The Climate Change Impacts Putting Kilwa Kisiwani at Risk

Wave action at Kilwa KisiwaniCyArk

How is wave action eroding Kilwa Kisiwani's heritage?

The Historical Gereza Fort of Kilwa Kisiwani (2018-12) by CyArkCyArk

The Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara is one of seven world heritage sites in the United Republic of Tanzania.

By Eliot ElisofonLIFE Photo Collection

Others include the Kilimanjaro and Serengeti National Parks, Selous Game Reserve, The Stone Town of Zanzibar and the Kondoa Rock-Art Sites and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Gereza fort, Kilwa KiswaniCyArk

However, climate change impacts are not limited to coastal sites and communities. Changes in weather patterns are being felt across the country. 

Kilwa Kisiwani infographic rising sea levelsCyArk

Increased rainfall and rising sea levels

Climate projections suggest an increase in intense rainfall events and rising sea-levels. 

Kilwa Kisiwani infographic cliff erosionCyArk

Increased wave action

Erosion caused by increased wave action is impacting the structural stability of the ruins.

Kilwa Kisiwani infographic increased wave actionCyArk

Monument Degradation

This drier weather, and subsequent heavy rainfall is already resulting in the deterioration of exposed heritage sites like the Kondoa rock art shelters or the famous Laetoli footprints.  

Kilwa Kisiwani infographic mangrovesCyArk

Mangrove Barrier

Reducing wave action to protect the sites.

View From Above the Gereza Fort Courtyard in Kilwa Kisiwani (2018-12) by CyArkCyArk

Increased temperature

By the 2040s, the number of days where the average temperature is over 30 degrees Celsius will increase from 10 to 80.  

Goats in Kilwa Kisiwani (2018-12) by CyArkCyArk

Impact on communities

It is also affecting living communities and their intangible heritage, resulting in changes to traditional pastoral activities.

Neema TeshaCyArk

“I think heritage is important to us because first of all it's what defines us. It's part of our identity. It's part of our surroundings and it's what makes us who we are now.” - Neema Tesha

Discover more

Discover how CyArk uses 3D documentation to empower local experts.

Find out more about ICOMOS' efforts to increase engagement of cultural heritage in climate action here.

Credits: Story

Dr William Megarry, ICOMOS, and Lecturer in Archaeology, School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen’s University Belfast.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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