7 remarkable ancient African ruins

Posted on 25 May 2021

Africa is abound with natural beauty, with numerous nature reserves, rich biodiversity and captivating cultures. Famous for being the home to human evolution, the continent also has an incredible and long history. Here are seven ancient ruins you can find throughout Africa.

1. Adam’s Calendar, South Africa

This 75,000-year-old ruins site is also affectionately known as the ‘African Stonehenge’. Predating both the ‘actual’ Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Giza by tens of thousands of years, the discovery of Adam’s Calendar in 2003 was a complete accident, by a South African pilot. It is thought to be the oldest man-made structure on Earth. It is the only completely functional, megalithic stone calendar that is almost perfectly whole. African Shamans have called it ‘Inzalo Y’langa’, which means ‘Birthplace of the Sun’.


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2. Khami Ruins, Zimbabwe

After the collapse of Great Zimbabwe, the construction of the new capital kingdom, Khami, began in 1450 and ended in 1650. It was designed to reflect the stone production of Great Zimbabwe, with its own unique chevron and checkered patterns included in the walls and passageways. The national monument is a UNESCO world heritage site and houses the longest decorated wall in sub-Saharan Africa.


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3. Kilwa Kisiwani, Tanzania

Kilwa Kisiwani (Isle of Fish) used to be the middle of one of the greatest empires in East Africa. Located off the coast of Tanzania, the empire peaked during the 13th and 15th century and ruled from Kenya to Mozambique. The island is now home to the remaining ruins, including the Great Mosque, the oldest standing mosque in East Africa. The Palace of Husuni Kubwa, which overlooks the island, used to be the largest building in sub-Saharan Africa.


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4. Luxor Temple, Egypt

In the city of Luxor lies the oldest open-air museum in the world, the Luxor Temple. Roughly built in 1400 BC, the temple was created to worship Amun Ra, the ancient Egyptian God of the Kings and the King of the God. The temple was built by Amenhotep III and completed by Tutankhamun and Horemheb. Rameses II added to the final structure. During the Roman era, the temple and its surroundings became a fortress, housing the government in that area.


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5. Gedi Ruins, Kenya

This Swahili-Arab coastal settlement stretched from Somalia to Mozambique in its hay-day. Sitting in the tropical Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, Gedi Ruins is considered a sacred site. The ruins cover a total of 45 acres near the coast of Kenya and are enclosed by two walls. A number of coral-brick houses as well as a mosque and a palace can be found inside.


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6. Nok Caves, Togo

The Nok Caves are located on the cliff-sides of Northern Togo and were used as a place of residence by the Moba tribes during the 18th and 19th centuries. ‘Nok’ means ‘hidden’ in Moba language as the caves provided shelter and sanctuary to the Moba tribe from an opposing ethnic group, the Tchokossi, who would kidnap members of the Moba tribe to sell to slave traders.


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7. Volubilis, Morocco

In 1997, UNESCO declared these ruins a World Heritage Site. Volubilis has been well preserved and was once a town, embedded with cultural influences from High Antiquity to Islamic times. There are clear African and Christian influences visible in the architecture of this ancient town. What has been excavated is thought to only be half of what Volubilis once was. Within the ruins you will find mansions, mosaics and public and private buildings.


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Image: Instagram, @dhammamworld


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