Day 2 Bagamoyo 68Km

The driver was on time. So was the manager to make sure I signed all the papers and made a 50% down payment on the trip. The car is a 4×4 Lexus automatic but no low gearing and double tank like my Prado in Oman. The tank is only 75 l and with 1:7 it will not last that long. Moreover the tank was empty so we struggled to make it to the first petrol station. I have to hand it back with the same amount of fuel. This may be a challenge. The next stop was a local Sim card. Not very expensive and useful. I already maxed out on my Dutch roaming cost although I hardly used it.

Bagamoyo is some 76 km north of Dar es Salaam. Most of the way was through the outskirts of the city. With 1.5 million people that can be expected. The roadside is typical Africa. Lots of people wandering around. Piles of rickshaws and motorcycles looking for customers. Several large unfinished office blocks and further out the huts for the locals.

I fired up my GPS and typed in the first tourist site I wanted to visit. Kaole is an old Swahili town some 10 km before Bagamoya built by the Sultan of Kilwa. Reachable via a bumpy sand road. It was one of the main trading areas between 1200 and 1700. There are 2 ruined mosques with many graves around it. The locals must have lived in wooden structures because there is nothing left of their houses. The mosques and graves are built from corral stone. Often you see shells in the stones. It is not clear why there are 2 mosques. One from 1200 AC and one from 1500 AC.  Was the population too big for 1 mosque? Was one for the Africans and one for Arabs? Or one for the Sunni and one for the Shia? The guide could not explain why. In the 18th century the harbour slowly sanded up and the mangrove trees took over the coast line.  The trade centre was moved further north to Bagamayo.

In Bagamoyo there are several historical buildings built by the Germans (1887 – 1891). The sultan of Zanzibar had started that slave export post around 1850. Not long thereafter the Germans arrived and took over the town. With the Germans came the missionaries who wanted to stop the slave trade. After the Sultan signed off on the slave trade ban, the Tanzania slave traders from Tanga revolted and managed to convinced enough locals to attack the German post. The one year war was unsuccessful and the leader was hanged. Because also this harbour was sanding up, the Germans moved their capital to Dar es Salaam. Why they did not do that from the beginning is unclear.

Most of the slave caravans into the interior started in Bagamoyo. So did the explorers Burton, Speke, Grant, and Stanley. All between 1850 and 1870. They were searching for the source of the Nile (Lake Victoria) and not so much for stopping the slave trade. That honour goes to the Scotsman and missionary Dr. Livingstone who travelled extensively through Malawi, Zambia, Congo and Tanganyika. He died on route in Zambia and his body was carried by his followers to the missionary in Bagamoyo before shipment via Zanzibar to the U.K.

Several of the buildings I have seen on my first trip here in 1978. Now I had a guide to explain more of what I saw and take me to remote places. Some of the comments in my old blog need therefore updating. One of the missionary buildings which was whitewashed and in a good state  back in 1978 is now falling apart. Some attempts for restoration have been made but were stopped. The funds have dried up or vanished. The same is true for another German building which is to be converted into a teaching facility.

Looking back at it, you noticed that the Zanzibaries only brought the slave trade. The Germans brought schools and a  government structure to develop the country. After WW1 the Germans were kicked out by the British. They however concentrated more on their Kenya colony than on Tanganyika. After the independence (1961) and a coup in Zanzibar (1964), an alliance was made with Zanzibar to form one country Tanzania. If this alliance will hold, the future will tell.

An advantage of having a local guide is that he can advise on a reasonable priced hotel ($20). I am now typing away in the sea breeze, hearing the waves breaking on the beach. The room is some 30 m above the sea and has a nice breeze. Hopefully it keeps the mosquitoes away. No aircon and hot water this time. Just a ceiling fan.