Among African countries, Tanzania’s tally of seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites is exceeded only by Ethiopia and South Africa. Five of these – Ngorongoro, Kilimanjaro, Selous, Serengeti and Zanzibar Stone Town – are household names, but two lesser-known sites on this prestigious global roll call deserve greater recognition.
Kilwa Kisiwani, an offshore island south of Dar es Salaam, supports the haunting ruins of the most important of the Swahili city-states that flourished as a result of the medieval gold trade between Africa and Arabia – indeed, the 14th century globetrotter Ibn Buttata called Kilwa ‘one of the most beautiful and well-constructed towns in the world’.
The Kondoa Rock Art Site, inscribed as recently as 2006, consists of 150-plus painted rock shelters in the vicinity of Kolo in the central Rift Valley. Some of these exquisitely crafted panels are thousands of years old, and several can be visited as an extension to the Northern TZ safari circuit.