Introduction

About 55km south of Tanga is the small Swahili outpost of Pangani. It rose from obscure beginnings as just one of many coastal dhow ports to become a terminus of the caravan route from Lake Tanganyika, a major export point for slaves and ivory, and one of the largest ports between Bagamoyo and Mombasa. Sisal and copra plantations were established in the area, and several European missions and exploratory journeys to the interior began from here. By the end of the 19th century, the focus had shifted to Tanga and Dar es Salaam, and Pangani again faded into anonymity. Today the sleepy, dilapidated town makes for an intriguing step back into history.