The bustling port of Tanga is Tanzania’s secondary port after the urban centre of Dar es Salaam. Yet although the port is a centre of marine export, import, and trade, the town of Tanga still has a quiet, laid-back feel to it, as if not much has changed over the decades. Indeed, along the older sections of the town, examples of old colonial architecture and a few Arab houses still give testament to the area’s importance during the heyday of Indian Ocean trade. The fish market and beaches make a pleasant stop during a day trip, and the city is a good place for buying supplies if you’re headed to one of the more remote areas of beaches on the northern coast.
Tanga was once another stopping point, in competition with Pangani and Bagamoyo, for caravans on their way to the hinterland of Central Africa searching for ivory and slaves. The Germans also made it a centre of colonial administration during their occupation in the early 20th century. Evidence of German presence can be found in Tanga’s architecture today, but few landmarks and historical buildings remain in the area. Tanga’s port, however, provides a main link between northern Tanzania and the Indian Ocean.