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Tanga and the Usambara Mountains

Written on: Sunday December 23rd, 2012

A journal entry from: Clea's Kenya

After leaving Diani, we headed into Tanzania. We had an extremely frustrating time at the border, so the trip that was supposed to take about four hours ended up taking more like 12. Still, we did eventually arrive in Tanga, which is the biggest town on Tanzania's northern coast. It has two notable landmarks: a German built clock from 1901 (which no longer runs) and a German war cemetery from the first world war (with 14 graves). Needless to say, Tanga isn't considered a huge tourist destination, although it is an important transit town not only for people heading to Kenya but also for those heading inland.


As you can probably gather, Tanganyika (as mainland Tanzania was called) was colonized by the Germans until the end of the first world war. Afterwards it was a British colony, but the German part to its history meant that English never took over as much as in Kenya. Today, although in Kenya basically everyone studies in English, in Tanzania they go to school in Swahili. Although we speak extremely basic Swahili, it did make communicating much more challenging!


We decided to spend Christmas inland from Tanga in the Usambara mountains. They are an incredibly fertile area and, much to my delight, have a climate more like Nairobi than the coast. They are also known for their hiking, and we spent Christmas day walking through the hills and rainforest. Despite the fact that it did pour rain for part of the hike (which, for the record, I was prepared for as you will see in the pictures), it was still a lot of fun. Usambara was also the original seat of the German colonial government (although it is forbidden to take pictures of the house), and the area retains a great tradition of cheese making.