The best beaches are on the spice islands of Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia and at Bagamoyo and Pangani on the mainland. These places offer beautiful beaches for relaxation along with a spectacular marine-life and water sports just off shore. Being much less known it is much more peaceful than Zanzibar and the beaches around Pangani are virtually unspoilt. There is a variety of accommodation available although many use the Argovia Lodge. Tanzania’s whimsical tinga tinga art originated in Zanzibar.
The pleasant town of Pangani, surrounded by attractive beaches and stretches of mangroves, is a backwater that sees few visitors apart from the odd fisherman or transiting backpacker. Once upon a time, however, Pangani, along with Tanga and Bagamoyo, was the site of a violent rebellion against brutal German rule. Step back in time in the sleepy unhurried pace of Bagamoyo town. Several historical sites in and around the town serve as reminders for the strong Arabic influence and later German, British colonial era in Tanganyika . In 1810, the Arabs constructed the central boma building, people were buried alive under the pillars during construction as it was believed this would ensure strong foundations.
The Germans developed the town as entry port for the settlers. The harbour and surrounding is the centre of life in Tanga, with its hotels, bars and several markets in several neighbourhoods. Pangani is an ancient town, and is believed to have been established before the 6th Century BC and played an important role during the slave trade era. It was a trading port dealing mainly with slaves and ivory.
Although Pangani is more difficult to reach than Dar and Zanzibar, travelers who are ready for a quiet and relaxing visit to the beach might want to check this new recommended destination. Currently the only five star hotel in Dar-Es-Salaam. It fully lives up to the reputation and standard of the International chain. The Tides can arrange transfers to Saadani and Pangani, and even has it’s own airstrip if you want to charter your own plane to Zanzibar or Dar es Salaam. Well worth a visit.
Activities include excellent water sport, swimming with dolphins on Maziwi Island, Snorkelling, Hiking in the forest and a sunset cruise along the river. The lodge is in essence, a retreat for ocean enthusiasts with a fully stocked dive centre and a fleet of boats to cater for snorkeling, diving and fishing. Snorkelling (take your own gear) above coral reefs is possible, but only in calm weather, near Maziwe island. There is no diving immediately at hand, but it can be arranged on the larger island of Pemba.
The river itself requires a ferry to cross, its dark brown waters heavy with alluvial silt as it meanders slowly into the ocean. On either side of the little town, coconut palms and sisal plantations undulate towards the horizon. It took me on very dark internal journey of anxiousness, stress, guilt, and depression. Starting nearby the port, a large team of 40 to 50 workers dehusk and haul giant mounds of coconuts which are transported by road to Dar es Salaam and other Inland Market Centres. After experiencing this labor intensive process, cruises begin down the river Pangani where Hippos, crocodiles lurk and fishermen reel in their day’s catch.