Due to its strategic location, Bagamoyo (68km north of Dar-es-Salaam) became a staging point during the ivory and slave trading area.
Bagamoyo, meaning ‘bury my heart’, was the first capital of Tanzania. As the oldest town in the country, Bagamoyo was the last stop for Arab and Indian traders, and Christian missionaries before they headed inland. European explorers such as Burton, Livingstone and Stanley began their journeys in Bagamoyo.
The town became the capital of German
East Africa from 1887 to 1891. As one of the most important trading ports along the coast of East African, Bagamoyo was also the last stop for slave trading caravans making their way to Zanzibar. The main trading goods were fish, salt and gum until the first half of the 19th C when ivory, tortoise shell and leopard skin became important.
This quiet town takes tourists back to the early and mid-19th C as you stroll through the narrow streets or watch the dhows load up at the port. The German cemetery has many graves of Germans killed during the uprising in 1889 to 1890. A coral wall surrounds the cemetery and nearby is a tree believed to be used by the German’s for executions. Along Ocean Road, travelers can view some of the most interesting aspects of Bagamoyo including the German boma, a 19th C school, Liku House, the German Customs House as well as the busy port and fish market.
The “Fathers of the Holy Ghost” in Bagamoyo set up East Africa’s first Catholic mission in 1868. The seaside church was built in 1873.