Mapango ya Amboni

Amboni Caves

Useful Information

Location: 8 km north of Tanga, about 250 km north of Dar es Salaam. At the Tang Mombasa road.
(-5.073443, 39.046845)
Open: All year daily 9-16.
Fee: yes.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: none.
Dimension: Amboni Cave 2: L=900 m.
Amboni Cave 3A: L=620 m.
Amboni Cave 3B: L=112 m.
Guided tours:
Bibliography: Michael Laumanns (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, Tel: +255-741-211091, Tel: +255-27-2643546, Fax: +255-27-2643546.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


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


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 900 m 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: 400 km 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.