Tanga is both the name of the most northerly seaport city of Tanzania, and the surrounding Tanga Region. It is the Regional Headquarters of the region. With a population of 243,580 in 2002, Tanga is one of the largest cities in the country. It is a quiet city compared to, for example, Arusha or Moshi with a comparable number of inhabitants.
The city of Tanga sits on the Indian Ocean, near the border with Kenya. Major exports from the port of Tanga include sisal, coffee, tea, and cotton. Tanga is also an important railroad terminus, connecting much of the northern Tanzanian interior with the sea. Via the Tanzania Railways Corporations Link Line and Central Line, Tanga is linked to the African Great Lakes region and the Tanzanian economic capital of Dar es Salaam. The city is served by Tanga Airport.
The harbour and surrounding is the centre of life in Tanga. It is stretched out several km² into the country. It has several markets in several neighbourhoods.
Tanga was chosen in 1889 as a military post of German East Africa, and it became a district office in 1891. The local economy was based mainly on the production of sisal, which had been brought to the colony several years earlier, and population in the area grew rapidly. The town was also the terminus of the Usambara Railway line, which runs inland to Moshi at the foot of Kilimanjaro.
The name Tanga comes from the word for farm or cultivated land in several of the local languages (including Sambaa,Diggo, Bondei, and Zigua). Tanga gave its name to Tanganyika, literally meaning "Sisal Farm", the territory which in 1964 joined with the island of Zanzibar to form the modern nation of Tanzania.
As the coastal town closest to Kenya, Tanga was on the front line at the outset of World War I. A British landing was thrown back on 4 November 1914 in the Battle of Tanga, and the town was not taken until 7 July 1916.
Tanga Cement is one of the major industries.
Tanzanian cuisine is both unique and widely varied. Along the coastal regions (Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Bagamoyo, Zanzibar, and Pemba), spicy foods are common, and there is also much use of coconut milk. Regions in Tanzanias mainland also have their own unique foods. Some typical mainland Tanzanian foods include rice (wali), ugali (maize porridge), chapati (a kind of bread), nyama choma (grilled meat), mshikaki (marinated beef), fish, pilau, biryani, and ndizi-nyama (plantains with meat). Commonly used vegetables include bamia (okra), mchicha (a kind of spinach), njegere (green peas), maharage (beans), and kisamvu (cassava leaves).
Famous Snacks: maandazi (fried dough), isheti, kashata, kebab (kabaab), samosa (sambusa), mkate wa kumimina (Zanzibar rice bread), vileja, vitumbua (rice patties), bagia, and many others.
Since a large proportion of Khoja Indians had migrated into Tanzania, a considerable proportion of Tanzanian cuisine has been influenced by Indian cuisine. Famous chefs such as Mohsin Asharia have revolutionized dishes such as kashata korma tabsi and voodo aloo. Many Khoja Indians own restaurants in the heart of Dar es Salaam, and have been welcomed by indigenous Tanzanians.
Beverages - Many people drink tea (chai) in Tanzania. Usually tea is drunk in the morning, during breakfast with chapati and maandazi, and at times at night during supper. Coffee is second, and is usually taken in the evening, when the sun is down, and people are on the front porch, playing cards or bao. Many people drink coffee with kashata (a very sweet tasting snack made from coconut meat or groundnuts).
There are also local beverages depending on the different tribes and regions.
Local Brews: for coastal regions, such as Tanga and Dar es Salaam, mnazi/tembo is widely consumed. Other brews include wanzuki and mbege among the Chagga, and lubisi, nkencha, nkonyagi, and mbandule among the Haya found on the shores of Lake Victoria.