Kilwa Kisiwani World Heritage Site

Kilwa Kisiwani World Heritage Site

Kilwa Kisiwani World Heritage Site
5
The area
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Attractions
1 within 6 miles

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.


5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles26 reviews
Excellent
21
Very good
4
Average
1
Poor
0
Terrible
0

KTJMelbourne
Melbourne79 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2023 • Couples
Well preserved ruins. Get the permit from the TAWA office in Kilwa and they will organise you a guide. We had Athuman and he was very knowledgeable. It was a really interesting tour, didn't realise how much space these ruins covered and there are a lot of building beneath your feet as well.
Written September 7, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Camille A
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Solo
Exceptional. I study history and archaeology, so I was very pleased to get a thorough visit of this exceptional site. Kilwa Kisiwani is extremely well preserved and was the most important swahili settlement for centuries ; the great mosque and Husuni Kubwa (the biggest palace in East Africa) are prime examples of ancient Swahili architecture.

I spent a full day (9 am to 7:30 pm) visiting the islands Songo Mnara and Kilwa Kisiwani with Athman, a guide recommended by the Slow Leopard Hotel. Athman was very well informed, had read the various archaeological books about the site and knew tiny details as well as the broad historical context. He was also very engaging and nice. It is by far the best guide I met in Tanzania during my 5-week stay.

The islands are located in nice landscapes, with mangrove, a blue lagoon with transparent water and places where you can do snorkeling and see the various corals (which are alive here, unlike in Zanzibar). I had lunch in the fishermen's village in Songo Mnara, which was delicious.

The only thing surprising is how little this site seems to be known. It's like visiting the Roman Forum without the crowds !
Written September 4, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jeff H
Moshi, Tanzania2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2013 • Friends
Our tour consisted of visiting all the major archeological attractions on the Kilwa Kisiwani island. The tour started with meeting our tour guide (Sam Moja) at the bus stand as we stepped off, he then helped us get to the boat docks where our boat awaited us. We then crossed the small channel and arrived on the island where the ruins of this ancient city state stand today. After arriving to the island we visited each attraction that is written about in local guide books, we saw the large fort, visited the stunning mosque, the sultan graveyard, numerous ancient stone structures, and the sultan palaces. Our tour guide was very knowledgable giving us not only the history that can be found in books, but he also provided some quite interesting facts about the restoration process that is happening at the ruins today. Besides the ruins, the island has some great mangroves to walk through, it is filled with village life, great ocean views, and a quiet atmosphere compared to the nearby Dar es Salaam.
The guest house that our tour guide arranged for us was located on the island, which allowed us to explore all the ruins over two days (although doing it all in one day is totally doable as well). I believe that the guest house where we were at is the only one on the island. That being said, it was still very satisfactory, large and clean rooms, with fans, running water, and a TV. I would recommend it to my own grandmother to stay at.
The key to our success at Kilwa was getting the good guide we got. He not only provided the essential knowledge that made the tour very interesting, but he also helped us get the permits required for the island, he arranged for the boat transport and guest house, and was very helpful navigating the maze of paths that led between different attractions on the island. I highly recommend him and his contact info is below.

Samuel G Moja
+255 788 719 837
samuelgalatao@yahoo.com

Cost: In total, with transport, guest house, permit, food, and tour guide, split between 8 people we paid about 40,000 Tsh a person (So 240,000 Tsh total)
Written September 1, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MarioFPolinelli
Rio de Janeiro, RJ14 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2015 • Friends
This wonderful site is well off the beaten track and difficult to reach, but worth all the effort. To get there, I flew from Zanzibar with Coastal Aviation, and place made 3 stops along the way.
The ruins are scattered around a small village in an island, and there are good informative signs everywhere. The remains of the arab fortress and a ruined mosque are the highlights of the place. I suggest you visit it during the afternoon, in order to watch the sunset in the dhow on the way back to the mainland. Moreover, the beaches around the city of Kilwa are some of the best I have ever seen, and in fact much better than those of Zanzibar. It is a shame that very few travellers ever bother going to Kilwa, it is truly a gem just waiting to be discovered.
Written June 29, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Safaris-Holiday
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania328 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2018
Kilwa Kisiwani was occupied from the 9th to the 19th centuries by Oman Sultans and Persian merchants and is the United Nations Education and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site, located about 300km south of Dar es Salaam known by its rich history and Swahili cultural heritage blended with African and Arabic cultures. Trade connections with the Arabian Peninsula as well as India and China boosted the growth and development of Kilwa between 13th and 14th centuries trading gold and ivory from the mainland Tanzania and Congo were traded for silver, carnelians, perfumes, Persian faience and Chinese porcelain, Kilwa Kisiwani minted its own currency in the 11th to 14th centuries.
The Great Mosque of Kilwa built by the ruler of Kilwa Kisiwani, Sultan al-Hasan ibn Sulaiman was the largest mosque of its kind in East Africa. The mosque accommodates two mosques, all constructed in 11th century constructed with coral stone mixed with limestone materials which made the architecture stable to survive all weather conditions for centuries. A great Muslim traveler Ibn-Battuta who visited and stayed in Kilwa Kisiwani between 1331 and 1332, ranked Kilwa Kisiwani among the most beautiful cities of the world during that time. The World Heritage Committee had approved the Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara as the UNESCO World Heritage site.
Written May 21, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jvw3108
Vancouver, Canada52 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2015 • Solo
Managing to get down to Kilwa Masoko is a feat---not great info about the bus station and such---but once you're there arranging a tour is pretty easy. My lodge owner (Gladys at Kilwa Dreams) did it for me and I got lucky with Sam Moja. He is mentioned in another review---check it out.

Gladys was worried I would be bored by myself at the lodge (I was the only person there) so she had Sam show me around Masoko before our tour the next day. I did not pay extra for this (who knows if I should have...but oh well!).

Sam arranged for the boat and had very good knowledge of the sites. He was critical in finding my way to all the lesser visible/off the main path ruins. He was funny and informative.

The ruins are cool especially when you think about the place being such a bustling port 7-800 years ago!

We were the only visitors to the ruins that day. I got to visit a village and hang out for a bit. All around good day.
Written January 31, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

danbarclay
Birmingham, UK139 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2014 • Solo
If you are interested in history then this trip is well worth the travel down the coast further south than Dar and Zanzibar. The road has been improved massively in the last few years and therefore as a result it only takes six hours to get there and is almost all paved other than about 15km.

The ruins on the island are extensive and very well preserved. My guide (who I arranged at the very small office next to the guesthouse at Kilwa Masoka) was very good; knowledgable and very good english. The tour takes about 2 hours and you see all the sights.

There is a fair bit of walking between all the sights but nothing strenuous.

My main criticism is the cost involved. You have to pay to see the sight (student discount available) and also pay for a guide and a boat across. It all adds up. My opinion is its worth it but others less interested in history may disagree.
Written April 18, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rob K
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania9 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2013 • Solo
Had a great time on Kisiwani, gladly didn't take young family as can be a long half day trip with quite a bit of walking. Amazing ruins and the normal Tanzanian village life going on around it just adds to the charm. As previous person said a real hidden treasure of Tanzania.

The 30,000 Shilling per person government fee seemed rather expensive tho once you have already paid for your guide and transport etc
Written May 26, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Charles S
Nairobi60 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2013 • Business
A place of ancient history and ruin.I had a wonderful and learning time.The weather, people and water was cool.
Written January 8, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

frede132018
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania2 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2018 • Solo
Kilwa is nice but I do not recommend the guide Abdula from the office center of information. I payed expensive for a full day all inclued for the visit of 2 island and I did half day without lunch. When I claimed, the center did nothing, an other guide gave me a few money, ridiculos comparate of the price that I payed to see ruins. Maybe the other guides are okay but be carefull with this guide, Abdula.
Written May 2, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Kilwa Kisiwani World Heritage Site - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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