This town was once a most important trading port along the East African Coast and a German East Africa Capital. Bagamoyo is home to many ethnic groups, including the Wakwere, Wazaramo and Wazigua. Different cultures including people of Arab descent coexist in Bagamoyo making the town a peaceful and friendly place for visitors from all over the world.
Bagamoyo is a quiet village with a few German colonial buildings still standing.
In the past, the town of Bagamoyo was one of the most important trading ports on the entire East African coast.
Its port was the penultimate stop of slave and ivory caravans that travelled on foot all the way from lake Tanganyika.
Once the caravans reached Bagamoyo, the slaves and ivory were shipped by dhow to Zanzibar, where they were then dispatched all over the world.
These days, Bagamoyo is a centre of dhow building in the region and along the Tanzanian Coast.
Now, the town has about 30,000 inhabitants and is the capital of the Bagamoyo District, which was recently considered as a World Heritage Site.
Economic activities in Bagamoyo
Economic activities, the main economic activities in Bagamoyo include small holder farming, artisanal fishing, livestock keeping, marinculture (seaweed and prawn farming), salt production, trade, and tourism.
Bagamoyo area has become an important cultural, beach and conference tourist hub along the coast of Tanzania.
This transformation has both created social and economic development opportunities while adding new to the key economic and social challenges facing the area.
This is one of the factors resulting into Bagamoyo acquiring small township status that needs further infrastructure upgrading.
Village adaptive capacity inter-comparison
Bagamoyo villages exhibit a wide range of adaptive capacity scores. Some villages are above the district average capacity and some are well below For example, Makurunge, Dunda, and Pande have scores for adaptive capacity that are above the district average, but for different reasons.
Makurunge village has fairly strong leadership that is closely influenced by its proximity to Bagamoyo town due to the new town setup.
The village also scored the highest in natural resources management.
Dunda village is situated at the heart of Bagamoyo town in which there are more tourism activities and alternative livelihood sources.
The village is also influenced by the presence of the district capital which necessitates local good governance administratively and in natural resource.
The village is also where most of Bagamoyo district employees live and thus ranking fairly high in emergence preparedness and society economy.
Pande village is very close to the district administrative center.
The village has strong leadership and fair risk awareness.
Risk awareness is due in part to PWANI previous climate change activities, and district promotion of alternative livelihoods due to fish catch fall.
On the other hand some villages like Kiharaka and Kondo are among those with less adaptive capacity.
Kiharaka has local governance problems, low risk awareness with few alternative livelihood sources.
The village’s main source of income has remained to be fisheries and agriculture which are all climate dependent.
The village has a lot of land disputes due since it borders Dar es Salaam whose population is growing very fast.
Kondo village has slightly below district average risk awareness due to the NGOs and district preference working with the neighbor Mlingotini village.
The Kondo economy is also weak due to high dependence on climate dependent livelihoods.
Climate change impact on key sectors in Bagamoyo
Bagamoyo coastal communities have experienced climate change impacts on their livelihoods.
Climate change effects on fishery and agricultural livelihoods have forced coastal farmers to explore ways to adapt to the existing climate shifting patterns.
These small adaptation actions are of great importance to Bagamoyo communities as they pursue more sustainable livelihoods.
Climate change is a global issue posing challenges to the very survival of mankind and preventing sustainable development.
The adverse potential impacts of climate change are now evident in Bagamoyo District. Bagamoyo District villages are exposed to climate change and non-climate related stresses.
The impacts pose danger to livelihoods, social assets and the natural environment.
It was noted that apart from fisheries and ecotourism, agriculture is an increasing activity for the typical Bagamoyo residents District officials and village key informants pointed to decreased production of both food and cash crops in recently years is among other factors caused by changing climate patterns and shift in seasons.
For example, in 2005 the production was at its peak, and gradually dropping in 2006 through 2008.
Bagamoyo is one of the prominent fishing districts in Tanzania. Conducted survey indicated that apart from increasing efforts and bad fishing practices, increasing temperature is the major concern contributing to low catch for most of the fishers.
For example, artisan fishers conduct fishing activities mainly near shores and in coral reefs.
To get good catch during hot seasons, fishers’ have to go further seaward. With poor vessels and gears, deep sea fishing is not possible in many cases resulting into the decrease in the catch per unit effort.
Bagamoyo community has shown that coastal tourism related natural resources are vulnerable to coastal erosion and shoreline changes.
Villagers have witnessed eroded beaches and shifting shorelines.
These have affected old historical buildings, bomas, and have claimed beautiful scenery beach.
Changes in turn affect coastal tourism, one of the increasingly booming activities in Bagamoyo district.
Indigenous sustainable adaptation options.
The Bagamoyo community has for some time experienced the impact of climate change in their livelihoods.
To counteract the effect of the change, the community has had employed some of the long term sustainable measures.
These measures are termed as adaptation options to climate change. Some of the adaptation options that the community has employed involve climate independent activities such as petty business, increased access to financial services (SACCOs and VICOBA), and shift of livelihood activities, enhancing growing indigenous drought resistant crops, homestead small scale irrigation, and small scale water harvesting.
The district has evidence of shoreline changes, beach erosion, unreliable rainfall and increasing temperatures in dry seasons.
These have seriously affected Bagamoyo community coastal agriculture, fisheries and partly booming tourism industry.
Unless there are serious efforts to adaptation, the district is vulnerability to the impacts of climate change will undoubtedly increase in a few decades. Increased district vulnerability will also have a multiplier effect to the country’s GDP.
Finally, Bagamoyo community residents have some indigenous adaptation measures that villagers use to survive.
Though these measure have low productivity due to lack of expertise and extension service, there need to enhance and provide technical assistance to indigenous adaptation options.
This value addition to existing knowledge will increase efficiency and save time and money to successful adaptation.
Tourism Attractions in Bagamoyo, Tanzania
Bagamoyo District has significant potential for enhanced tourism, and could easily build on its existing comparative advantages as a tourist destination, namely history, culture, and location.
Its reputation as a major historical site in Tanzanian history attracts thousands of Tanzanian students and both resident and non-resident tourists annually.
As the ‘arts’ center of Tanzania, Bagamoyo attracts many visitors to the College of Arts and Culture for training as well as for the annual arts festival.
Old Fort Bagamoyo
The old fort of Bagamoyo is the oldest of the many historical buildings that is located in the Old town section of the town of Bagamoyo.
It was first established in the early 1860’s by Abdallah Suleiman Marhabi, one of the first Arab traders in the area.
Being a man who was not involved in slave trade, he used it as a market place where he traded his merchandise, before handing it over to Sultan Said Barghash when the chaos of the illegal slave trade began in the 1870’s.
By this time it was just a lone standing – two storey building which is nowadays the main building.
Over the next few years, the building was used as a last stop by slave traders and their caravans before boarding a ship for foreign countries or the slave market in Zanzibar.
When the Germans took over the town in 1896, they changed the building into a garrison, constructing soldier’s barracks as well as a wall around it.
Old Boma Of Bagamoyo
The Old Boma of Bagamoyo is one of the many historical buildings that are within the old town conservation area of Bagamoyo.
It used to be an old state house that was built by the Germans at the end of the 19th century, with the sole purpose of being a residence for its leaders in the area. It was only used by them for a few years before their capital was moved to then Mzizima or currently known as Dar es Salaam, due to the shallow water depth of the Bagamoyo port.
It was again used by the British after their takeover of the German colonies from 1919 until 1961 when the country got its independence.
Since then, it has been under the jurisdiction of the Tanzanian government although it was never used as a state house since 1961.
In 1995 it was turn into a historical building.
Catholic (bagamoyo) museum
The Catholic museum of Bagamoyo is a historic landmark of the town that belongs to the Catholic Church and is located at the end of Mango drive, in the northern part of the Tanzanian town.
It also serves as part of a larger historic site that consists of several of the church’s old buildings such as the Livingstone tower, the first and second churches, the baobab tree and a cemetery where some of its earlier missionaries were buried.
The museum itself is located on the ground floor of the building and holds several artifacts, paintings, photographs and even documents that date as far back as the mid 19th century.
Some of these artifacts were from the German government of the time, some from the church and some from the locals and slaves that went through that gone through the area.
At the building’s rear and next to the dispensary is a baobab tree where Madame de Chevalier, a french nurse volunteering at the dispensary tied her donkey using a steel chain.
Over the years, the tree grew further to swallow the chain. In 2012 a further 34 chain rings were added to preserve the tree’s history.
A history of the museum
The museum was originally built in 1876 as a sister’s house and part of the Holy Ghost Mission, one of the first Christian missionaries in East Africa.
The construction was completed in three stages, the ground floor in 1876, then the first floor in 1896 and a final addition of the verandah in 1916.
Its ground floor was later on converted to a museum and renovated with the help of the federal republic of Germany.
Today, only the ground floor of the building is in use and fully accessible to the public, whereas the top floor remains of limits to all but church officials.
The kaole ruin is a site that holds the remains of the first settlement of the Arab foreigners in Bagamoyo as well as an archaeological remains excavation site.
Some of the structures at the site include houses, mosques, water wells and graves of the foreigners that died there.
Kaole Mamba Ranch
The Kaole Mamba ranch is a privately owned zoo for crocodiles that is located on the outskirts of the town of Bagamoyo – Tanzania. It also is a sanctuary and breeding place for crocodiles, with a few of them being as old as 55 years old and the youngest being just a few months old.
The word ‘mamba’ comes from the Swahili word for crocodile, with ranch referring to the large property within which it is situated.
The Dhow harbour of Bagamoyo is where many of the town’s fishermen anchor their boats and it is located on the coastline that is nearest to the old town conservation area of Bagamoyo – Tanzania. There isn’t much of a structure to actually call it a harbour, rather it is just a stretch of coastline where most of the town’s dhow anchor.
Despite their small size, many of the dhows found here regularly make trips to the neighboring Zanzibar archipelago, ferrying passengers as well as goods; However, use one of these for transport at your own risk.
Further south of the same area (past the customs house), there also is a small ramp where larger cargo ferries, from Zanzibar dock.
Holy Ghost Fathers House
The Holy ghost mission father’s house is one of the many landmarks in the town of Bagamoyo – Tanzania that are of historic value.
It has three stories and is one of six sites that are in the compound of the Catholic church (Bagamoyo parish), with the others being the dispensary, the sisters’ house (now museum), the Livingstone tower, the baobab tree where madame de Chevalier tied her donkey, the current church and the cemetery where some of the church’s earliest missionaries were buried, all of which date back to the late 19th century.
The Livingstone tower of Bagamoyo is a two storey high, 2 x 2 m (approx) building that is named after the great Scottish explorer Dr. David Livingstone and is located inside the compound of the Catholic church of Bagamoyo – Tanzania.
It is said to be the remains of the oldest church of east Africa, as well as part of a larger historic remains site that consists of buildings such as the Holy Ghost fathers house, the sisters house (now museum), the dispensary, the baobab tree and the missionary cemetery all of which date back to the late 19th century or early 20th century.
A history of the tower, the tower was built by father Anthony Horner in 1872 as part of the first church of the Holy ghost mission and presumably the oldest in east Africa.
Later on dismantle and a new one built nearby that still stands today.
After his death and being transported from Zambia by his two porters (Chuma and Susi), Dr. Livingstone’s body was interred at the tower for one night (24th – 25th of February 1874) while awaiting transportation to Westminster, London . Because of this, the tower was renamed in his honor.
Old Customs House
The Old customs house of Bagamoyo is one of the many historical buildings that are located inside the Old town conservation area of Bagamoyo – Tanzania. It has two buildings, on opposite ends of a rectangular compound, one of which is at the compound’s southern end and the other at the northern end.
The northern building is well maintained and is still in use today, with a lot of added renovations, while the southern building has seen its roof and several walls collapse.
The northern building serves as an office for the Tanzania Revenue Authority, or a customs house for monitoring any shipment of goods done by dhows headed to Zanzibar from Bagamoyo.
Most of these can be seen parked in front of the buildings at low tide.
The Liku house of Bagamoyo, is one of its many historic landmarks that is located on India street and inside the old town heritage site of the Tanzanian town.
It has two floors and a walled in rear compound that has several stand alone buildings, some of which make up the wall, and is currently also used as an office for the local government of the ward of Dunda.
A history of the place
The Liku house was originally built at the end of the 19th century by Abdallah Suleiman Marhab, although the exact date of its completion remains unknown.
It later on was sold by Rhatu Bhimji to the German administration, which used it as an administrative headquarter and a residence.
The famous German explorer Emin Pasha is also said to have lived there for a brief period  with Henry Morton Stanley, where he fell out of a first floor window that he mistook for an opening to a balcony during celebrations.
Presently, the rich natural environment of Bagamoyo is breathtaking; the beach and the sea, the mangroves filled with life, the greenness of the bush with its great variation of trees and plants, and the rivers running through the surrounding areas.
This amazing richness of nature is mixed with human activities in many forms. Every morning fishermen go out in their long and narrow wooden boats, setting sail towards the great ocean.
Sometimes they stay out on the sea all night. The sea is of unprecedented value for the area, and the gifts of the ocean have always been a source of survival along the coast, both through fishing and trade.
Away from the beach you find the town centre.
The centre is quite small. The streets are crowded and the shops and markets are busy.
The traffic is chaotic; there are trucks, buses, cars and motorcycles, bicycles, and people pushing two-wheeled wagons with heavy loads, women carrying amazing quantities of goods on their heads, children running across the road, playing next to the road or walking along the road, chicken and goats looking for food, people shouting, horns honking and wheels squeaking.
The areas surrounding the town centre are less busy.
They consist of dirt roads, mostly mud houses, some stalls selling fruit and vegetables, food-serving stalls, and people performing their daily routines.
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