35 sights at a glance

The following 35 attractions are listed from south (Kaole) to north (Ruvu River Delta).

The oldest ruins of an Islamic mosque in the region from the 13th century. It is located a few km south of Bagamoyo in Kaole. It may have been the very first mosque on mainland East Africa.

The first settlers in Kaole were the "Shirazi" from the city of Shiraz in Persia. The city was attacked by the Mongols in 1256. Even if they were able to escape the Mongolian occupation through an arrangement, the Mongolian oppression until 1352 was possibly a reason for the flight of some Shirazi to East Africa.

In the northern part of the mosque there are two large tombstones, both of which are believed to date from the 14th century. A tombstone quotes Sura II from the Koran.

The northern part of the mosque probably dates from the 13th century, which can also be regarded as the founding date of Kaole. External steps can be seen here that the muezzin used to call to prayer from the roof of the mosque. Such an external staircase can only be found in Kilwa in the south of the country.

The researcher Freeman-Grenville points out that only in East Africa Muslim cemeteries can be found on a mosque: There are 22 tombstones near the northern mosque, eight of them with columns, which can be considered the oldest graves. All others are probably from the 18th century.

The pillars were decorated with Chinese porcelain, which is on display in the National Museum in Dar es Salaam for safety reasons.

A double grave is called "love grave", in which a couple was buried, who drowned after a shipwreck on the voyage from Zanzibar to Bagamoyo.

The so-called "Holy Grave" with a pyramid-like roof is still considered a sacred place of sacrifice today. Whoever sacrifices here and makes a wish, swears at the same time to return to Bagamoyo and the "Holy Grave" after fulfilling their wish and to make another offering of thanks.


Former FRELIMO headquarters in Bagamoyo

The fact that the headquarters of the liberation movement FRELIMO used to be located on the site of a college for agriculture between Kaole and Bagamoyo (the road leads through the college grounds) is still fairly unknown and has not yet been mentioned by any travel guide. President Samora Machel organized from here the struggle for the liberation of Mozambique.

Even today, high-ranking delegations and visitor groups from Mozambique come to Bagamoyo every year to commemorate the liberation struggle and its victims at the "birthplace of independent Mozambique". In memory of the hospitality of this place, a city in Mozambique was named "Bagamoyo".

While the former training buildings are on the western side of the street, the former FRELIMO command center and the former home of the Machel family can be seen on the eastern (beach) side (both only from the outside).

In 2019 it became known that liberation fighters from Zimbabwe were also trained on this site. During his visit to Bagamoyo in 2019, President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa reported on his training in Bagamoyo. In this context it became known that from 1973-1977 Vladimir Putin also trained the freedom fighters in Bagamoyo.


Old observation post from colonial times

At the southern exit of Bagamoyo, not far from the College of arts, there is an old baobab on a small hill, which served as an observation post for German soldiers before the British conquered Bagamoyo on August 15, 1916.

To this day iron steps lead up to the treetop, on which the observation platform can still be seen. From here, approaching British warships could be recognized in time by the German soldiers and their askaris.


The Bagamoyo College of Arts (TASUBA) is the only public art college in East Africa. There are regular public performances in the new TASUBA theater, the largest theater in East Africa with 1,800 seats. We recommend the International Bagamoyo Arts Festival, which takes place every year for a week in autumn.

More information about the Bagamoyo College of Arts (TASUBA)


Mwana Makuka Cemetery

Immediately to the north of the college grounds, between the Mwanamakuka Elementary School and the German Colonial Cemetery, is the oldest Muslim cemetery in the city, bordered by trees.

35 graves can still be seen here today. The largest grave is surrounded and is said to be the grave of Mwana Makuka, who according to oral tradition comes from the Tabora region and is said to have settled in Bagamoyo. If so, then wealthy Africans were among the first settlers in Bagamoyo.


At the old German colonial cemetery, which is located directly on the beach between the Bagamoyo College of Arts (TASUBA) and the port, graves of German soldiers from the Wissmann troops are mainly in German.

There are 20 graves here: 18 graves of German soldiers, a grave of Antonie Bäumler (a German nurse who died on September 24, 1889) and the grave of Gretel Schuller, who died six days after her birth. Her father was the representative of the German-East African Society (DOAG) in Bagamoyo.

The cemetery was used between 1889 and 1894. The British District Commissioner Hon. William Bamphile, who died in 1939, rests in a separate grave outside the German graves.

Some original gravestones have since been removed for safety reasons. Overall, the cemetery is in relatively good condition.


Probably not here, but (following a contemporary photo) in another place near the Old Fort, the Germans hanged six Arabs in December 1889 who had supported the Bushiri uprising against German colonial rule. Leader Bushiri himself was hanged by the Germans on December 15, 1889 in Pangani.

In any case, the famous "Hanging Tree", located between the Old Fort and the beach, is now a national monument in memory of all resistance fighters who were murdered during the German colonial era.


It is the oldest remaining stone building in Bagamoyo, probably built by Abdallah Selemani Marhabi. The originally private building was integrated into a fort in 1856 by Sultan Majid (Zanzibar). In 1890 the fort came into the possession of the merchant Sewa Haji, who handed it over to the Germans in 1894. It was then used as a garrison and further expanded.

After the First World War it was used by the English as a prison, and after independence also as a police station. Today the building is used by the monument protection authority.


Liku House

The Liku House, also called Ratu House or Datoo House, was built by an Asian merchant and sold to the German colonial administration by Ratu Bhimji. The Germans used the building for administrative offices and apartments. Under Wissmann there was also an officers canteen here.

The building achieved international fame when the German African explorer Emin Pascha accidentally fell backwards out of a window on the first floor in the presence of the great British explorer Richard Burton and was seriously injured.

Burton and John Hanning Speke both spent one night in this building in 1857 before setting out inland to "discover" Lake Tanganyika and Lake Victoria.


The so-called "Boma" is a former German colonial building.

The boma was built in the years 1895-1897 and after its completion served as the official seat of the German colonial district administration until the First World War.

The boma, located directly between the colonial "Kaiserstrasse" (today's India Street) and "Gravenreuther Strasse", was opened in December 1897. It contained halls and meeting rooms and is 42 m long and 33 m wide. It is a two-story building with two towers on the front. On the first floor there was a meeting hall, six offices with two safes, a kitchen, six storage rooms, two apartments and a toilet. The first floor used to have a kitchen, ten rooms, a hall and two toilets. A water tank was housed under the original gable roof (which the British only made a flat roof out of).

At the time of completion, the German headquarters, which had been relocated from Bagamoyo to Dar es Salaam in the spring of 1892, was already in Dar es Salaam.

After independence, the administration of the Bagamoyo District was housed in the Boma for many years until it had to leave the building due to the increasing dilapidation.

As a result of the El Nino rain in 1998, the front facade and the balcony belonging to it collapsed.

From 2009-2016, the boma was cordoned off for renovations carried out on behalf of the government. The measures have now been completed and the rooms can now be viewed again, but the further use of the historical building remains unclear.


The Wissmann monument

The Wissmann memorial, removed by the British at the end of the 1940s, was erected in front of the boma towards the beach and was intended to commemorate the German soldiers who were killed in the fighting with the Arabs and Africans. It was inaugurated on December 21, 1894, making it older than the boma.

The bronze plates of the monument are now in the National Museum of Dar es Salaam.


Public Garden

Between the boma and the beach, 200 m away, there used to be a public garden with a pavilion, sports field and flower beds.


The building was built by an Indian merchant with a shop and hotel on the first floor.

It was later expanded by the Germans and the British. During the German colonial era, among others offices on the ground floor and an officer's hospital on the upper floor. Two adjacent wings were integrated into the building in 1913.

After independence, this was first a bank and later the local administration of Bagamoyo. The building stood empty for a few years due to its disrepair. With the help of the Swedish development aid organization Sida, the building was renovated very lovingly and in accordance with the preservation of historical monuments, with the aim of eventually accommodating the desired, but still not established, municipal administration of Bagamoyo.


The historic "Kaiserstraße" (today's India Street) leads from the old fort parallel to the coast to the old post office and on towards the hospital.

With financial support from Swedish development aid, the road was repaved in 2006. To the right and left you can see many old buildings from the Arab or German colonial times - but often only as ruins.


The "Alte Deutsche Post": The first post and telegraph office in East Africa

The old post office on the corner of India Street and Customs Road (the street down to the fishing port) originally belonged to the Indian merchant Sewa Haji, who bequeathed it to the German colonial administration on September 6, 1896. The building was used as a post office until 1995.

The first post and telegraph office on the East African mainland was located here.

The building has since been renovated and is part of a new hotel and casino complex in the middle of Bagamoyo's old town. Unfortunately, neither the renovation of the Alte Post nor the construction of a new multi-storey hotel and casino building directly next to the Alte Post did not comply with the current monument protection regulations. The new hotel stands like a foreign body in the middle of a (still largely dilapidated) historical ensemble.


The house built during the German colonial period belonged to Nasser Virji Muraj Haji (1865-1942). He belonged to the Muslim Ithnaasharia community and opened his first shop in Bagamoyo in 1888. After he was able to expand more and more and buy more houses in Bagamoyo, he finally had 72 branches all over Tanganyika by 1914.

The house was carefully restored by Swedish development aid, but never achieved its planned new function as a hotel management school.


These world-famous doors, dozens of them in the Stone Town of Zanzibar and some of them beautifully renovated, are unfortunately only rudimentary and unfortunately mostly very dilapidated to see in Bagamoyo.

The doors (often the houses were built around the doors) testified to the power and wealth of the owners. As is usual in Islamic art, there are only carvings with non-representational motifs, mainly from the plant world. Each motif had its special meaning.


While the original Old Arab Customs Office, located at this point, was brought to Saadani in 1895, a new customs office with two towers at each end of the building was built directly at the Dhau Harbor in 1894-95. It is the place where the slaves were forced into the boats and shipped to the great slave market in Zanzibar.

The northern part of the house is still used today as a customs house, the southern part has collapsed.


Traditional dhow shipyard

Even today, the traditional sailing ships of the Indian Ocean, the dhows, are still occasionally manufactured in a small shipyard in Bagamoyo, very originally and almost exclusively using very simple tools.


Immediately next to the old customs office at the fish market, still existing concrete plinths with cast iron supports from 1999 testify to the Usagara House of the German East African Society (DOAG). The German businessman Schuller lived here with his family. Gretel Schuller, who died as a baby, is buried in the German cemetery in Bagamoyo.

The Usagara House is said to have been the central social meeting point for Germans in Bagamoyo. It was a typical German half-timbered construction. The bowls, which can still be seen on the cast-iron supports, were filled with paraffin or similar substances and were used to ward off pests.



After the fishing boats arrive, half the place always gathers at the fish market, where not only is cooking and eating done, but the fish are also auctioned on the spot as part of an auction. The old auction hall dates from the German colonial times. The new fish market is scheduled to go into operation in 2020.

The dhow port of Bagamoyo has been located directly in front of the customs office and the fish market for centuries. Even today, the Bagamoyo fishermen go fishing from here every day. For some time now, a larger ship has been anchored here regularly transporting stones to Mafia Island.


The Bagamoyo slave market used to be located here under a group of trees. According to oral tradition, the slaves were supposedly brought to the beach from here through an underground tunnel past the customs house in order to be shipped to the large slave market in Zanzibar at high tide. However, it is completely unclear where this tunnel is said to have been.

The customs house played a role in that there was a bounty to be paid for every exported slave.


Old German School

The German school was housed in the large three-story building, a gift from the Indian merchant Sewa Haji to the German colonial administration. The donor's condition: so-called "multiracial lessons" must be carried out in the school.

In the school, lessons for European, Indian and African children were actually carried out, separated by floors. Today the Mwambao Primary School is housed in the building. Among its approx. 800 students, including a large number of orphans, there is also one of the few handicapped classes in Tanzania.

In 2006 the German partner school, the Marienschule Ahlen, together with the Freundeskreis Bagamoyo e.V. and with the support of the Federal Republic of Germany, completely renovated the school in strict compliance with the preservation order. Since then there has been a close partnership between the German and Tanzanian schools.

More informations about the school-partnership (in German)


The Old German Guard House (Dunda Tower / Block House) secured access to Bagamoyo in the west of the town during the German colonial era. It was built in 1889 on the orders of Major Wissmann during the Bushiri War. At that time there were five such watchtowers in Bagamoyo, guarding all entrances to the town.

On the east side of the tower is the grave of the former slave Mama Ngonera, who lived in the watchtower after the Germans left.


At the beginning of the 19th century, Bagamoyo was the end point of the most important caravan route in East Africa. Already in 1800 the caravans of the Wanyamwezi people ended here.

The caravanserai was built before the arrival of the Germans as a meeting place for the arriving and departing caravans. The text of the newly set song "We are reaching Bagamoyo" comes from this time.

There was a large fence around the caravanserai to protect the animals and accommodation for the porters. The caravanserai was also the main camp for the slaves captured by the Arabs.

The caravanserai, rebuilt after 1870, later belonged to the German-East African Society. The building had two floors a.o. for the storage of ivory as well as storage rooms and accommodations for the porters.

A small photo exhibition on the history of the building can be viewed inside the building today. However, the quality of the exhibition is disproportionate to the amount of the entrance fee, which is charged for tourists at the entrance.


The Zawose Family - stars of international world music

Hukwe Zawose (died 2003) was one of the most famous traditional musicians in all of Africa. The gifted musician (thumb piano, Zeze, Ndono, etc.), singer and dancer was discovered by Peter Gabriel for the international world music scene, participated in many world music festivals and produced numerous CDs. He is buried next to his nephew Charles Zawose (also a world musician who died in 2004) and his father Ubi (a great healer) on the family compound in western Bagamoyo.

The musician family Zawose, which is still supported by the musician Peter Gabriel, continues to perform internationally. Concerts can also be organized for groups of visitors if you register in advance. Inquiry

Place can only be found with a guide.


In 1886 the Indian merchant Sewa Haji offered the Catholic Mission land and money for a new hospital for the poor local population. The foundation stone was laid on March 25, 1891 in the presence of the German governor Wissmann.

In 1912 the German colonial administration took over the hospital; it is now owned by the government and is the only hospital in the Bagamoyo district that is responsible for an area the size of Lebanon.

The entire hospital is still being renovated by the Freundeskreis Bagamoyo e.V. mainly from donations, but also through sponsorship money. Most recently, a new premature baby station was built.


Catholic Mission: The oldest mission in East and Central Africa

The Bagamoyo Catholic Mission is the oldest Catholic mission in East and Central Africa, dating from 1868.

The Livingstone Tower, which originally belonged to the first Catholic Church in East Africa, is also located on the mission site. In the meantime, the church has been torn down, and only the tower remains as a memorial, in which Livingstone's body was laid out on the way to England in 1874. All other European "explorers" are also remembered in this small memorial, which is well worth seeing.

Also of interest are the large Catholic church (built 1910-15) with its altar paintings (depicting the history of slavery), the historical museum, a mission memorial, a mission cemetery and the pilgrimage chapel.

The Old Fathers House (built 1873-1904) is still facing its renovation - especially after the main facade collapsed in August 2009. The old sister house, built 1876-77, is now the Catholic Museum.

On the huge mission area, which is reached by the visitor through a beautiful long avenue, are among others also a historical baobab tree (from 1868), one built in 1876 and opened in 1879 by Pope Leo XIII. consecrated grotto, a Catholic high school for girls, a Catholic hospital, a wood workshop, a teacher training center and a cemetery with 27 graves of the first Spiritan missionaries and 20 graves of the first sisters of the "Daughters of Mary" congregation. The first sister to be buried here was Sister M. Julienne on April 17th, 1870.

The Mission Museum, which was renovated only a few years ago with financial support from the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, is located in the former Sisters House in the Catholic mission station in the north of Bagamoyo.

The museum was set up with the support of the German Father Johannes Henschel and offers information on local history, the time of slavery, German colonialism and the country's culture in general. The main attraction is the German language Charter for the last Slave ("Freibrief des letzten Sklaven von Bagamoyo").

A dirt road leads to the interior of the huge mission area and the graves of former mission workers without any problems. A little further on, the new Pilgrimage Chapel comes into view. It is located at the eastern end of the East African slave route on the site of the first Catholic mission and, according to the papal will, corresponds to the pilgrimage site of Lourdes.

The Holy Grotto integrated into the chapel was built in 1876 by freed slaves on the site of the village of freed slaves. Every year, several thousand Catholics from all over Tanzania make pilgrimages to the pilgrimage site of Bagamoyo.

The way to the mission leads through the impressive Historic Mango Avenue. Documents from the mission show that it was built in 1870 by ransomed slaves. It connects the mission area in a straight line with the historical large cross, which was erected as a memorial directly on the beach. Mango Alley is a monument against slavery. Two more mango avenues laid out by slaves are located at the starting point of the historical slave route in Ujiji on Lake Tanganyika and on Zanzibar.

The monumental Msalabani Cross, which was erected in 1993 and is intended to commemorate the arrival of the first missionaries in East Africa in 1868 and thus the Christianization of Africa, is located on the beach in a direct line to the Catholic mission. On the cross is written: Mungu aneemeeshe Afrika (God bless Africa) - also the first words of the Tanzanian national anthem. The memorial was redesigned a few years ago.


Approx. 3 km north of the center of Bagamoyo lie the Nunge salt fields of Bagamoyo, which already made an important contribution to the wealth of the place in the first half of the 19th century. Even today, salt is still extracted here. Ceramic finds from the 9th century suggest a centuries-old tradition of salt mining on the coast of East Africa. Attention: The salt fields may only be entered with the consent of the responsible plant manager!


The river delta of the Ruvu River can be reached approx. 3 km north of the salt fields. A small, narrow path or a parallel somewhat wider path can be followed on foot or by bike (some of which are very sandy). For safety reasons, it is advisable to bring a local guide with you. With a little luck and a little money, you might be able to persuade some fishermen to take a boat trip along the river. A very nice little bike tour!


Most of the information was kindly made available to us by Father Johannes Henschel ("Father John") who, with years of historical research and numerous publications, has made the most important contribution to the study of Bagamoyo's history. He was awarded the highest cultural prize in Tanzania, the Zeze Award, for his work.

The statements of the Father were supplemented and updated by Rudolf Blauth (Chairman Bagamoyo Friendship Society/Germany).

We would also like to thank all photographers and collectors of historical postcards involved.

We would be very grateful for further information on the history of Bagamoyo or for further historical postcards or photos. Contact