Bagamoyo Town was the legendary ivory and slave trading port for east and central Africa during the late 19th century. Situated just 50km from Dar es Salaam it makes a perfect day excursion for city visitors and those from docking cruise ships. Recently designated as Tanzania’s seventh world heritage site, it is the oldest town in Tanzania and was the last resting place of the legendary explorer Dr. David Livingston until his body was shipped back to be buried in Westminster Abbey, London.
Departing Dar es Salaam early morning we drive 50km up the coast to the historic Bagamoyo, a seaside town possessing a colourful and at times turbulent past upon arrival, your first stop is at the Kaole Ruins, where you can see the first Arab settlements. Here you will find the remains of a 13th century mosque (thought to be the oldest in Tanzania) and other historic structures of interest. Next you will explore the old town with its cob webbed portals, crumbling colonial buildings and 19th century School which was the first multi-racial school in Tanzania.
On the beach is the German Customs House (1895), an active port (where you can watch boat builders at work), and a busy fish market (once the old slave market). Finally, you will visit the white-washed Old Fort, one of the town’s oldest surviving buildings. Lunch at one of the town’s resorts, after lunch we drive along the mango-shaded avenue to the Catholic Mission, which was one of the first of its kind in East Africa.
Though initially built to provide a home for children freed from slavery, it later became a church and school. Within the compound is the main church and cemetery, a stone memorial tower dedicated to the explorer David Livingstone and other buildings used as residences by the missionaries. We finally visit the Caravan Serai Museum, which has exhibits on the town’s history and its slave trade. Return to Dar es Salaam late afternoon.
Bagamoyo lies 75kms north of Dar es Salaam. Bagamoyo was the starting point of the slave caravan routes and also the terminus of the white missionaries. While in Bagamoyo, visit the Kaole Ruins (dating back to the earlier part of the 15th century), and the first Roman Catholic Church in Tanganyika built by the Germans in the 1880. Do not forget the museum, which houses numerous historical artifacts. There is also a
splendid beach where one can swim and enjoy a picnic lunch.