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Sandy beach in Pangani.
Getting there
Pangani is a six-hour drive from Arusha. You may also fly from Arusha/Kilimanjaro to Tanga or Saadani, and from there travel an hour by road.
Starting from Dar es Salaam, you may reach Pangani in 3–4 hours by road. It is also possible to fly from Dar to Saadani and then continue by road, but this will hardly save you any time.
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Photo: Ann-Louise Anderson
The coast:
Pangani is a small town on the northern part of the mainland coast of Tanzania. It's a beach holiday destination for visitors that want to truly relax. There are no nightclubs, no beach boys, just long quiet beaches.

Tourism has hardly reached Pangani. Most visitors are Tanzanians or resident foreigners, and there aren't any crowded beaches. You may take long walks along the beach in the mornings without meeting people. If you meet some, it's probably children on their way to school or villagers going about their business. The locals are friendly, but not obtrusive.

Long empty beaches
Pangani is situated where the Pangani River flows into the Indian Ocean, about 50 km/30 mi south of Tanga Town, or 180 km/110 mi north of Dar es Salaam. The town itself seems to be well past its prime. Houses and streets don't appear to have been maintained since the time of the German rule in the early 1900's.

But true charm waits just outside town, in shape of long white beaches, fringed with palms, and no or few people in sight. A reef shelters the beaches, and far off the shore are sand banks, where you may go by boat to snorkel, fish or just relax in solitude.

Bungalow hotel in Pangani.

Beach hotels
There are a few small hotels scattered along the beach south of Pangani. We can recommend The Tides, a hotel with pleasant atmosphere, a splendid location and very good food.

More about hotels in Pangani

Safaris from Pangani
There are no safari options close to Pangani, but Saadani National Park is a two-hour drive to the south, and Mkomazi National Park a four-hour drive to the north. None of these parks can compare to prime parks such as Serengeti and Ngorongoro as to wildlife, but they have few visitors and offer a nice experience. You may visit Saadani from Pangani on a day tour, while you need two days to visit Mkomazi because of the distance to travel.

En route to Mkomazi are the Usambara Mountains and the Pare Mountains, offering walks and trekking in rain forests and mountain forests. The bird watching is good and includes some endemic species. Longer treks can be arranged, including camping or overnight stays in villages.

Combining with northern Tanzania
You may combine a safari in Serengeti, Ngorongoro etc in northern Tanzania with Pangani, although this coastal destination is slightly off the beaten track and takes some extra travelling. You may travel by road to Pangani from Arusha, or fly from Arusha to Tanga, from where the hotel can pick you up for a one-hour transfer.

Combining with southern Tanzania
To visit parks in southern Tanzania, for example Selous, Mikumi or Ruaha, you may travel from Pangani to Dar es Salaam by road or air (from Tanga), and start your safari from there.

Culture and people
The culture of the East African coast, including the islands, is a result from the meeting between African tribes and seafarers from far abroad. During the last number of centuries, Portuguese, German and British influences have been added to the older and stronger Arabian elements in the culture. Arabian traders started sailing to the East African coast more than a thousand years ago, and much of the coast has been ruled by sultans. There are many examples of Arabian influences on architecture and settlements along the Kenyan and Tanzanian coasts.

Today the coastal population in predominantly Muslim. Swahili, the lingua franca spoken all over East Africa, originally came from the coast, and is a result from African Bantu languages merging with Arabic.

White beach, palm trees and the ocean in Pangani.

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Page updated 27 April 2013