Places Rated: Tanzania’s Swahili Coast

The November/December issue of Traveler features our annual “Places Rated” survey of destination stewardship, and this year 340 expert panelists rated 99 coastal destinations around the world. Here on the blog, we’re going to highlight some of these coastal destinations and are interested in adding your feedback to the mix. What do you think?

Tanzania: Swahili Coast
Rating: 61 — “In the Balance” category

SwahiliCoast.pngGiven its historical appeal, natural beauty, and location in a relatively politically stable country, it’s not surprising that Tanzania’s coastline has emerged as one of Africa’s tourism hotspots.

The region “has so much potential” but will face numerous bumps in the road on its journey to becoming a sustainable destination–things like political corruption, insufficient infrastructure, and poor waste management.

Why did the place earn this score? Read representative panelist comments after the jump.

“A lot of potential. One of the major issues is road access. The coast offers some unique cultural heritage sites such as Bagamoyo and Kilwa and also beautiful (and protected) natural landscapes. The question is what will happen to the region once access has become easier. Foreigners are already envisioning big developments.”

“Environmental and ecological quality is good as urban development is limited, but marine litter is increasing. Cultural integrity is not capitalized on.”

“Still mostly unspoiled. Little development as yet, but demand by government to expand beyond safari tourism. Negative impacts if proper planning is not implemented before the rush starts.”

“Standards such as sewage management are still far from the norm, and tourism disrupts the cultural integrity of many villages. A lot of money appears to disappear in a few people’s pockets with no explanation of where all the tourism revenue ends up.”

Survey scoring system:
   74-84 Top Rated
   65-73 Doing Well
   55-64 In the Balance
   48-54 Facing Trouble
   34-47 In Trouble
   22-34 Near Catastrophic

See all 99 ratings and representative panelist comments online and share your thoughts below.

Photo: Stacey Wittig


  1. HomeShield
    November 19, 2012, 10:43 pm

    This article about Tanzania is a couple years old… do you have any updated information? Or know where I can get some? I’m thinking of planning a trip there and I’m trying to get current info. Thanks!

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    December 12, 2010, 6:29 am

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  3. Kerrick
    November 30, 2010, 6:34 pm

    Not to bum anyone’s trip, but I’ve heard stories from family members who have visited in Tanzania and they are filled with Feces and Litter. Some parts are beautiful, but like the article says, waste management is still far from modern.

  4. bijuterii
    November 29, 2010, 7:39 am

    It seem like heaven on Earth.. targeted for next year! Thanks!

  5. My Piece of Pi
    November 24, 2010, 11:30 am

    Gotta put this place on my list! Thanks!

  6. Sarah
    November 24, 2010, 11:00 am

    I’ve been to Tanzania several times and it always amazes me! Whether it’s the Safari, hiking Mt.Kilimanjaro, walking the markets and spice farms of Stone Town (Zanzibar), or relaxing on the beach and snorkeling. It is amazing!!!

  7. Jason
    November 24, 2010, 9:55 am

    I can’t believe that Tanzania has so many cool places like this Tanzania Coast. Thanks for sharing your discovery.

  8. Hunter
    November 23, 2010, 6:54 pm

    Benn to Tanzania….AMAZING!!!!!