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In its early days, Lindi was part of the Sultan of Zanzibar’s domain, a terminus of the slave-caravan route from Lake Nyasa, regional colonial capital, and the main town in southeastern Tanzania. The abolishment of the slave trade and the rise of Mtwara as a local hub sent Lindi into a slow decline, from which it has yet to recover, although it again moved briefly into the limelight in the early 20th century when dinosaur bones were discovered nearby.
Today, Lindi is a lively, pleasant place and worth wandering around for a day or so to get a taste of life on the coast. Its small dhow port bustles with local coastal traffic, a smattering of carved doorways and crumbling ruins line the dusty streets, and a Hindu temple and Indian merchants serve as a reminder of once-prosperous trade routes to the east.
Salt production is the main local industry, announced by the salt flats lining the road into town. There’s also a sisal plantation in Kikwetu, near the airfield. The coral reef running from south of Lindi to Sudi Bay hosts abundant marine life, and the site has been proposed as a possible protected marine area.
Sights & ActivitiesThe old, historical part of town is the section along the waterfront, though you’ll have to really hunt for the few still-standing remnants of the town’s more glorious past. Watch for the remains of the old German boma, ruins of an Arab tower and the occasional carved doorway. The small Dhow Port on palm-fringed Lindi Bay is lively and colorful and worth a stroll. From some of the hills on the edge of town there are good views over large stands of palm trees and Lindi Bay, and across the Lukeludi Riverto Kitunda Peninsula – ask locals to point you in the direction of Mtanda, Wailes (‘Wire-less’) or Mtuleni neighborhoods. On Kitunda itself, which was formerly a sisal estate, there’s nothing much now other than a sleepy village, but it’s a pleasant destination for walking and offers a glimpse of local life. At the end of the peninsula behind the hill is a good beach (hire a local boat to get there).
About 6km north of town off the airfield road is Mtema Beach, which is usually empty except for weekends and holidays. Take care with your valuables.