Many of the world’s finest caves bear scars of commercial greed, with tarred roads packed with buses leading to them, and hustlers at the entrance offering flyers. Inside, the place is often full of blazing light, with most vestiges from the past either stolen or swept away. How much better it is to see caves in their natural state.
I was delighted when I heard about the Amboni Caves of Tanga on the west coast of Tanzania a short distance from the Kenya border. Tanzania’s second-largest seaport is 350 kilometres north of the other Tanga in Zanzibar. Until the oil pipeline arrives from Uganda, this haven for 250,000 residents and passing yacht crews continues to dream on.
Amboni Caves Tanzania
Downtown Tanga on the Mombasa Road
The entrance to the Amboni Caves Tanzania is in a rocky cliff face hidden by trees near a river, and known only to local guides who take eco-centric visitors there. To reach the site, take the A14 road from Tanga leading to Mombasa. After 5 kilometres, turn left onto the B121. Find a place to park after traveling 5.5 kilometres further, and follow a footpath to the river. If using a hire car check your insurance first.
Entrance to Amboni Caves
This temple-like entrance conceals a series of 10 caves extending for 900 metres through a total area of 234 km2. The system evolved 150 million years ago during the Jurassic Period, and was underwater 20 million years back when liquid may have polished the walls to their present state.
Amboni Caves Tanzania – The Stuff of Legends
The local people believe the caves are the supernatural habitations of spiritual powers, and once used some of them as sacred chambers for worshipping, and seeking healing. There is a lake deep within, which some believe was a place for the sacrifice of children born with defects. Nowadays the Amboni Caves Tanzania are a place for quiet meditation. Every evening at sunset there is a sudden flurry of excitement, as bats lift their gossamer wings, and fly out into the night in search of supper.