Tanga, Tanzania

Tanga is both the name of the most northerly seaport city of Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

, and the surrounding Tanga Region
Tanga Region
Tanga Region is one of the 26 regions of Tanzania. The regional headquarters is in Tanga. According to the 2002 Tanzania National Census, the region has a population of 1,642,015 people....

. It is the Regional Headquarters of the region.

With a population of 243,580 in 2002, Tanga is one of the largest cities in the country. It is a quiet city compared to, for example, Arusha
Arusha is a city in northern Tanzania. It is the capital of the Arusha Region, which claims a population of 1,288,088, including 281,608 for the Arusha District . Arusha is surrounded by some of Africa's most famous landscapes and national parks...

 or Moshi
Moshi is a Tanzanian town with a population of 144,739 in Kilimanjaro Region. The town is situated on the lower slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro, a volcanic mountain that is the highest mountain in Africa....

 with a comparable number of inhabitants.

The city of Tanga sits on the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

, near the border with Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

. Major exports from the port of Tanga include sisal
Sisal is an agave that yields a stiff fibre traditionally used in making twine, rope and also dartboards. The term may refer either to the plant or the fibre, depending on context...

, coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

, tea
Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by adding cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant to hot water. The term also refers to the plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world...

, and cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

. Tanga is also an important railroad terminus, connecting much of the northern Tanzanian interior with the sea. Via the Tanzania Railways Corporation
Tanzania Railways Corporation
The Tanzania Railways Corporation ' is a state-owned enterprise that runs one of Tanzania's two main railway networks.When the East African Railways and Harbours Corporation was dissolved in 1977 and its assets divided between Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, TRC was formed to take over EARH's railway,...

's Link Line and Central Line, Tanga is linked to the African Great Lakes
African Great Lakes
The African Great Lakes are a series of lakes and the Rift Valley lakes in and around the geographic Great Rift Valley formed by the action of the tectonic East African Rift on the continent of Africa...

 region and the Tanzanian economic capital of Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam , formerly Mzizima, is the largest city in Tanzania. It is also the country's richest city and a regionally important economic centre. Dar es Salaam is actually an administrative province within Tanzania, and consists of three local government areas or administrative districts: ...

. The city is served by Tanga Airport
Tanga Airport
Tanga Airport is a small airport serving Tanga in Tanzania. The airport served 5,865 passengers in 2003.-Airlines and destinations:...


The harbour and surrounding is the centre of life in Tanga. It is stretched out several km² into the country. It has several markets in several neighbourhoods.


Tanga was chosen in 1889 as a military post of German East Africa
German East Africa
German East Africa was a German colony in East Africa, which included what are now :Burundi, :Rwanda and Tanganyika . Its area was , nearly three times the size of Germany today....

, and became a district office in 1891. The local economy was based on sisal
Sisal is an agave that yields a stiff fibre traditionally used in making twine, rope and also dartboards. The term may refer either to the plant or the fibre, depending on context...

, which had been brought to the colony several years earlier, and population in the area grew rapidly. The town was also established as the terminus of the Usambara railway line, which runs inland to Moshi
Moshi is a Tanzanian town with a population of 144,739 in Kilimanjaro Region. The town is situated on the lower slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro, a volcanic mountain that is the highest mountain in Africa....

 at the foot of Kilimanjaro.

The name Tanga comes from the word for farm or cultivated land in several of the local languages (including Sambaa, Bondei
The Bondei are an ethnic group based in the Usambara Mountains of Tanga Region in northeastern Tanzania. Bondei speak a Bantu language and are related to the Shambaa ethnic group. Population is roughly 100,000.-References:...

, and Zigua
Zigua may refer to:* Zigua people, ethnic group in Tanzania* Zigua language, their language...

). Tanga gave its name to Tanganyika
Tanganyika , later formally the Republic of Tanganyika, was a sovereign state in East Africa from 1961 to 1964. It was situated between the Indian Ocean and the African Great Lakes of Lake Victoria, Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika...

, literally meaning "Sisal Farm", the territory which in 1964 joined with the island of Zanzibar
Zanzibar ,Persian: زنگبار, from suffix bār: "coast" and Zangi: "bruin" ; is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, in East Africa. It comprises the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of the mainland, and consists of numerous small islands and two large ones: Unguja , and Pemba...

 to form the modern nation of Tanzania.

As the coastal town closest to Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

, Tanga was on the front line at the outset of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. A British landing was thrown back on 4 November 1914 in the Battle of Tanga
Battle of Tanga
The Battle of Tanga, sometimes also known as the Battle of the Bees, was the unsuccessful attack by the British Indian Expeditionary Force “B” under Major General A.E. Aitken to capture German East Africa during World War I in concert with the invasion Force “C” near Longido on the slopes of...

, and the town was not taken until 7 July 1916.


Tanga is served by a metre gauge
Metre gauge
Metre gauge refers to narrow gauge railways and tramways with a track gauge of . In some African, American and Asian countries it is the main gauge. In Europe it has been used for local railways in France, Germany, and Belgium, most of which were closed down in mid 20th century. Only in Switzerland...

 railway of the national railway system.

The site of an alternative port is at Mwambani Bay.


Tanga area medical institutions include:

Tourist sites

Nearby tourist attractions include Amboni Caves
Amboni Caves
The Amboni Caves are the most extensive limestone caves in East Africa. They are located 8 km north of Tanga City in Tanzania off the Tanga-Mombasa road. The caves were formed about 150 million years ago during the Jurassic age. It covers an area of 234 km². According to researchers the area was...

, Galanos hot spring
Hot spring
A hot spring is a spring that is produced by the emergence of geothermally heated groundwater from the Earth's crust. There are geothermal hot springs in many locations all over the crust of the earth.-Definitions:...

s, Saadani national park
National park
A national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or owns. Although individual nations designate their own national parks differently A national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or...

, Toten Island
Toten Island
Toten Island is situated off the Tanga harbour in Tanzania. It is within the Tanga Bay. The Island contains ruins of two mosques and tombs. The name comes from the German word for "dead bodies" alluding to the numerous graves on the island....

, URITHI Tanga Museum, Tanga War Graves and Memorials, Tongoni Ruins
Tongoni Ruins
Tongoni is a small fishing village 17km south of Tanga in Tanzania. It is famous for the 15th Century ruins of a mosque and forty tombs that are found in the village. Tongoni was a different place four to five centuries ago...

, Ndumi Village defense works, Mwarongo sand beaches and protected coastal mangrove
Mangroves are various kinds of trees up to medium height and shrubs that grow in saline coastal sediment habitats in the tropics and subtropics – mainly between latitudes N and S...

s. For more information visit Tanga cultural heritage tourism

Sports and culture

Tanga is represented in the Tanzanian Premier League
Tanzanian Premier League
Tanzanian Premier League is the top division of the Football Association of Tanzania, it was created in 1965. The competition was simply known as national league and later First Division Soccer League until the name Premier league was adopted in 1997.-Format:...

 by the football club Coastal Union
Coastal Union
Coastal Union is a Tanzanian football club based in Tanga..They play in the top level of Tanzanian professional football, the Tanzanian Premier League.Their home games are played at Mkwakwani Stadium.-Achievements:...

Tanga is a Persian word with four meanings: straight; a green valley; the road beside a mountain river; and a farm on a rolling hill or mountain.

Much of Tanga’s heritage is being lost to the vestige of time. This loss is further exacerbated by the unfortunate socio-economic situation in the town and the region.
Concern for this historically significant loss motivated a small group of Tanga residents to establish Urithi with the mission to conserve and promote the heritage of Tanga.
There are many aspects of the heritage of Tanga; the history, the people and their culture, arts and crafts, buildings and architectures, languages and natural environments. The intention of the founders of Urithi is to conserve as much as possible of this heritage and where possible to make use of this heritage in present day activities. To educate and train the new generation in the useful aspects of the heritage and to derive socio-economic benefit for the town and the region from this heritage.
However, it would be folly to believe that Urithi, on its own, could achieve the magnanimous task of conserving and promoting all aspects of Tanga’s heritage.

URITHI was established in 1999 to conserve and promote the heritage of Tanga, AND by then the Board Members were as follows:
Chairman: Tamim Amijee
V/chairman: Steven Kimambo
Secretary: Yakub Hasham
Treasurer: Alnoor Hussein
Members: Joseph Kotta
Mohamed Majura
Jaring van Rooijen
Luuk Schoonman

• Complete rehabilitation of Usambara Courthouse.
• Establish Urithi office and an efficient working organization structure
• Start a museum of Tanga and tourist information centre
• Establish a research and documentation centre
• Determine a priority list of the heritage of Tanga
• Undertake research on Tanga’s history
• Hold another 100 years of Tanga’ celebrations in September 2001
• Establish a national and International network of friends, supporters and relevant organizations
• Publish a quarterly newsletter; maintain a website

• Publish publicity and educational materials to raise awareness of heritage of Tanga and to promote tourism
• Rehabilitate the Clock Tower and adjacent area.

• Undertake rehabilitation of at least two other key historical buildings
• Train youths and develop skills in rehabilitation work, art and crafts, research, promotions and other related areas which can assist in self employment and income generating activities.

• Work closely with the Municipal Council and the Antiquities Department to establish guidelines for conservation and development of historic part of town.
• Raise the funds necessary to implement the plan.

Chairman: Mohamed Majura
V/Chairman: Alnoor Hussein
Secretary: Raymond Mhando
Treasurer: Luuk Schoonman
Members: Joel Niganile

It is located along the Independent Revenue Road. The building was formerly used as Germany Province Commissioner’s administration building and thereafter British administration. He used to leave upstairs and the ground floor was used as offices. After Independence, the building was taken by the government and Regional Commissioner used the same building for administration purposes as well as home stay. After a while the building was left bare after RC offices being shifted to Gofu area.
Urithi Tanga Museum depicts mostly culture of the region itself, from the ancient times to the present, based on tangible and intangible heritage. The building is one of the ancient buildings that were built in 1890 during the colonial period.
Burton, the explorer, described Tanga in 1857 as “patch of thatched” pent roofed huts, built upon a bank overlooking the sea”. He estimated the population to be 4000-5000, which included fifteen Baluchis and twenty Indians merchants. The town was under the rule of Sultan of the Zanzibar.
Tanga got a short in the arm with the coming of the Germans to East Africa in the last quarter of 19th Century. Tanga settlement probably offered least resistance to the Germans compared to, for example, Pangani which put up stiff resistance. The Germans took control of the coastal area from the Sultan of Zanzibar in April 1891. In the same year, Tanga was designated a township.
About 1 million visitors every year visit towns and cities around Tanga, Mombasa and other cities, though Tanga has an ability to accommodate even more than 10,000 visitors every year, yet the city receives less than 2000 visitors every year.

Shaaban Robert was born at Vibambani village near Machui, 10 km south of Tanga town, on New Year’s day of the year 1909. His parents were of the Mganga clan of the Wayao trible from southern parts of the country. He, however, never considered himself a Yao preferring to simply be one among the Waswahili. There is confusion on how he obtained the name Robert, a European name, completely alien to his African Islamic background. One past record indicates that it was a name of his father while another states that it was not his father’s name.
He received his education at Msimbazi School in Dar es Salaam between 1922 and 1926. He started working with the Colonial Civil Service as clerk at the customs department in Pangani in 1926. He remained at this department for eighteen years till 1944. During this time he produced many of his literary works. In total, he wrote 22 books of prose, essay and poems.
He died on the 22nd of June 1962 and was buried at Machui, near his birth place. He was married thrice and had ten children.
For more information about Tourism Contact: +255713131775 or +255783467213 .

Twin towns - sister cities

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    , Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

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    , Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
    Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
    The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is a partially recognised state that claims sovereignty over the entire territory of Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony. SADR was proclaimed by the Polisario Front on February 27, 1976, in Bir Lehlu, Western Sahara. The SADR government controls about...

     Toledo, Ohio
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    Toledo is the fourth most populous city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Lucas County. Toledo is in northwest Ohio, on the western end of Lake Erie, and borders the State of Michigan...

    , USA
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    Kemi is a town and municipality of Finland. It is located very near the city of Tornio. It was founded in 1869 by royal decree, because of its proximity to a deep water harbour....

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    Weihai is a city in eastern Shandong Province, People's Republic of China. It is the easternmost prefecture-level city of the province and a major seaport. Between 1898 and 1930, the town was a British colony known as Weihaiwei or the Weihai Garrison , and sometimes as Port Edward...

    , China
    Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

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