Mangapwani Caves, Zanzibar - Stein Travel
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Mangapwani Caves

After the abolition of slavery in 1897, the industry literally went underground and the Mangapwani Caves stand testament to this with a natural cave and a man-made cavern on site used for the incarceration of slaves. The slaves were kept here until they were secretly transported to cargo ships and delivered to slave markets across Europe and the Indian subcontinent. The first is a large natural cave with a freshwater pool and the man-made cavern is a dank, dark cell with few air vents protruding above ground. After 50 slaves were forced inside, poles were fitted into gouges above their heads and planks were laid down so that another 50 men could be crammed in on top. To gain some insight into the unspeakable living conditions of slaves in the 1800s in east Africa, it's best to make a turn at Mangapwani.

Information & Facts


The caves are located 12 miles (20km) north of Stone Town


Swahili and English are the official languages. Several indigenous languages are also spoken.


The official unit of currency is the Tanzanian shilling (TZS), divided into 100 cents. The tourism industry prices everything in US Dollars and they are the preferred unit of currency. Major currencies can be exchanged in the larger towns. Foreign exchange bureaux in the main towns usually offer a better rate on travellers cheques than do the banks. ATMs are available in major cities only. Major lodges, some hotels and travel agents in urban areas accept credit cards, but these should not be relied on and can incur a 10% surcharge.


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