Lindi is a coastal town located at the far end of the Lindi Bay, on the Indian Ocean in southeastern Tanzania. The town is 450 kilometers south of Dar es Salaam and 105 kilometers north of Mtwara, the southernmost coastal town in Tanzania, and gives its name to the surrounding Lindi Region, one of the most sparsely populated areas of the country. The town population was 41,549 as of the 2002 national census.
Lindi is located at the mouth of the Lukuledi River. Its port facilities are still rudimentary, allowing one or two small cargo and passenger boats at a time, and cannot accommodate ocean-going ships. The region was once an important sisal-producing plantation area, especially in Kikwetu, surrounding the Lindi airstrip, 25 kilometers north of town. A recently[when?] completed building project has seen the town of Lindi linked to Dar es Salaam by a continuous tarmac road, making Lindi accessible throughout the rainy season. An older tarmac road connects Lindi town to Mtwara, passing through Mikindani, an important Arab business settlement for explorers sailing along the east coast from Muscat, Oman, Malindi or Mombasa to Sofala.
Lindi is a cosmopolitan town with Arab and Indian merchants owning the bulk of businesses, and Islam is the predominant religion. The town has a market, a bus station, a post office, an airstrip (currently not in use by commercial airlines), primary and secondary schools, several banks (two with ATMs), an Internet cafe and many guest houses. The locals, known as Swahilis, are mainly engaged in fishing in Lindi Bay and some farming on the outskirts of the town. Employment opportunities are very limited, as Lindi lacks any kind of major industry. The only major investor is Aqeel Traders, which established here sawmills, which economically help Lindi region people by employing a massive number of them. From the coast the land rises sharply to the escarpment hills of Mtanda, once a residential area for colonial civil servants, with views of Lindi Bay. During the colonial era, a transfer to Lindi amounted to a re-appraisal or demotion.