I went to Kilwa Masoko just to visit the nearby island of Kilwa Kisiwani, location of the ruins that are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Kilwa Masoko is a typical Tanzanian town, where most of the activity occurs around the central market. I took a boat the second day to Kilwa Kisiwani.
Visiting these ruins gave me an entertaining lesson on Tanzanian history. This island, that is now home to only a few hundred inhabitants, was once an important trading port that connected the Swahili kingdoms with the Arabic Peninsula and Asia. Because of this the Swahili people were highly influenced by the Arabic and Indian culture.
The area was also occupied by Arabs during many centuries, and in the last few centuries by Arabs, Portuguese, Germans and British.
Most of the walls were made with blocks of reef and coral they gathered from the sea, and some of them have Arabic words engraved. Some of these ruins date back to the 11th century.
The main buildings are Husuni Ndogo (“Little Fort”), the Great Mosque and the Palace Husuni Kubwa (the “Great Fort”). The last one was built by Sultan al-Hasan ibn Sulaiman.
We walked around the island passing by the village situated in between the ruins. There are a couple of big holes where they collect water from. Throughout the whole 3 hours tour I was constantly bitten by an aggressive species of ants.
On the right you can see a picture of the inside of a small mosque with bats hanging from one of its domes.
I also saw one of the biggest baobab trees I’ve seen so far.
So that was Kilwa Kisiwani. Now off to Dar es Salaam!