Mapango ya Amboni

Amboni Caves


Useful Information

Location: 8km north of Tanga, about 250km north of Dar es Salaam. At the Tang Mombasa road.
Open: All year daily 9-16.
[2010]
Fee: yes.
[2010]
Classification:  Karst cave.
Light: none.
Dimension: Amboni Cave 2: L=900m.
Amboni Cave 3A: L=620m.
Amboni Cave 3B: L=112m.
Guided tours:  
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography: Laumanns, Michael (1994): Tansania 1994, deutsch-türkische Expedition zu den Matumbi Hills und nach Tanga, in: Mitteilungen des Verbandes der deutschen Höhlen- und Karstforscher, Jahrg. 41, Heft 4/1994, S. 86-94 (Deutsch - German)
Address: Mr. Kassim or Tegani, Tour Guides Offices, The Amboni Culture and Guiding Promoters, P.O. Box 1021, Majestic Cinema, Mkwakwani Road, Tanga, Tanzania, East Africa. Tel: 255-741-211091 or 255-27-2643546, Fax: 255-27-2643546.
Last update:$Date: 2013/04/25 23:02:16 $

History

 
Long known to local people.
1922area declared a conservation area by the British colonial government.
1940discovered by Europeans.
1946first exploration.
1994surveyed by German-Turkian expedition.

Description

Amboni Caves are not really show caves, as they are not developed. But they are regularly visited by safari tours with local guides. There are ten caves, the longest is about 900m long. One of the caves is used for guided tours.

The main attraction of Amboni Caves is the popo flight. Popo is the Kiswahili word for bat. Thousands of them live in the caves. They fly out of the cave entrance every evening at sunset.

Typical for the warm caves of Africa is the animal life inside. Beneath the bats, and definitely supported by their detritus, live numerous other animals in the cave: crickets, moths, and spiders.

There is also a ceremonial cavern, filled with ceremonial offerings like obsidian blades and pottery. The main cave is said to be home of a snake god. Another place with a history is the Lake of no Return. It got its name from a ritual of the Wadigo tribe: they threw new born babies into the lake, if they were albinos.

Several Legends about the cave are told on the cave tours. There is for example the story of two European ex-army officers. After World War II they tried to explore the caves, with heavy equipment and accompanied by a dog. They never returned, but their dog was found a few months later outside another cave. The dog was identified by its ID tag. What makes the story a spooky legend is the place where the dog was found: 400km away at the foothills of Mt Kilimanjaro.

Despite the rumours of several hundred kilometers of caves, an German Turkish expedition in 1994 surveyed the caves and found the longest being only 900m long.

Another story tells about Osale Otayo, a local Robin Hood, who was stealing from the rich (Europeans) and sharing with the poor (Africans). He used the caves as a hideout during the Uhuru appraisal. But finally he was shot dead in 1958.


See also


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