Chumvi – a word that for a long time I could not remember. But it is very important. Salt – that is what it is in Kiswahili language – is important, not only for the body and for cooking, it is also an important factor in Tanzanian economy. In 2019 Tanzania produced 99.5 metric tons of sea salt.

It is produced along the coast where access to sea water is easy. Even here in Mchinga and Mitwero there are salt basins. The larger ones are located along the Lukuledi River which goes up from Lindi Bay westward.

Map of Lindi and Lukuledi River
Rivers in the south of Tanzania, that enter into the Indian Ocean, have a wide river bed, even kilometres inland, but their fresh water capacity is relatively low, especially in the dry season. This way the tides can flush salty sea water deep into the land and running a sea salt farm is possible even kilometres away from the ocean. Source of map:

Most of the salt of the region is brought to Dar es Salaam and processed and marketed there. However, nearby the salt farms, along the highway to Mtwara, Songea, Lindi and Dar es Salaam, there are many street vendors selling salt to travellers.

Sea salt basins near Lindi, but no sea in sight.

Work at these farms has not changed much, and is done as in the old times: The locks between the basins are operated manually and the salt is harvested with wooden rakes. This means that many people have to be employed, but at least it grants a source of income.

Sea salt farm

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