GUIDE ON KILWA IN TANZANIA
A coastal region on the Indian Ocean, Kilwa is located about 186 miles (300 kilometers) from Dar es Salaam in the eastern coast of Tanzania. It is divided into various small settlements which include Kilwa Masoko, Kivinje, and Kisiwani with Sanje Ya Kiti and Songo Mnara. Kilwa was once a prominent trading hub on Africa’s east coast. It was first established as a port of the Swahili civilization at the start of the 9th century and later served as a busy and very wealthy commercial center.
Africa’s natural treasures were very much in demand in the outside world, and yesteryear trading caravans carrying these valued commodities such as tusker ivory, rhino horn, bee wax, gum resins, sperm whales ambergris, shells from terrestrial tortoises and sea turtles, skins and furs as well as human slave cargo used the storehouses in Kilwa to stock them before they were transported to distant countries in wooden dhows.
Kilwa was also the meeting ground for traders traveling in Africa and carting commodities from regions neighboring Tanganyika at that time. They brought precious gold reserves from Zimbabwe to Kilwa via Sofala that is now in Mozambique. Goods such as Indian linen and exquisite Chinese porcelain were also part of the commodities traded here and dispatched to other locations. Then there were the cowrie seashells, fiber cloth and vibrant beads that were highly appreciated by the people living in the inner regions of Africa.
Kilwa Masoko is a principal town in the Kilwa district of Lindi, and still has a lively market, though not at the same scale as its past. It is a peaceful town with stunning unadulterated beaches and is inhabited by many fishing communities in the region. Today, history devotees use it as a stopover when touring the Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara, both of which have been declared by the UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.
Other than these, Kilwa also has underwater archaeological sites that are sometimes explored by scientists from the British Institute in Eastern Africa, University of St Andrews and University of Dar es Salaam. You will discover that there is a lot you can do on your Kilwa seashore tour with AfricanMecca. Aside from the historical sites, you could visit the different beaches and surrounding idyllic islands like Fanjove with their lush tropical flora.
You could also explore the marine world around Kilwa by taking diving and snorkeling trips to its coral reefs and also in the deep waters where you could spot dolphins and whales. If you are a seafood connoisseur, you cannot find a better locale than Kilwa.
Try the freshest bounty of the Indian Ocean in the form of lobster, prawns, octopus, crab and calamari. Or better still, you could catch them yourself. The local fisher folk will be happy to let you accompany them on one of their fishing forays and teach you their traditional techniques. There are also water routes that take you inland, and these are strategic sites for viewing hippos, crocodiles and rarely, dugongs.
To view a more varied wildlife world, you could take a photographic safari to the premier Tanzanian reserves and parks such as Selous, Ruaha, Serengeti, Ngorongoro, to name a few. For a glimpse of Kilwa’s colonial history, do visit the Kilwa Kivinje on your antiquity trip. The Germans colonialists set up a governing base here during their time in Tanganyika – pre-Tanzania. And for an insight into the latest research being carried out, you could stop by at the KIYODEA Research Center.
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WHERE TO STAY IN KILWA
You can use beachfront accommodations in Kilwa as your base for ruins exploring. Choose from hotels located on Jimbiza, Masoko Bay and other seaside areas. Fanjove offers a private island experience.
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TOUR KILWA ATTRACTIONS
Kilwa's significance as a port town is very much evident when you tour the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites with AfricanMecca i.e. the Ruins of Kisiwani being the larger one and the Ruins of Songo Mnara.
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BEST TIME TO VISIT KILWA
Kilwa has excellent tropical weather for you if you prefer a sunlit holiday in Tanzania during the months from June to October. It is warm and dry with a cool breeze; though humidity levels are high.
What are our Customers saying about us? READ MORE REVIEWS
I really cannot say enough good things about AfricanMecca- they made my holiday stress free and it really was a week spent in paradise. I will use them again for my travels to this region. Raza and his team were absolutely amazing!
Dr. Jennifer Byrne - James Madison University - Virginia, United States
Thanks for a fantastic holiday. It was in a great location and only took me 45 seconds to walk from my room to the beach. The bar has amazing views across the ocean. Thanks again for this fabulous introduction to East Africa.
Riazat Butt - Journalism Services, The Guardian - London, United Kingdom
Loretta and I had a great time on our honeymoon. Simiton, your safari guide in Tanzania was awesome! He was very professional, very accommodating and very knowledgeable. We are already talking about our next trip to Africa!
Loretta and Danny Haag - California, United States
Not a day has passed that we have not been overwhelmed by what we experienced, and by how fantastic our vacation was. It was truly magical. The pristine white beach not more than forty feet from our lovely room, the Indian Ocean sublime.
Jamie Davis & Liudmila Kondakova - California, United States
First off, we had the most amazing time ever and wanted to thank you very much. Tanzania proved without a doubt to meet all of our expectations. Every detail was thought of on our trip by AfricanMecca and were are all flawless.
Marcy Burton & Ryan Kerr - Ontario, Canada
AfricanMecca's professionalism and care understands that what distinguishes Africa is its authenticity, the land, people and wildlife who do not share our world of fashion and fanfare that distinguish so many travel companies today.
Cyril Christo & Marie Wilkinson, Conservation Photographers, Authors & Wildlife Documentary Producers - USA
We wanted to thank you for the great amount of care you put into helping us with our travel planning for Africa. We were very much in your hands. Many thanks again, Raza for all your care, attention, advice and professionalism.
Lorraine Beach and Marilyn Jolly - Marrickville, Australia
EAST AFRICA SAFARI & BEACH BOOKING TRIP IDEA FOR KILWA IN EASTERN TANZANIA
When beach vacationing in Kilwa, we recommend experiencing some of the surrounding Kilwa attractions and cultural activities after your Northern Tanzania safari to Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti (wildebeest migration).
You may optionally extend out to offbeat parks in Southern and Western Tanzania such as Nyerere (Selous), Ruaha or Katavi ending with a chimpanzee trekking safari at Gombe or Mahale by the relaxing Lake Tanganyika.
KILWA BEACH & TOUR PLANNING DETAILS
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