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Mtwara, Tanzania

Back in the 1940s, British colonial powers decided to build a town in the southeastern part of Tanzania in order to spread groundnut plantations along the southern coast and export their produce to the post-war Europe. Like many other towns on the Indian ocean, Mtwara still holds in its appearance bits and pieces of colonial history, such as old British buildings, large port suitable for ocean vessels, and old churches. In fact, ancient St Paul’s Church, the oldest church in the region, has some fascinating murals created by German priests. The neighboring town of Mikindani is another way to transport yourself back in time to the colonial days, and it makes for a perfect historical day-trip from Mtwara.

 

When you get weary of walking or cycling along the old colonial streets of Mtwara, it is time to delve into its modern life and visit the bustling fish market where local women bargain like their life depends on it and children run around and play some variety of football.

 

Finally, close proximiy to Mozambique and Mnazi Bay-Ruvuma Estuary Marine Park means you are up to some of the best scuba diving trips in the Indian ocean. Althought Mtwara is now more easily accessible from Dar-es-salaam, not many travelers make it all the way here. A few well-established dive centers offer dive+accommodation packages for experienced divers. Micro-life and over 240 species of corals is the main thing to look for in the Marine Park, but you also have a chance to see turtles and manta rays in the clearest blue waters of the West Indian Ocean.

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