At the point where the massive Pangani River empties itself into the Indian Ocean, a village has grown. The Pangani River passes through the northern side of the town, separating the old buildings and the present-day market from the farms and small houses on the southern side. The river itself requires a ferry to cross, its dark brown waters filled heavily 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.
Once a centre of Swahili trade with the African mainland; the town of Pangani is now a sleepy backwater with little memories of days of splendor. The old German administrative boma still stands behind a colonnade of tall shade trees and the former prison, painted a fading ochre red, looks over the river’s lazy waters. Old houses along the main road offer lived-in examples of colonial and traditional Swahili architecture, the buildings slowly crumbling against the monsoon winds. Visitors passing through the area would do well to explore what remains of the old town on foot. Even a short walk rewards visitors with a glimpse of quiet life in the old trading towns along the Swahili Coast.