Kuza Cave – Kusini, Tanzania - Atlas Obscura
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Kusini, Tanzania

Kuza Cave

This sacred, circular cave is lined with pools so clear and still that it's hard to tell where the water begins. 

Remarkably pristine pools, some more than eight feet deep, line the cave’s perimeter. The stillness of the water reflects a backdrop of stalagmites and stalactites, making it difficult to discern where the water ends and the cave wall begins.

Once the eye has adjusted, it’s possible to spot several openings that lead deeper underground. To date, these subterranean portals have yet to be explored.

Kuza Cave is a geological formation with a long, fascinating history. The Jambiani area, where the cave is located, was and still is characterized by countless underground rivers that snake beneath a relatively flat landscape. Some 250,000 years ago, the constant erosion of these underground rivers flowing between two hard layers of limestone caused the upper layer to weaken and buckle. From this collapse, Kuza Cave was born.

The new access to the revealed river created an easily accessible source of fresh water, which attracted animals and humans alike. Bones found strewn about the cave and surrounding area prove that giraffes, zebras, and waterbuck frequented it. And the marks on the bones, inflicted by sharp tools, indicate humans were present, too.

The cave has long been a sacred space for the local people. For thousands of years, they’ve journeyed to this spot within the Earth’s underbelly to hold ceremonies and pray. It’s still a place of religious worship, and is closed to the public when ceremonies are in progress. When the cave is open (which it usually is), it offers a surreal, peaceful glimpse into a wondrous underground world.

Know Before You Go

Kuza Cave has been the site of ancestor worship for thousands of years. It is, therefore, possible that access to it may be restricted due to a ceremony that’s only open to locals. However, these ceremonies are rare. On a regular basis, visitors can report to the Kuza Cave Culture Centre, which will provide a guide to the cave and a short but informative lecture on the cave. Half of the proceeds fund educational programs in the village.