Like the elaboratily decorated doors by carvings and brass studs you can find in the mansions also carved wooden chests, abundantly decorated with brass. The chests can have all kind of sizes, but the most are huge. The chests are used for storing clothes and other goods.
- Arts and Culture
In Zanzibar the baraza bench is very popular allready for centuries, as social meeting point. Everywhere in the streets and alleyways in Stone town you will find these baraza, for example flanking the doors of Arab-style townhouses . The local people use the baraza for just sitting or gossiping in the shade, playing games, drinking coffee, studying. It's nice, when you walk through Stone Town to see the daily life at this way. Traders are using the baraza for piling their fruits and other small trade.
And in the rainy season the baraza is used as an elevated walkway. Also indoors you can find the baraza, also in lobbies of the hotels, courtyards and terraces like this decorated one in the courtyard of our hotel.
The traditional dhows became the maritime symbol of East Africa. The art of sailing was allready known for two millenia to the east Africans. The main dhow building centre was at the north coast of the island with it teak forests.
In Stone town you can book an one-day cruise at a dhow, visitng a sandbank, a reef and two islands. Also common are the 8 M long mashua dhows, that shuttle between Zanzibar and the mainland. I didn't sail with a dhow myself, but enjoyed to see them sailing at the ocean in front of the terrace of the Africa House.
- Sailing and Boating
Buibui and kanzu
The Zanzibaris are also colorful and exotic in appearance. The women wear the buibui—a capelike gown covering them from head to ankles—when out in public. Interestingly, this may cover a Western-style dress. As for the men, they are seen dressed in a kanzu, a white or pastel-colored robe. They wear the kofia, a braided cap.
Of course you are not obligated to wear the buibui, kofia or kanzu, but you can try.
Modest dress and Ramadan
As Zanzibar is 99% muslim, it is advisable to dress modestly, so no shorts, for women a skirt or trousers that come down to at least their knees, and soemthing that covers the shoulders (short-sleeved T-Shirts etc are fine).
I was in Zanzibar during Ramadan, when it is considered offensive to eat, drink or smoke in public places. If you feel the need for a cold drink, some grub or a fag, head for one of the restaurants that cater mainly to foreigners (Blue on the waterfront opposite the House of Wonders is a good one) and satisfy your cravings there!
A real treasure of Zanzibar, anywhere you look at, you can find this wonderfully carved doors. You can see old and new doors, little and huge. Take your time and wonder around and, if you dare, cross the doors and meet the people inside; they are friendly and helpful.
Space age goat
A satellite dish is quite a common vision around Stonetown. Livestock is that rare either. But, this combination is quite unique...
Take things easy
The pace is much slower here. Anywhere you go everyone seems to take things easy and relax... Here's a picture of a couple of workers in a spice farm
World Heritage Site
Stone Town was recently and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. You can see details of this at: