Kilwa is most famous for its historic ruins at Kilwa Kiswani and Songo Mnara. These are by far the best preserved relics of the pre colonial era to be found in Tanzania. Just a few hours drive from Dar and the Selous, kilwa makes for an excellent weekend getaway option.
- History, beach & diving: Excellent
- Best time to visit Kilwa: June - December
- How to get to Kilwa: you can drive or fly
- Safari types available:River Boat Safari, history centred walking Safari, diving
The fantastic ancient wealth of Kilwa was mentioned by Milton in 'Paradise Lost' and today it makes a great destination for honeymooners, divers and history enthusiasts. Kilwa has a range of accommodation available and has a relaxed pace. It combines well with safaris to the Selous Game Reserve.
Dhow cruises are available on request as is sports fishing and cultural tours.
Kilwa Locations view all
Kilwa Kiswani translates literally as "Kilwa on the Island". It lies across a 2km wide channel from Kilwa Masoko, the main town, and is accessible by dhow from the mainland. The island is famous for its historical ruins, in remarkably good condition and dating back to as early as the 11th century.
Kilwa Kivinje lies about 30k north of Kilwa Masoko and is a sleepy attractive town with a fascinating history.
Kilwa Masoko is the present-day town centre and literally translated means "Kilwa of the market". It lies on a peninsula and is the local area's administrative and commercial centre. Having said that the town retains a sleepy, friendly atmosphere and the local people are extremely welcoming. Dhow trips run from here to the UNESCO World Heritage site at Kilwa Kiswani
Songo Mnara Island lies approximately 10km to the south of Kilwa Kiswani and is the location of a ruined city about which very little is known. The ruins are in places exceptional, particularly the Sultan's palace which is extensive and displays fine examples of ancient doorways. The ruins on Songo Mnara date to at least the fifteenth century or earlier, and these older ruins were reoccupied by the Omani settlers in the eighteenth century.