’t figure out where on the Indian Ocean coastline we were. Thinking back now, I can picture it perfectly, but I just couldn’t make sense of it. I think because we had driven inland then turned back towards the coastline caused the disorientation. Anyhow, we enjoyed the smooth highway through the town of Mwaboza, and into Tanga.

Fisherman on the ocean at the shore of the yatch club
Fisherman on the ocean at the shore of the yatch club

We didn’t get to see much of the town, but our main stop was at the Tanga Yatch Club. After a refreshing glass of fresh juice, I happened to snap what I think was one of the best pictures of the journey so far. Sunset, in all its glory at the Indian Ocean. We settled for the night in the Regal Negris Hotel, and managed to catch that week’s episode of the show, Twende Kazi. The most absurd thing was seeing a mini plane in the campsite. I wish however they had let me sleep in there. I settled for a regular bed and a hot shower, and boy was I excited about that after camping for a while!

The ferry at Pangani
The ferry at Pangani

Up and moving the next day, we headed towards Pangani, whose history has the sad links of slavery. The town was known for its huge coconut plantations, which required labor, which was the fuel to slave trade. The Pangani River snakes through the district, providing the link to the ocean and the means to transport cheap slave labor. With a ferry to cross the river running at regular intervals, Pangani is easily accessible. We finally downed our bags at the Drifters Campsite, while others stayed at the Tides Camp next door. The sound of the ocean tide bashing against the beach was a great lullaby as we slept through the night.

Snoozing by the pier on Pangani River
Snoozing by the pier on Pangani River

Dawn broke and we were on the move again! We had to drive further along the coastline and through Saadani National Park, to the main road leading to Bagamoyo. We were quite thankful to be in 4×4 cars, as it rained that day, bogging down a lot of vehicles on the way. We had to stop several times to help a few stranded motorists get out of the mud quagmires. After about 4 hours, we emerged onto the main road to Bagamoyo.

Driving through the Saadani national park and onto the road connecting to Bagamoyo
Driving through the Saadani national park and onto the road connecting to Bagamoyo


The town of Bagamoyo is mostly associated with slave trade, and legend has it that the name came from a mashup of two Swahili words, “bwaga moyo”, which means to ‘lay down my soul’. However, little evidence support slave trade in this town, although there was major ivory and salt trade. The name might have come from the carriers who ferried things on their backs, and instead might have had connotations of ‘laying down your load and rest’.

Standing tall in the town is the old fort that was built by Abdullah Maharabi around 1860, taken over by the then Oman Arab Sultan Bargash, and later by the German forces. The structure is one of the oldest in Bagamoyo, and you can feel the history seeping through its walls and intricately carved wooden doors. This was our last town before we headed into Tanzania’s main city, Dar-es-Salaaam.

The old fort in Bagamoyo
The old fort in Bagamoyo

Read my previous post on this journey: Mombasa to Lunga Lunga


Where to Stay:


Regal Negris Hotel. Sadly I have no contacts, will keep looking.


Drifters’ Campsite:

Enjoy great views of the Ushongo Beach, one of Tanzania’s best kept secrets.

Call Drifters: +255 27 264 1071 , +255 714 542 909

Tides Lodge Hotel: Great atmosphere, amazing views of the ocean.

Click HERE for their website


Travellers’ Lodge and Campsite

Website here, Call: +255-744-85 54 85


Travel tip:

Change your money at the border post but be careful about it. Do check the internet or local dailies for the current exchange rate, and compare that to what is on offer.