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Kilwa

Swahili Glory Days
Beautiful beaches combined with a magical island of historic ruins, perfect Selous add on - like Zanzibar used to be.
TripAdvisor 4.8/5 from 330 reviewsSafariPlace 4.8/5 from 330 reviews

This is what safari is all about – endless plains, endless animals and the famous migration.

Kilwa

Kilwa became important as a prosperous trading and commercial centre that connected the Indian Ocean littoral to Africa’s interior. Kilwa traded in items as diverse as Arabian crockery, Persian earthenware and Chinese porcelain. Kilwa has been habited since the beginning of the 9th century and reached its commercial peak in the 13th and 14th century.

Between 1331-1332, the great traveller, Ibn Battouta, made a stop here and described Kilwa as one of the most beautiful cities of the known world. Kilwa Kiswani became an important town due to its control of the gold trade from Sofala in Mozambique. Sofala gained its independence from Kilwa in the early 15th century and the Portuguese explorer; Vasco de Gama destroyed Kilwa in 1502, hoping to gain commercial and maritime dominance in the Indian Ocean for the Portuguese. Kilwa Kiswani then grew rapidly, like Zanzibar did at the time due to the slave trade and in the late 18th century came under the control of the Sultan of Oman.

The ruins found on the island now include the vestiges of the great mosque, constructed in the 12th century of coral clay, the remains of the palace built by Sultan Al Hasan in 1310 and numerous smaller mosques from the 12th and 14th century. From the Portuguese era the ruins of a fortress and an entire urban complex with houses and public areas remain. The archaeological artefacts found at the site bare testimony to the commercial and consequently cultural exchanges of which Kilwa was the theatre.

Kilwa Kiswani and the neighbouring ruins of Songo Mnara are two archaeological sites of prime importance to the understanding of the Swahili culture and the Islamization of the east coast of Africa. It was for these reasons that the ruins were awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1981. They have since been ignored until a joint French / Japanese company are began restoration and exploration work on the ruins in 2003 and in the near future are hoping to open a museum showing the artefacts found in the ruins.

Kilwa Kiswani is now just a small village but the town of Kilwa Masoko is developing in to an important area for tourism in Southern Tanzania. Kilwa Masoko offers tourist deserted palm fringed beaches with safe swimming.

Our Top Tips For Kilwa

Martini Palace – This is a huge palace built around the 15th century and is one of the preserved buildings of the ancient times. 

Kilwa Beaches – I the stunning Masoko Pwani which is known for its natural beauty

Food – Kilwa Masoko is well known for its exquisite variety of seafood. 

Gereza fort – This fort was built by Omani Arabs during the 14th century. It is a very beautiful fort with a grand entrance that is designed from fine wood carvings. 

Safaris Including Kilwa

12 day Northern Explorer

2 day Tanzania safari - this is the shortest safari leaving from Dar Es Salaam. Special Offer - This is available either camping, lodge or a mixture of both.

This safari offers a great introduction to southern Tanzania with a quick visit to Mikumi - perfect for those short on time

12 day Southern Explorer

12 day Southern Explorer

2 day Tanzania safari - this is the shortest safari leaving from Dar Es Salaam. Special Offer - This is available either camping, lodge or a mixture of both.

This safari offers a great introduction to southern Tanzania with a quick visit to Mikumi - perfect for those short on time

2 day Budget North Tanzania Safari

2 day Budget North Tanzania Safari

2 day north Tanzania safari - this is the shortest safari we offer. Special Offer - This is available either camping, lodge or a mixture of both. This safari includes two wonderful Northern Tanzania national parks, these are Tarangire National Park and Lake Manyara National Park. You will spend 1 night at budget lodge, at Mto wa Mbu, the village next to Lake Manyara .
2 day Budget South Tanzania Safari

2 day Budget South Tanzania Safari

2 day budget south Tanzania safari - this is the shortest safari leaving from Dar Es Salaam. Special Offer - This is available either camping, lodge or a mixture of both. This safari offers a great introduction to southern Tanzania with a quick visit to Mikumi - perfect for those short on time

3 day Kilimanjaro Foothills

3 day Kilimanjaro Foothills Hiking Tour - this includes a cultural tour and a visit to Kilimanjaro base camp.  This trip is perfect for those that want to get a taste of Kilimanjaro and actually get on the mountain, but don’t have the time to attempt the summit. This is combined with a cultural tour where you find out about the tribes that live on this great mountain. Overnight at a lodge on the mountainslopes.
3 day Luxury Safari From Zanzibar

3 day Luxury Safari From Zanzibar

3 days luxury tented camp Safari from Zanzibar - a great add on for your Zanzibar honeymoon. This is a flight from Zanzibar straight into the Serengeti. This can also be included with a hot air balloon trip. This is a luxury trip using the best camps.
3 day Simba Safari

3 day Simba Safari

3 day Simba Tanzania safari - this is the shortest safari with Ngorongoro Crater. Special Offer - This is available either camping, lodge or a mixture of both. This safari offers a great introduction to northern Tanzania with Lake Manyara and Tarangire and the 8th wonder of the world - Ngorongoro Crater . We offer this safari for camping, lodge or a mixture of the both.
4 day Chimpanzee Safari

4 day Chimpanzee Safari

4 day Chimpanzee safari - special fly in safari to the home of the Chimpanzees This safari offers a great introduction to the Mahale Mountains the home of chimpanzees in Tanzania
4 day Hiking & Safari

4 day Hiking & Safari

4 day Tanzania safari and hiking tour - a perfect short option 1 day safari with 3 days of hiking. Special Offer - This is available either camping, lodge or a mixture of both. This is a hiking, walking and game drive tour to explore Ngorongoro Crater, Empakai Crater, Mount Oldonyo Lengai climb and a visit to Lake Natron. Please note the Ol Doinyo  Lengai is for advanced climbers / hikers.

4 day Mount Meru Climb

4 day hiking / mountain climbing- reach the 3rd highest summit in Africa. Special Offer Mount Meru can be used for an acclimatization before tackling it's big brother Kilimanjaro, but is also a great hike on its own.  Accommodation is in huts

4 day Selous Camping Safari

4 day southern Tanzania safari - this is an adventure safari to the remote Selous Game Reserve. This is available either camping or lodge This Selous Safari is perfect for travelers who wants to make a short visit of Tanzania's most wild nature reserve the massive Selous Game Reserve. The Selous offers great game viewing and also walking safaris and boat safaris.
4 day Tembo Safari

4 day Tembo Safari

4 day Northern Tanzania safari - a perfect short option safari for travelers to northern Tanzania. Special Offer - This is available either camping, lodge or a mixture of both. Rather than rushing great distances to see the Serengeti in such a short time we recommend this safari combining the best of Arusha, Tarangire & Lake Manyara National Parks as well as Ngorongoro Crater.
5 day Kilwa History & Beach

5 day Kilwa History & Beach

5 day History & Beach tour - this visits a UNESCO Site and one of Tanzania's best beaches. Special Offer  This tour includes time on the beautiful Masoko pwani beach as well as a guided tour to the Kilwa Kisiwani UNESCO World Heritage Site.
6 day Selous Explorer

6 day Selous Explorer

6 day Selous safari - travel over 200km through the Selous Game Reserve - Tanzania's largest protected area. This is available either camping, lodge or a mixture of both. This safari offers a great view of the Selous, from the mountainous North you follow the river to the eastern boundary where you have a boat safari.
6 day Zanzibar Beach Relaxation & Stonetown

6 day Zanzibar Beach Relaxation & Stonetown

6 day Zanzibar beach & Stonetown- this is a great add on to any safari  - beach time! This tour offers a spice tour on arrival with beach time at some of Zanzibar's greatest beaches and an overnight in Stonetown UNESCO heritage site with a walking tour.
7 day Northern Safari

7 day Northern Safari

7 day northern Tanzania safari - this is our most popular Tanzania Safari. Special Offer - This is available either camping, lodge or a mixture of both. Our special offer 7 day safari aims to give you a real highlight of northern Tanzania and it’s National Parks; we have combined a mixture of stunning scenery as well as areas with high concentrations and diversities of wildlife.

Activities In Kilwa

FISHING

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KILWA RUINS

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RELAXATION ON THE BEACH

Photos of Kilwa

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