Swahili derives from an
Arabic word meaning 'of the coast', and so it is that
much of the Swahili language and culture trace their
roots to the Indian Ocean coastline. Explorers, Sultans
and Slave Traders all encountered Africa for the first
time along this history-steeped coastline creating the
events that were to define modern Tanzania, whilst the
islands of the Zanzibar Archipelago were to become principal
stepping stones for the culture that was to mould Tanzania's
people and their language.
Tanzania's eastern coast is gilded with
850kms of Indian Ocean beach and mangrove, bejeweled
with tropical islands worthy of any modern-day castaway.
The language of the country, KiSwahili, is bound up
in the culture, religion and people of the coastal areas,
their name derived from the Arabic word for coast, sahel.
The town of Kilwa can date its authoritative
Islamic architecture to the 13th Century when it was
one of the principal city-states of the Shirazi empire.
Bagamoyo hosted Livingstone, Pasha and Speke, before
they set off on their historical destinies and was named
by the caravans of captives, who 'laid down their hearts'
there before they were shipped to Zanzibar's slave markets.
Pangani, Tanga and Dar es Salaam were all outposts for
first the German and then the British colonial administrations
- and the Great War that separated them.
However, history is not alone amongst
the charms of the Swahili Coast:
Saadani Game Reserve
Saadani Game Reserve, north of Bagamoyo, offers
a combination of beach and bush that lures lions
and elephant to the Indian Ocean and entices visitors
with its unusual mixture of game drives, boat
safaris and Indian Ocean swimming.
Unguja, commonly known simply as Zanzibar is the
main island of the Zanzibar archipelago. Rich in
culture and history, it is surrounded by beautiful
beaches and coral reefs.
Pemba, the hillier, more thickly-forested island
in the north of the Zanzibar Archipelago, perches
on a granite outcrop of the Indian Ocean and is
home to some of the best diving and big-game fishing
on the East African coast. Dedicated lodges and
live-aboard boats furnish visitors with the perfect
expression of their interests.
Mafia, to the south of the Archipelago, is home
to big-game fishing good enough for Hemingway, coral
gardens so fish-fertile that they are protected
by Tanzania's first Marine Park and a standard of
accommodation specifically- tailored for those in
search of a low-impact beach holiday.