The Tanzania Times
Eastern Africa News Network

Island in the Stream? Kilwa Kisiwani pulls international cruise liners like a Magnet

Kilwa, that spellbinding Island on the Indian Ocean, is becoming valuable pearl in the sea.

Right now, Historical archipelago is rapidly emerging as the new global destination of large luxury cruise ships.

Within just four weeks, in the period between February and March 2024, the legendary Islet has been handling over 850 high-end tourists.

These rather wealthy and affluent visitors have been sailing into Kilwa Kisiwani aboard luxury liners.

Many other such cruise ships, that can be described as ‘floating hotels,’ are expected to drop their anchors there in the coming weeks as well as months.

Kilwa is a time portal destination where some of the major world history edifices stand the test of time.

At the moment the historical island of ruins operates under the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority.

But there is more to Kilwa than just the legendary Songo Mnara ruins.

The Kilwa District Commissioner, Comrade Christopher Ndubiagai admitted here that the precinct with its glass-clear sea waters and snow-white soft beach sand is now pulling many foreign visitors from other crowded destinations elsewhere, to seek refuge into the pristine cocoon.

“There have been major improvements ever since the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority took the control of the Kilwa Kisiwani Islet,” stated DC Ndubiagai.

“The walkways on the Island are well paved, there is now a concrete pier for easy access by passengers from docked vessels to land where there are also comfortable buildings in case one wants to take a rest,” explained the Kilwa District Commissioner.

An inflatable but powered Zodiac Milpo boat takes tourists back to the Poinant Bouganville Cruise Liner after the team visited the Kilwa Kisiwani Island 

Previously, the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) Board Chairperson Major General (Retired) Khamis Semfukwe had informed us that more than 15 luxury cruise ships are expected to anchor at Kilwa in the course of this year.

According to Major General Semfukwe, there will be at least six cruise ships arriving in Kilwa within the month of March alone and from April all the way to December 2024, a luxury liner or two will be sailing into the Island each month.

On the other hand the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) has restored most of the standing historical ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara.

Built using coral and lime mortar, the ancient structures include the Great Mosque, the palace Husuni Kubwa, Husuni Ndogo, numerous mosques, public squares and the Gereza (prison), all listed among the seven World Heritage Sites listed in Tanzania by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

As more tourists flock to Kilwa the latest luxury liner, Le Bougainville which is essentially a floating five-star hotel run by French cruise ship operator Ponant, docked at Kisiwani with 140 tourists among them French, Chinese and Germans.

After the Le Bougainville, another cruise ship from Ponant, the Le-Laperouse is expected to dock at Kilwa with even more tourists to sample the historical Island attractions.

Ponant Le Bougainville had previously called port at Zanzibar and after sailing from Kilwa it will be heading to Seychelles.

A second Ponant Luxury Cruise Ship is already on the way to Kilwa with more than 150 visitors aboard.

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