Bagamoyo town a designated World Heritage Site, it is home to a number of historical features, including old German ruins, the church where Livingstone’s body was kept for some time, and traditional Zanzibar-style hand-carved wooden doors and crumbling yet beautiful architecture. The name meaning ‘Loss of the Heart’ as a result of it being a terminus for the slave caravans from the interior. At the peak of the slave trade in the mid-19th century it is estimated about 50,000 captives arrived in Bagamoyo each year carrying Ivory and other prizes to the coast where they would be traded for gold and spices forming an important part of the Omani trading empire. It is also home to the oldest church in East Africa.
Strolling through Bagamoyo’s narrow, unpaved streets takes you back to the mid-19th century, when the town was one of the most important settlements along the East African coast and the terminus of the trade caravan route linking Lake Tanganyika with the sea. Slaves, ivory, salt and copra were unloaded here before being shipped to Zanzibar Island and elsewhere, and many European explorers, including Richard Burton, Henry Morton Stanley and David Livingstone, began and ended their trips here. In 1868 French missionaries established Freedom Village at Bagamoyo as a shelter for ransomed slaves, and for the remainder of the century the town served as a way station for missionaries travelling from Zanzibar Island to the interior.
Tourist attractions include the Kaole ruins dating back to the 12th century thought to mark one of the earliest contacts of Islam with Africa; the Old Fort built in 1860 for holding slaves for shipment to Zanzibar; the first Roman Catholic Church in East Africa built around 1868 used as a base to run a camp of about 650 freed slaves; the German colonial administration headquarters, the Boma, in the first capital of German East Africa; the Mission Museum displaying history of Bagamoyo; and the Livingstone Memorial Church among others. Bagamoyo white sand beaches are considered some of the finest on the whole of the East African coast.
Bagamoyo is also a popular beach destination, only 75km from Dar es Salaam on good tarmac road.
There are several mid-range beach hotels available, taking advantage of Bagamoyo’s beautiful coastline and the warm blue waters of the Indian Ocean. Bagamoyo’s unhurried pace and fascinating history make it an agreeable day or weekend excursion from Dar es Salaam.
Bagamoyo is a quiet place to end a safari and relax by the beach. For more information on staying in Bagamoyo contact us.