Tanga is probably the most organized town in the country but it is also a growing town whose infrastructure is ever changing and unless you are looking for tips from social media, a book guide may not be as useful because new businesses are born just as much as they shut down. With the help of a local guide (who can be a friend, a family member or a professional) it is easy to find activities to do and have a great time but if you are new to the city and without a host, you may want to know where to start. Here are a few suggestions:
Private car hire/taxi, mini bus (dala-dala), motor bike, bicycle, walking; the dala-dala and bicycles are most common way of going around town.
What to do?
Tourism is a growing industry in Tanga and there are quite a number of tour companies and agents offering; half-day trips, full day trips and getaways. If you choose to go solo though here is what you can do:
Go to the beach for a swim, marine watch or fishing. The most accessible beach close to the bus stand is in Raskazoni. The best access is through beach clubs of which; Jet, Inn by the sea and yacht club are most popular and require a fee payment between 1000-5000Tshs per adult.
Take a boat to the nearby Toten island: it is thought that this was the first settlement by the arabs before they moved in to the mainland. The island still has ruins of the old islamic civilization and the later German civilization. A motorized boat can be hired at the Yatch club for 70,000Tshs.
Walk around the town and admire it’s rich german history as well as the local culture: Tanga was chosen in 1889 as a military post of German East Africa, and became a district office in 1891, some of the buildings have been renovated while others are falling to ruin. While in town visit ‘Urithi Tanga Museum’ which depicts mostly culture of the region itself, from the ancient times to the present, based on tangible and intangible heritage. The building is one of the ancient buildings that were built in 1890 during the colonial period.
Enjoy a bike ride to Amboni caves and nearby Galanos sulphur spring: with the renovated Mombasa road which has bicycle paths in place, you can safely ride to the amboni caves which are about 8km from town. The caves are a popular attraction and are open to the public through out the week with exception of Sunday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. A fee of 1000Tshs per person is applicable. The sulphur springs are a few kilometers away, hidden and you may find the need to ask for directions on several occasions if you don’t have a tour guide.
Where to eat?
The hottest places right now:
Forodhani: sit in the garden and enjoy a variety of food served by the different stalls.
Rusha Roho: a relatively new restaurant serving local cuisines; has both outside and indoor sitting. Located at the ground floor of what used to be majestic cinema.
Good eats around town:
Cappuccino- once upon a time it was the talk of the town but like all business it is now just a common place. They propbably serve one of the best biriani’s in town.
Tawakkal- a popular spot with buses traveling to Mombasa. They serve arabic inspired as well as swahili food.
Mkwakwani- used to be a popular eating spot but is just a common place serving chips and it’s companions.
Local delicacies to try:
‘Halua’- served with coffee for special occassion such as weddings, this sweet is sold through-out the day in shops around the main bus station.
‘Juisi ya miwa’ – served through out the day in some stalls but more commonly in the evening. The blue juice box adjacent to Ngamiani dispendary is the easiest to locate.
‘Vitumbua’ – usually served for breakfast but may be available through out the day.
‘Mikate ya kumimina’ – usually served for breakfast but may be available through out the day.
‘Makopa’ – served in the morning or evenings by the road sides.
Where to sleep?
Soni Hotel, located just across the main bus stand and with a price range between, 40,000Tshs for rooms per night.
Inn by the sea, the cheapest rooms by the ocean; price per room is 25,000Tshs includes breakfast (all rooms accommodate two people) . Not the tidiest accommodation available.
Majuba B&B, has only two double rooms charged at 160USD per night, the site also features a pizzeria and a restaurant which serves brunch and dinner.
Nyumbani resort, a new hotel close to the post office; features a swimming pool, a restaurant, lunch buffet and shuttle service to Mombasa. Price ranges between 100-150$ per night.
Mkoge hotel; probably the most popular hotel overlooking the beach but has probably worn out with time. Still offers a peaceful environment with great space.
If hotels are not in your budget there are several guest houses all around town at a cost of as low as 10,000Tshs per night. If you are stuck on options, take a taxi and ask for their suggestions; the taxi drivers know their way around accommodations.