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Zanzibar Manga Pwani Slave Chamber

Zanzibar Manga Pwani Slave Chamber

Mangapwani is a town on the Tanzanian island of Unguja, the main island of Zanzibar. It is located on the northwest coast, 25 kilometers (16 mi) north of the Zanzibari capital of Stone Town.

Mangapwani Slave Chambers were built by Mohammed Bin Nassor Al-Alwi around 1880 from the cave and connected to the seaside 2 km away, the area is surrounded by varieties of indigenous trees such as breadfruit, rambutans, and scent shrubs. It was an important transit point for the captured slaves to be sold to the outside world at the time of the abolishment of slavery in 1873 especially in the Middle East. Between 1880-1905, the slave chamber was being used as a place of concealment of the human cargo pending their disposal. It was utilized as a hideout by the Arabs for their human cargo ready for shipment.

Mangapwani (meaning ‘Arab shore’) lies on the coast, about 20 km north of Zanzibar Town. The Coral Cave is a deep natural cavern in the coralline rock with a narrow entrance and a freshwater pool at its lowest point. Water was probably collected from here by early inhabitants of this part of the island but at some time in the past vegetation grew across the entrance and the exact position of the cavern was forgotten.

Later, the area became the property of a wealthy Arab landowner called Hamed Salim el Hathy who had many slaves working on his plantations. During this time, the cavern was rediscovered by a young boy searching for a lost goat. Local people were able to use the water again, and Hamed Salim arranged for his slaves to collect the water regularly for his use. It has been suggested by historians that the cave may have been used as a hiding place for slaves after the trade was officially abolished in 1873.

The Mangapwani Slave Chamber is a few kilometers further up the coast from the Coral Cave. Although sometimes called the Slave Cave, it is a square-shaped cell that has been cut out of the coralline rock, with a roof on top. It was originally built for storing slaves, and its construction is attributed to one Mohammed bin Nassor Al-Alwi, an important slave trader. Boats from the mainland would unload their human cargo on the nearby beach, and the slaves would be kept here before being taken to Zanzibar Town for resale, or to plantations on the island. It is thought that sometime after 1873, when Sultan Barghash signed the Anglo–Zanzibari treaty which officially abolished the slave trade, the cave was used as a place to hide slaves, as an illicit trade continued for many years.

What is included in the price

  • Experienced professional tour guide
  • Pick-up and drop-off from your hotel in a private car
  • Entrances fees
  • Bottled water
  • Transport waiting charge
  • All taxes, fuel surcharges, and service fees

What is excluded from the price

  • Medical insurance if needed
  • Gratuities for tour guide
  • International and domestic flights
  • Visa fee (50 USD / 100 USD for American or Irish Passport holders
  • Airport/departure tax
  • Personal expenses

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