Tanzania Mainland Coast

One of Tanzania’s best kept secrets, the mainland East Coast boasts magnificent stretches of broad, powder-soft beaches with a wild and expansive feel, set against a rich backdrop of lush mangrove forests, river deltas, cashew plantations and charming thatched villages. It’s best to avoid the tropical rains of March to May, and it can get very hot during the popular December to February holiday season, so the ideal time to visit is during the pleasantly warm June to October months.

Most travellers arrive via the bustling town of Dar Es Salaam,Tanzania’s largest city. Although not the capital, and still touched to some extent by poverty, this commercial and cultural hub is firmly set on a path towards prosperity. Many travellers choose not to stay overnight, but those who do will be pleasantly surprised by the town’s colourful markets, churches, museums and eclectic restaurants.

Tanzania’s East Coast is perfect for adventurous travellers seeking a pure and restful barefoot beach experience, untainted by hectic activity schedules or commercial feel. While this is not a top destination for divers (there is no significant coral), and the coastline may not be home to the myriad activities Zanzibar and other islands can offer just offshore, it is without doubt one of Africa’s hidden treasures and a wonderful hide-away in its own right, offering laid-back tranquillity and great value for money in an enchanting and relatively untouched setting.

The Tanzanian north coast is a section of coast renowned for its quiet and excellent beaches, such as Pangani, Saadani, Ushongo and Bagamoyo. It is somewhat more accessible than the south coast, and regional airlines are now providing scheduled charters to most points of interest, where there are also many good beach hotels.

Pangani, 250 kilometres north of Dar es Salaam, is an anceint and unspoiled small town founded in 1820 at the mouth of the Pangani River. It occupies a wonderful river location, and with its walled waterfront and the Omani buildings, it is a great place to get out of the hustle and bustle of the main beach resorts. There are a couple of budget guesthouses on the beach front; Mkoma Bay is a short distance away and The Tides boutique hotel is about 40 minutes drive from town. We offer special packages to Pangani and The Tides and also you can combine those with a safari, including a Saadani NP safari - see below.

Saadani National Park, a newly gazetted park, is located halfway between Pangani and Bagamoyo, and is among the only places in Tanzania where you might go on a morning safaro game drive before spending the afternoon snorkelling. This is not a place where you will come to see the ‘Big 5’, but it is the ideal place to combine a different safari with snorkelling, diving and relaxation - all in one day.

Bagamoyo is the closest that you will get to a typical beach resort in mainland Tanzania, situated on a strip of white, sandy beach that stretches as far as the eye can see. The old town has not changed a lot since the early 19th century, and offers a number of attractions. It is worth visiting the Holy Ghost Mission, Livingstone’s deathbed, which is now a museum on Bagamoyo’s history. It is also worth visiting the nearby Kaole Ruins.

Tanzania’s far south coast has everything that you would expect from a tropical beach holiday with endless beaches lined with palm trees and offshore reefs. There are only two things that are missing from this scene, infrastructure and tourists.

The Island of Kilwa Kisiwani, about 300 km south of Dar es Salaam, is where you will find the superb medieval Kilwa Ruins. Kilwa was a very important gold-trading centre during the early 14th century. Here you will find beautiful Swahili architecture, including elaborate mosques, an old well system which is still in use, and a seafront fort dating back to the Portuguese occupation. Nearby Kilwa Kivinje is a beautiful old fishing village which dates back to the early 19th century, when it acted as an important coastal trading link