Kilwa was once a prominent trading hub in East Africa. It was first established as a port of the Swahili civilization at the start of the 9th century and later served as a busy, wealthy commercial center.
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.
WHEN TO GO
Kilwa has excellent tropical weather for you if you prefer a sunlit holiday in eastern Tanzania during the months from June to October. It is warm and dry with a cool breeze; though humidity levels are high since as you located next to the ocean.
Kilwa's significance as a port town is very much evident when you tour the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites with African Mecca i.e. the Ruins of Kisiwani being the larger one and the Ruins of Songo Mnara
• World Heritage Site - Kilwa Kisiwani Island and Songo Mnara Island
• Safari tour - Selous game reserve
• Tung’ande cave
• Nyange hippo pool
• Maliwe lake
• Bird watching
• Historical site - kilwa kivinje old town