Nachingwea is a hidden tourist attractive area in Southern Tanzania, notably known by its rich African cultures, colonial history and the Mozambican liberation struggle for independence.
Located in Lindi Region, Nachingwea District is a best known area in Tanzania where the first groundnut farms were introduced in 1947 and which to attracted protests among the local Wamwera communities against forced labour by the British and South African settlers.
Though not much involved in Maji Maji wars, Nachingwea is rich with diversified attractions; among the popular ones are the Dog Grave, Nachingwea to Mtwara railway line, remains of ancient animals at Kilimarondo, Mount Ilulu and Frelimo grounds.
Nachingwea is the best known area in Tanzania where the first groundnut farms were established as “Groundnut Scheme” in 1947 by British and South African settlers.
There were 17 such farms, covering a big land of the district, attracting many white farmers. A railway line was laid to connect Nachingwea Township with the Mtwara port for transport and export of the crop also importation of farming inputs.
Frequent protests from the locals stalled cultivation of the groundnuts and later the railway was uprooted in 1962 for unknown reasons. A visitor to this area can see an elevation of the land where the rail bars were laid.
Nachingwea Township was established as a centre for Groundnut Scheme by one British settler Mr. John Morram. He chose the area to be his operation site for groundnut cultivation.
He named the area “Nachingwea”, a name derived from a local Nngwea tree. He arrived at the present Nachingwea Township in 1947 to establish the groundnut farming project.
The Tanganyika Groundnut Scheme was a project of the British government, but abandoned in 1951 as unprofitable venture.
Tales of Mr. Morram are connected to a Dog Grave found near Heroes Ground in the Township. Elders there say the dog that was a servant to Mr. Morram was a messenger that was sent for shopping, also collection of letters from the post office, also other domestic duties.
When it died, Mr. Morram buried it in a grave seen today, with dimensions of 3.1 metre long and 1.5 metre wide. There is no known cause for its death, though some elders say it was killed by an elephant in a fight
This grave of a dog could be the first such an attraction in Tanzania, and could easily be seen at the site. It has an elevation of two feet in a form of a pyramid outpost. There are several visitors from South Africa who pay a visit to this grave every year.
Other attractions in Nachingwea are the “Chapondo Dance”, a traditional ritual performance to appease the spirits during dry spell, a sacrifice for rain. This ritual aimed to please the rain spirits is conducted only by grownups aging more than 30 years.
This performance is conducted by Wamwera communities with sacrifices of various crops and products available within these communities.
Ilulu hill is the other attraction in Nachingwea by its history and prominence. It was a hiding place for Wamwera during the tribal wars with Wayao communities. From the peak of this hill, the Wamwera rolled down big pieces of rocks which killed and chased their traditional enemies.
The history of the Mozambique liberation wars against the Portuguese is seen in Nachingwea through various sites where the former Mozambican President Samora Machel carried out offensive operations against the Portuguese.
There is a three-kilometer long trench which the late Mozambican leader took refuge as a passage to get in and out of his residence and military training ground in Farm 17 Area, now a secondary school.
Training grounds for liberation of Mozambique have been handed over to the Tanzanian army and later changed into a secondary school (Farm 17 Secondary School) in 1995 and which accommodate 300 boys and girls.
Nachingwea can easily be reached from Dar es Salaam, Lindi and Mtwara by daily buses traveling to Southern Tanzania. A good number of tourist class guest houses and lodges are cheaply available in Nachingwea.