Local History

Mikindani history, and its community leaders, say the town was named for the young palm trees (mikinda) that grow around the town and bay. The protected lagoon has made a superb harbour for generations of fishermen and traders.

Mikindani was a home for traders dating back to the 9th century and has seen influences from Arabia, Portugal, Germany and the UK resulting in an exotic mix of multicultural traditions, architecture, language and cuisine.

Mikindani was once an administrative centre in German East Africa as well as being a centre for the slave trade through Reunión, Seychelles and Comoros. It was also famously the stopping point for Dr David Livingstone before his final journey into central Africa.

Built in 1895, The Old Boma was a German fort and the Southern HQ and remained an important administrative post under the British until 1947 when development moved to nearby Mtwara.

Since this time Mikindani’s historic buildings, with influences from many cultures, have been neglected by local and regional communities. However, with the help of Trade Aid, a charitable trust which runs the hotel, considerable work has been done to curb this trend and important historical sites including The Old Boma have been restored using traditional techniques. Trade Aid is also working towards creating a certified conservation zone to protect Mikindani’s culture and traditions for future generations.

The Old Boma Hotel is now not only a first class hotel but also a vocational training institute providing free hospitality education to selected students from the local community. Our students are taught a variety of subjects including English, core skills and specialist hospitality training. Once students have graduated from our training programme we also assist with further education, placements and employment opportunities.