The Isimila Historical Site in southern Tanzania, 21 km from the city of Iringa, off the Tanzania-Zambia highway, is ideal for families and groups.
One can reach this historical and geographical site by which includes an archeological treasure trove and natural columns via minibus, taxi or motorbike.
It took us eight hours by bus from Dar es Salaam to Iringa. A drive to Iringa only takes about five to six hours, but frequent police checks to protect against speeding vehicles and multiple roadside checks add to the travel time.
From Iringa we hired a taxi to Isimila for a day tour of the natural pillars . After a 15 minute drive we paid 25,000 Tsh ($11) to the Isimila Historical Site.
There is a small museum where the journey begins with a guide who will give a brief introduction to the creation of the Site and more are about fossils, tool artifacts and the natural pillars.
We continue into the gorge down a steep footpath. The guide maintained ongoing commentary as we admired the pillars and the intricacies behind their formation.
The walk is scenic as you walk through the earth pillars with reddish colors and birds chirping.< p>The site is under the management of Tanzania National Parks. The site’s conservator, Nathalia Mamsery, said the natural pillars are in a dried-up lake basin, but caves can be found within the pillars.
Nearby is the Isimila Stone Age site, which houses stone tools from the Early periods were discovered in the early 1950s. There is an abundance of stone tools sculpted for every activity known throughout human evolution.
There are hammer stones, ax heads, flints and scrapers estimated to have been made between 60,000 and 100,000 years ago. A museum with small, well-labelled exhibits highlights many of the discoveries.
In the 1950s, archaeologists uncovered some of the most important Stone Age tools.
They also found fossilized mammalian bones ; an extinct hippopotamus and something similar to the modern giraffe but with a shorter neck, our guide told us.
He added that the first excavation work was carried out between July and November 1957, followed by another by July–August 1958, after a South African explorer, DA McCleman, discovered the site in 1951 while traveling by road from Nairobi to Johannesburg.
McCleman collected some stone tools and deposited them with the Archaeological Survey Union of South Africa.
During these two excavations, a detailed geological survey of Isimila was carried out and Dr. Louis Leakey was the first researcher to examine the animal remains recovered from the two exercises.
The tools were made from a variety of rocks including granite and quartzite. Fossils in the area indicate the existence of elephants, a variety of extinct pigs, giraffes and hippos.
Entrance fees to the Isimila site are Tsh2,000 ($0.90) for Tanzanians and East Africans Community (EAC). Citizens. Non-EAC citizens pay US$10 to access the site.
Accommodation is available in the town of Iringa, where guest houses and lodges can be found at reasonable nightly rates.
< p>That is, tourists to the Southern Circuit consisting of several national parks of Katavi, Kitulo, Mahale, the Udzungwa Mountains, Mikumi and Ruaha, you can hop on to the Isimila site for a historical and geographical tour.