Travelling to Mikindani is an adventure in itself. With rugged road access and a small airstrip, the area is very much off the beaten path. But such secluded surroundings mean you’ll have the Indian Ocean Coast, and the Swahili ruins, all to yourself — an unimaginable privilege that makes for an unforgettable experience.
The beaches of southern Tanzania have much that is undiscovered, and offer the chance of adventure and the siren call of exploration to the willing visitor.
Along the southern coast of Tanzania, the old Swahili town of Mikindani and the surrounding beaches of the Mnazi Bay-Ruvuma Estuary Marine Park make a tranquil and quiet alternative to larger beach destinations to the north.
In town, a visit to the old German boma and the slave market is an interesting day excursion from the coconut palm fringed beaches that stretch to the Mozambican border.
The marine park’s beaches and underwater reefs are largely unexplored and boat trips to the bay and estuary mean venturing off the beaten track on your own private Indian Ocean adventure.
The protected lagoon has made a superb harbour for generations of fishermen and traders. Traders from the Arabian Peninsula settled in Mikindani in the 9th and 18th centuries. By the second half of the 15th century, trade from Mikindani was also going as far as Malawi, Zambia, Angola and Zaire. The products exported included ivory, animal hides, tortoise shells and copper, while manufactured products such as clothes, household utensils and weaponry were imported. Portuguese expansion along the East African coast disrupted trade links in the 16th century.