The city was founded in 1947 by the British, who had large crops
in eastern Tanganyika and
needed a port on the coast to export the products.
It was also the center for a vast agricultural program, involving the peanut plantations along the southern coast of Tanzania.
Even today, the areas around the city are home to the cashew plantations, which are grown, processed and exported.
Nowadays the city of Mtwara is a crossing point for southern
Tanzania, as far as tourism and business are concerned.
Mtwara is a quiet city that covers a vast area: there are some beautiful beaches to the north, near Shangani.
Towards the center there is the main commercial area, where the post office, banks and some more expensive shops are located. The market is located towards the southern end of the city.
What to Do
You can learn about and visit the cashew plantations, the most famous in Tanzania.
The city has a site of particular interest, the St. Paul's Church which is located in the area of Majengo. The entire facade and side walls are covered with biblical scenes painted by a German Benedictine priest, Policarpo Uehlein, in the mid-1970s. In addition to their style and the distinctive use of color, the paintings are known for their universalized portrayal of common biblical themes.
The proximity to the Marine Park of the Mnazi Bay-Ruvuma estuary allows tourists to discover and visit some of the most isolated diving sites on the coast.
Afri Mak Arts & Crafts: this small museum exhibits masks, spears, tools and other cultural objects from the Makonde, Makua and Yao tribes. This is also the best place to get information on the annual Makuya Festival.
The Mikindani and Mnazi bays are excellent locations for spectacular diving, because the southern equatorial current meets the African coast creating a unique ecosystem with a wealth of marine life from the Indian Ocean.
You can do cultural and historical tours, where you can see traditional Makonde dancers, visit the historic Mikindani city, travel to Mnazi Bay Marine Park, go canoeing and on dhow, and much more.
The town of Mtwara is located on the coast of south-eastern Tanzania, in a slightly elevated position along the Makonde plateau.
The airport is about 8 km south of the city of Mtwara, flights to
Dar es Salaam are frequent.
There are several daily buses from Dar es Salaam.
Where to Stay
There are several hotels and lodges in the city.