Tanga Coelacanth Marine Park (TACMP) is located on the northern coastline of Tanzania. It extends for 100 km along the coastline from north of Pangani River estuary to Mafuriko village just north of Tanga City.
The Park covers an area of about 552 km² of which 85 km² are terrestrial and 467 km² are aquatic . It includes the bays of Tanga City and Mwambani, Tongoni estuary, and three small islands of Toten, Yambe and Karange. The uniqueness of the park includes: the occurrence and high rates of incidental catches of the CITES – listed and iconic Coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae . TACMP is also a home to other endangered species like dugong, sea turtles and migratory water birds. The dugong was 1st sighted in 2006 off Kigombe.
Moreover, the area has a highly productive and diverse fisheries resources and coral reef communities.
Toten Island is located in Tanga Bay directly opposite Tanga Harbour. The island is covered by a lush coastal forest with huge baobab trees and has also ruins of early settlements. When the Portuguese controlled part of the coast, Toten Island seems to have been used for a prison. Later, according to historical records, the island was around 1854 occupied by a considerable number of inhabitants. Islamic monochrome and Chinese blue and white shards mostly of the 15th, 16th and late 18th and 19th centuries have been found here.
There are also ruins of two mosques and German tombs of the turn of 19th century, as well as foundations and ruins of buildings of the German colonial era, when Toten Island served as a quarantine station and European graveyard, thus its name ‘Toten Island’, which is German for ‘island of the dead’. In 1884, the last inhabitants of the Island moved to Tanga. Research is needed to explore the history of the many ruins on Toten Island, which are also in urgent need of protection as historical sites. Toten Island also has small beaches and nature trails criss-crossing the forest and ruins and can be visited by boats, arranged by hotels and tour operators in Tanga.
Yambe Island borders the southeast coast of Tanga Bay opposite of the Ras Nyamakuu peninsula. The island is surrounded by coral reefs and totally covered by coastal rag and mangrove forests. Uninhabited
today, German records of the 19th century mention a small resident village of a local Arab ruler with his slaves. Maybe from his time or earlier, the island has ruins hidden in the forest, a walled grave and pillar tomb with large panels, enclosed by stones decorated with a herringbone pattern and a frieze of small panels. The herringbone pattern is a rare and unique feature Yambe Island in such tombs, but also sometimes found in ‘mihrabs’ of mosques.