Tanga is a typical sleepy colonial town on the "fever coast" of Northern Tanzania. It has wide boulevards‚ a vibrant market‚ and a typical local nightlife. The town itself gives a good experience of Tanzanian culture‚ and it is well worth visiting the markets. Tanga is the starting point for several interesting excursions in the area‚ including Amboni Caves. It also provides good access to the East Usambara Mountains and Pangani.
Tanga is the most northerly seaport in Tanzania and the administrative capital of Tanga Region. The population was 243‚580 in 2002‚ making Tanga one of the largest cities in the country. It can be reached easily via road from Mombasa in Kenya and from Tanzania's mainland cities of Arusha and Dar es Salaam.
Tanga is on the Indian Ocean‚ near the border with Kenya. The major exports include sisal‚ coffee‚ tea‚ and cotton. It is also a significant railroad terminus‚ connecting northern Tanzania with the sea. Via the Tanzania Railways Corporation's Link Line and Central Line‚ Tanga is linked to the African Great Lakes region and the Tanzanian economic capital of Dar es Salaam. The city also has an airport.
Tanga was chosen in 1889 as one of the main military posts in German East Africa. The name Tanga comes from the word for farm or cultivated land in the local languages (KiSambaa‚ KiBondei‚ and KiZigua). Tanga gave its name to Tanganyika‚ the territory which in 1964 joined with the island of Zanzibar to form Tanzania.
Tanga‚ as the coastal town closest to Kenya‚ was on the front line at the beginning of World War I. A British landing was repulsed with heavy losses on November 4‚ 1914‚ in the Battle of Tanga‚ and the town was not taken until July 7‚ 1916.
Tourist attractions accessible from Tanga include the extensive Amboni Caves‚ Galanos Hot Springs‚ Toten Island‚ Tongoni Ruins‚ Ndumi Village defense works‚ Mwarongo beaches‚ and coastal mangroves. There is also a small airport with regular scheduled flights linking Tanga to the rest of Tanzania's safari circuits.