Red Ripe Tomatoes at a Tanzanian Shamba (Garden)

By Mark Wiens 6 Comments
Heading to the tomato shamba (garden)
Heading to the tomato shamba (garden)

One day while in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, we headed out to the shamba (Kiswahili word for garden).

Just a short but memorable dalla dalla (local public bus) from the always chaotic Mbagate district of town, then down a bumpy sandy two tire lane country road, and we arrived.

Path leading to the shamba
Path leading to the shamba

In this area of Tanzania, with little rain and sandy soil, many of the locals and the shamans held belief that the land was un-farmable.

Impossible to grow anything!

Line of property - where the tomatoes begin
Line of property – where the tomatoes begin

Contrary to what others said, my friend decided to farm the land.

To the disbelief of the local villagers in the area, the tomatoes he planted not only grew, but they continue to thrive and each plant is now producing an unimaginable amount of fruit.

Garden near Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
Garden near Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

With the help of a small crew the land is farmed and cared for. Along with tomatoes, the shamba also has watermelon and cassava.

Water source
Water source

Digging a number of wells, where fresh water is continually available even throughout the barren dry season, the garden has a steady supply of water.

Carrying buckets of water
Carrying buckets of water

All by hand, everyday, two hard workers grab buckets of water and feed each tomato plant.

Watering the tomatoes
Watering the tomatoes

It takes a long time and the work is laborious, but the results and the fruit that each plant produces is remarkable.

Cassava plants
Cassava plants

Cassava is relatively easy to grow, and on the edges of the tomato plants, it grows healthily.

Healthy organic tomato plants
Healthy organic tomato plants
No chemicals go into these tomatoes!
No chemicals go into these tomatoes!

The tomatoes were healthy and glistening in the morning sunshine when we arrived.

Explaining how the tomatoes ripen
Explaining how the tomatoes ripen

Picked a little green, the tomatoes are then covered with grass until ripening up, and then they are taken via bicycle to the market for distribution.

About to take a bite out of this beauty!
About to take a bite out of this beauty!

1 wooden crate full of tomatoes, I’m guessing that’s about 25 kilos or so, sells for 12,000 TZS ($7.26) at the local market.

Heading back to Dar Es Salaam
Heading back to Dar Es Salaam

We headed back to Dar Es Salaam with a few sacks full of fresh, organic, and highly flavorful tomatoes.



6 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Lenny e Stacie

    3 years ago

    Hello Mark, great article!! Any Vegan or Vegetarian interesting Meals?

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hey Lenny, thanks a lot for checking this out. Overall, in Tanzania for vegetarian food it’s mainly beans, rice, and stewed vegetables. Nothing too extraordinary, but good!

  • Chanel @ La Viajera Morena

    3 years ago

    The tomatoes in these photographs are very visually appealing. 😀

  • Maria

    3 years ago

    Amazing what can be done here. They look delish