5 Ancient Kenyan Ruins to Ignite Your Inner Explorer

For travelers captivated by the allure of the past, these five archaeological gems scattered across Kenya must be on your bucketlist.

 1. Shanga Ruins

Hidden away on the island of Pate within the Lamu Archipelago lies the forgotten Shanga Ruins - remnants of a thriving 8th-century Swahili town. Wander among crumbling mosques, stone residences, a marketplace, and over a hundred ornately carved tombs offering a glimpse into this precolonial coastal settlement. While evidence points to Arab influence, legends persist that the indigenous Washanga inhabited these lands first before foreign traders took control.

2. St. Joseph's Fort

Just steps from Mombasa's iconic Likoni Ferry crossing sits a forgotten relic seemingly lost to time - St. Joseph's Fort. Some historians believe this ancient fortification predates even the famed Fort Jesus, with its original construction commissioned by Turkish settlers to guard against the impending Portuguese invasion. The sturdy stone walls we see today are reinforced remnants left behind by those vanquished Turkish garrisons.

3. Jumba la Mtwana 

Around 15km inland from Mombasa's shores, the enigmatic Jumba la Mtwana ruins rise from the earth - an abandoned 14th-century settlement whose very name, "the large house of the slave," hints at untold stories. With no written records to consult, the remnants of homes, mosques, and tombs awaken the imagination as we ponder the lives and fates of those who dwelled here centuries ago.

4. Gedi Ruins

Among Kenya's most celebrated archaeological treasures, the medieval city ruins of Gedi unveil an astonishingly advanced 12th-13th century civilization. From its masterfully crafted stone architecture and well-planned road networks to the wide array of domestic artifacts unearthed, this vast abandoned coastal town offers a breathtaking portal into the prosperous Swahili trading culture that once flourished here.

5. Thimlich Ohinga

Deep in western Kenya near Lake Victoria, the towering stone ramparts of the Thimlich Ohinga ruins command respect and ignite curiosity about their mysterious origins in the 15th century. While scholars continue to debate the identity of its master builders, the skeletal remains of homesteads, corrals, and crude industry within offer a fascinating glimpse into a precursor of modern urban living.


These crumbling remnants of Kenya's distant past represent precious pieces of the historical puzzle waiting to be rediscovered and appreciated by the modern explorer. Let me be your guide as we embark on an unforgettable adventure visiting these ancient sites and more, unearthing the rich cultural legacies they represent through enriching tours filled with local insights and immersive experiences you won't find anywhere else.