Kilwa Kisiwani is a small island about 300km south of Dar es Salaam. Here you can visit ruins of the ole port city from the 13th tot he 18th century. These ruins are a Unesco World Heritage site and are the perfect addition to your Tanzania holiday!
The big mosque, the palace of Husuni Kubwa with its octagon swimmingpool, smaller mosques, the prison and a urban complex are all open to visit and explore. The ruins are remains from a time when merchants traded in gold, silver, pearls, perfumes, Arabic ceramics, Persian pottery and Chinese porcelain. The island and its surroundings have a very rich history that perfectly displays the Swahili culture, which is a mix of African and Arabic culture.
The ancient building techniques which were used, make that the buildings are still standing and strong today. The coral stones mixed with limestone made very strong buildings who have endured quite well with the harsh island weather.
A SHORT HISTORY
Between the 9th and the 19th century, the island was occupied by Oman sultans and Persian merchants. Between the 13th and the 14th century, the island was the leading business center of the entire coastline and was already famous for being one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Kilwa Masoko (where you will be staying) has the most beautiful beaches. Long tropical beaches with clear blue water and coral reefs full of fish are waiting for you. It is a real hidden gem so you might even have the whole beach to yourself! Local life is very present here, but not at all disturbing if you wish to chill on the beach. There are some local football games on the beach and fishermen bringing in their latest catch. Most families rely on fishing for their income, so prepare to eat lots of fresh seafood!
When staying in one of the small and charming beach hotels on the beautiful beach of Kilwa Masoko, you’ll have the perfect starting point for visiting the ruins. You can not only enjoy the rich history of the area, but you can easily explore the local life, enjoy the beautiful beach and go snorkeling in the coral reef.
You won’t find many tourists here which makes it the perfect destination for some relaxing on the beach and exploring real local life.
Kilwa Kisiwani is easily combined with a safari in Nyerere National Park (also known as Selous) and a visit to Dar es Salaam.
Dar es Salaam to Kilwa Masoko: 5,5hrs by car
Nyerere National Park to Kilwa Masoko: 4,5hrs by car