The Amboni Caves
The Amboni Caves are the most extensive and one of the oldest limestone caves in East Africa. The caves covers about 234 km² and were formed approximately 150 million years ago during the Jurassic age. The Amboni Caves are located about 8 km north of Tanga City off the main Tanga-Mombasa Road. According to researchers the area was under water some 20 million years ago. There are altogether ten caves but only one is used for guided tours. The Amboni caves are a vast maze of limestone and a wonderland of stalactites and stalagmites with extraordinary, fascinating crystal formations.
There is total darkness inside the caves, thus the visitors will not be able to see anything after the first 50 yards into the caes. It will take approximately 10 to 15 minutes to get adjusted to the dark light conditions inside the caves.
One chamber is called Mzimuni or spirits chamber. Here you can find many bottles, flags of different colors, coins, charcoal bones and lots of foodstuff placed on one corner of the caves. These are 'gifts' that the local villagers offered to the spirits. It is believed that the women who had no babies since being married, conceived shortly after 'praying' and offering gifts at the spirits cave. Many a people from around the world as far as Europe, America and Asisan come here often to 'pray' and claim that their problems are solved. Religious people, individuals and groups, come here from all over East Africa almost regularly.
There is another big chamber, in which some rays of light penetrated through a hole on the cave's ceiling. It is believed that if one followed the light thinking that he would arrive at ground level, he would be probably end up getting lost. To know and follow the darker passages is more important. The chambers and passages of the caves echo with peculiar, often Dracula-like noises of the bats who make their home their.
There is another chamber, which was also formed by physical processes. At one point, winged bats could be seen circling the Madonna-like statue, while the replica of famous New York City statue of Liberty is clearly seen at one point.
There is another space appropriately named the 'Picnic Chamber'. Here there's a huge space for folks to play volleyball or some similar pastime. An interesting feature here is a statue shaped like a map of Africa.
Another chamber once belonged to two local gangsters called Osale Otango and Paulo Hamis. Both terrorized the citizens of the Tanga region, including Europeans colonialists and settlers. Here the peculiar noises could even run a chill down ones spine.
There is also a certain chamber, which has a stalactite feature believed to be 75,000 years old. It is still growing today at the average of one and a half inches per year.
There are four passages, which if followed they would lead to Nairobi, Mombassa and Kilimanjaro, the time to reach these places would also be reduced to half, but for security reasons the authorities have closed the passages..
The caves formation, it was believed that the process began 20 million years ago, but the Amboni caves started taking shape 14 million years ago. The Amboni caves can provide an ideal movie location, a natural background for any adventure films. For scientists it is ideal for specialized research. For students, it is a place to witness the great forces of chemistry, sound and biology. The caves are a paradise for adventure tourists.
All together there are six caves. Visitors are taken on only three caves of almost 1 km, since authorities believe that wild animals inhabit the remaining three. The largest of the six caves is called 'Mabavu' Powerful a name given by local people and it is this cave, which is believed to hold witch-granting spirits. Whatever the local stories may be, the Amboni caves are well worth a visit while in Tanzania.
Nearby the Amboni Cave there is the Galanos Hot Springs, situated about 3 km on the Mombassa road, 8 km from Tanga Municipality. There are also the mineral rich springs. There are blue and yellow deposits in the canal, through which the sulfur water flows. Further studies will show whether they are more ideal for therapeutically or recreational purposes.