The small town of Mtwara is located on the coast of south-eastern Tanzania, along the rugged patch of coastline that leads to the country’s border with Mozambique. Elevated slightly along the Makonde Plateau, the area is one of the more remote locations in Tanzania. The town has one site of particular interest, St. Paul’s Church, which houses some remarkable murals of Biblical scenes painted by German priests.
Mtwara’s proximity to the Mnazi Bay-Ruvuma Estuary Marine Park means that visitors can experience some of the most isolated dive sites on the coast. Mtwara was originally built by the British as a centre for a vast agriculture scheme that involved groundnut plantations along Tanzania’s southern coast. The scheme was implemented after the Second World War, when the British had taken control of what was then Tanganyika from the Germans, and the groundnuts were expected to make up for post-war food shortages in the United Kingdom and to export to the rest of Europe. The plantations eventually failed, but the town of Mtwara remains. Mtwara makes an excellent supply stop for trips to the Mnazi Bay-Ruvuma Estuary Marine Park and is a good base for exploring nearby Mikindani.