Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara, Tanzania - Stein Travel
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Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara

The small islands of Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara, just off the southernmost section of Tanzania, are home to some of the most impressive ruins in eastern Africa. The islands were used as bases for trading luxury goods like gold, silver, ivory and pearls from the 13th to the 16th century, and the region's Muslim heritage is displayed in the many mosques, palaces, forts and tombs found there. Nearby on the mainland, Kilwa Masoko has a few resorts that make a good base for visiting the islands, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Information & Facts


Swahili and English are the official languages. Several indigenous languages are also spoken.


The official unit of currency is the Tanzanian shilling (TZS), divided into 100 cents. The tourism industry prices everything in US Dollars and they are the preferred unit of currency. Major currencies can be exchanged in the larger towns. Foreign exchange bureaux in the main towns usually offer a better rate on travellers cheques than do the banks. ATMs are available in major cities only. Major lodges, some hotels and travel agents in urban areas accept credit cards, but these should not be relied on and can incur a 10% surcharge.


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