www.kofte.dk logo

Mikindani, Mtwara Province, Tanzania 2005

Intro  •  Eco2 & Lodging  •  The Diving  •  Site: The Monoliths  •  Site: Crypto Mania  • 
Site: Namponda Corner  •  Zanzibar  •  Mikumi National Park  •  Facts  •  Still Life  •  Moving Pix


Mtwara Province doesn’t take up much space in even the best of guide books of Tanzania. Apart from a few development NGO’s such as Danish School Project only a few tourists find their way to this region, though deep sea fishers and divers (and those who have to get as far away as possible from everything) are awakening to the challenge.

Scene from Mikindani Town

The local communities are poor and resources are scarce but if you’re willing to improvise, to take things as they come, you’re in for a great experience.

You can come a long way with a few selected phrases in Kiswahili and a bit of understanding of the state of things.

Mtwara is the south eastern of Tanzania’s provinces, 40 kms north of Mozambique. If you’ve ever heard of it, it might be due to its production of cashew nuts (second largest producer in the world) or due to the exquisite wood carvings of the Makonde Tribe, which are a world apart from the sloppy work found in most places in Dar es Salaam or Zanibar.

The village of Mikindani is situated at the bottom of a natural, protected bay – 10 degrees south of the Equator – and was once the entrance into Africa in the quest for slaves, ivory, and cobber.

The Makonde Tribe were the indigenous population and protected themselves against slavery by filing their teeth sharp as needles and applying extensive tattoos.

By the 9th century Arabs controlled the area, and it has since then been subjected to sovereignty changes like that of Zanzibar and as much of Africa.


In 1884 at a conference in Berlin for European interested parties Africa was divided into suitable chunks and the Germans got Tanganyika (which together with Zanzibar now form the Republic of Tanzania) and used Mikindani as a provincial headquarters.

After the First World War the Germans surrendered the country to the U.K. who moved the whole caboodle to Mtwara – a small village 12 kms southeast of Mikindani with a better natural harbour that was capable of handling larger ships. Since then time has been standing still in Mikindani.

Scene from Mikindani Town

On a Monday in November 2005 we boarded a small Air Tanzanian flight in Dar es Salaam and landed just 50 minutes later in Mtwara. The alternative was about 23 hours of 4-wheel driving on mainly dirt roads and crossing wobbly (if not missing) bridges.

The diving alone makes the trip to Mikindani worth your while, but the whole area has a pristine quality. There are still lots of places and species to discover – both above as well as below the surface.

The southern most border of the marine park is formed by Ruvuma River, which also marks the border between Mozambique and Tanzania. A place well worth a visit in its own right. And shame on you if you don’t catch a game drive once you’re here.

In 1866 Dr. David Livingstone stayed in Mikindani for a fortnight before he embarked on his third and final expedition to discover the source of the Nile. Only his heart was returned – in a wooden box. We on the other hand arrived at home safely – but left our hearts in Mikindani though not in wooden boxes.

  The inner bay (or lagoon) at Mikindani

The inner bay at Mikindani at high tide  a

All pictures & web-design © kofte.dk