Zanzibar Town Travel Guide

  • Two boys - Stone Town
    Two boys - Stone Town
    by PierreZA
  • Restaurants
    by DAO
  • The Waterfront of Stone Town
    The Waterfront of Stone Town
    by PierreZA

Zanzibar Town Things to Do

  • OLD DISPENSARY

    The Old Dispensary is a colourful and exotic looking building not far from the Port. It was built by Sir Tharia Topan (a rich man in Zanzibar) to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. It was started in 1887, but worked stopped in 1891 when Sir Tharia died in India. His widow finally had the building completed inl 1894. It takes its name...

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  • The Slave Chambers

    Next to the Anglican Cathedral, you will find the St Monica’s Guesthouse. This was previously used as a missionary hospital. In the basement are the slave chambers, where slaves were ‘kept’ in terrible conditions. These are claustrophobic underground cells in which up to 75 slaves were held at a time.It is a chilling experience.Entrance fee of 3...

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  • The Doors of Stone Town

    There are still many well preserved and restored wooden doors to admire in Stone Town. They are all over town, so keep our eyes open. Residential doors are the most elaborate. They are divided into two panels, and sometimes have a smaller door in one of the panels.The frames are very decorative, and different patterns are recognizable.Some doors...

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Zanzibar Town Hotels

Zanzibar Town Restaurants

  • Wonderful view,wonderful food

    On a windy terrace overlooking the sea, an exclusive ambiance for lunch or dinner. Now open at external guests,the very interesting cuisine is a mix of Italian and Swahili, using only organic and selected products like extra virgin olive oil from a little farm in Tuscany, whole flour for the home made bread and pasta, brown sugar with selected...

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  • THE ONLY BBQ IN STONE TOWN

    I call this Bollywood Grill, but it actually has no name. The owner is a nice man who runs a hygenic place to eat at a great price and the sodas are ice cold. He actually has a grill outside of the restaraunt and a grill man (pictured in the corner). Everything is covered and made fresh. A large plate of meat, salad and fries will cost you about...

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  • NICE AND HOT

    The outside looks like a French-style veranda from New Orleans with cushioned seat and lush mini-gardens keeping the tables cool. From this little oasis of tranquillity you can oversee the harbour and nearby islands. This is an excellent, but not cheap, place to enjoy a cold tropical drink. The daily specials are written up on a chalkboard at the...

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Zanzibar Town Nightlife

  • AN EVENING IN THE PARK

    As day blends into evening the tour guides and the souvenir sellers begin to fade away with the sun. The dusk and its red rays turn the Old Arab Fort and the stone benches of Forodhani Gardens into a brownish red colour. The grill men move in to barbeque all manner of meat and fish and the cold beer man finds you. There is nothing finer that being...

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  • Not much nightlife in Stonetown

    There is not much nightlife in StoneTown. Bwawani Disco and the bar across the street from Tembo Hotel is the only places I know about. And it was a kind of show in one of the restaurants at the harbour. If it is something more, tell me. I couldn't find it.

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  • ON TOP OF THE PORT

    Looking for a super chill out bar with ice cold, cheap beers and a fantastic sea breeze view? The Malindi Guest House has the best rooftop bar of any in Stone Town outside of the very overpriced 5 star hotels. It’s restaurant and bar are in a completely open rooftop that overlooks the port and part of Stone Town. You often have the place to...

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Zanzibar Town Transportation

  • ALLY KEYS - THE MAN TO HELP YOU GET...

    Need some Wheels? Ally Keys is The Man in Stone Town. He hires bicycles, motorcycles, cars and 4x4 jeeps. What ever you need, Ally has the keys to it. A friendly man with a great sense of humour – Ally can help. Prices are reasonable and you can negotiate on longer hires.As his own sign says:“The main man in town for motorcycles is a colourful...

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  • Getting to Stone Town from other areas

    I stayed on the East Coast of Zanzibar Island, about 1hour and 15 min from Stone Town. The safest and cheapest we could find was 40 USD. The hotel had an asking price of 80 USD! (It is for a return trip). We did explore the possibility of using a dala-dala, but it did not seem to be very safe, and it also takes about 3x longer to get there.

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  • Getting there by Air

    We flew directly from Johannesburg to Zanzibar with 1Time. This is a budget airline in South Africa, flying on Tuesdays and Saturdays to Zanzibar and back from Jo'burg. The major advantage of this option is that you do not need to fly to Dar Es Salaam first, getting a connection to Zanzibar. Flying time is only 3 hours!It is a very popular route...

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Zanzibar Town Shopping

  • DANCING MASKS

    Can you travel to the one of the most exotic places on earth and not buy an ‘authentic’ mask? Of course not. You have to look around and you have to haggle. Look desperate and on your way to the airport and the price just trebled. Want to try the only fixed price shop in Stone Town? Worse still. Never shop if the a Cruise Ship is in the harbour,...

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  • GRACE'S PLACE

    Ok, I cannot remember the real name of this shop, but I can tell you about it and where to find it. Grace and her married sister run this shop and Grace is the nicest woman in Stone Town. Her brother-in-law (never saw him) owns the shop. They have absolutely everything here. Paintings, wood carvings, textiles and especially really great dancing...

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  • Expensive shopping for tourists

    There are some shopping places in Stonetown where you can buy local craft . But they are mostly for tourists, and the price is more expensive than you will find in Dar es Salaam.

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Zanzibar Town Local Customs

  • THE SHORTEST WAR IN HISTORY

    Zanzibar fought the world’s shortest war against the British Empire – and lost after 38 minutes. Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini had been cooperation with the British when he suddenly died on 25 August 1896. His nephew, Khalid bin Bargash, seized power at the expense of another would-be pro British Sultan. Khalid was ordered to step aside by Britain. He...

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  • UNGUJA

    Unguja is the ‘Official’ name of Zanzibar. I am sure that somewhere on an administrative map this beautiful island is labelled with this hideous name. Forget it. The whole world calls it Zanzibar, especially the local people. Just take a look at some of my pictures. Z A N Z I B A R. Come on, say it with me. This complaint of mine should almost be...

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  • COLLAPSING HOUSES

    Many of the oldest houses and building in Stone Town are falling down! Before the 1830’s most of the building were built from mud and other materials and were not built to last. With the rise of Colonialism and international trade, buildings were begun to be built from ‘Stone’, giving Stone Town its name. Stones, corals and just about any solid...

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Zanzibar Town Warnings and Dangers

  • Beach Boys

    Beach Boys (also called ‘ticks’) are men wanting to act as your guide in Stone Town, organize trips and take you to shops where they get commission. In Stone Town they can actually become quite a nuisance and difficult to get rid of. I have tried my best to stay polite, but some of them are really very pushy. They were totally different to the...

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  • THE BEACH BOYS

    Street Touts are often called ‘Beach Boys’ even when they are 40-50 years old. The local name for them is ‘Papasi’ the Swahili word for ticks. So what do they want? Most are friendly, definitely persistent and can be downright helpful sometimes. They will approach you just about anywhere. If you truly do not want any service of any kind, then be...

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  • Bargaining, bargaining, bargaining...

    It's so annoying - you have to bargain about everything, from taxis and shops to tours and accomodation. It's just so silly - one day I bargained for 20 minutes with a taxi driver, next day I had to bargain again with the same guy for the same service, same story repeated again after a week. Oh, and those souvenir shops - show no mercy when...

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Zanzibar Town Tourist Traps

  • THE BIRTHPLACE OF FREDDIE MERCURY HOUSE

    Freddie Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara right here in Stone Town. His father worked at the British Colonial Office and young Farrokh was sent to school in England where he learned to play the piano. Because of the 1964 Zanzibar Revolution, his family fled permanently to England and the rest is show business and music history. A good guide in Stone...

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  • Zanzibar airport

    Note that you have to pay 30 USD in terminal fee (October 2008). And you have to do this even if you have paid the airport tax in your airticket. This is an irregular fee claimed by the Zanzibar airport. Even at the security scan, the officers asked for a tip. I have never seen a behaviour like this at any airport. And the stupid charter tourists...

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  • trust before smoking

    For you Weedsmokers: While it is no problem to find weed on zanzibar like in whole tanzania, be aware of guys you don´t trust. It happens that they cooperate with the police and tell them after selling. You could get into deep troubles! You travel and therefor have time.If you need weed, just have a long chat with these guys and folow your...

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Zanzibar Town What to Pack

  • BOOTS & BOOKS

    A GOOD PAIR OF BOOTS!Walking around Zanzibar is a fantastic way to see everything, but you get plenty of hazards. Natural ones are the usual rocks, vines, animal droppings, etc. Manmade items like glass and other rubbish make an appearance from time to time. And if that wasn’t enough – the rainy season will make you want those quick dry light...

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  • Links and info at the web

    http://www.go2africa.com/tanzania/zanzibar-spice-coast/zanzibar-town/http://www.sunrisesafaris.com/zanzibar.html

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  • Links and info at the web

    http://www.go2africa.com/tanzania/zanzibar-spice-coast/zanzibar-town/http://www.sunrisesafaris.com/zanzibar.html

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Zanzibar Town Off The Beaten Path

  • THE FINEST BEACHES ARE IN THE EAST

    Relaxation is waiting for YOU! Stone Town is the large Town that is a walking talking living Museum of Colonial History and the influences of Arab and European Cultures. Get out of town! Go to the East Coast! All the best beaches are here. A protective coral reef keeps the tide at bay and you can have pristine beaches all to yourself. You will see...

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  • THE MANGROVE SWAMP AT JOZANI FOREST

    No visit to Jozani Forrest would be complete without a tour of the Chwaka Bay Mangrove Swamp across the road. Mangroves are strange trees that have intricate root systems above the ground that actually hold the tree up. Because the swamp is in ‘brackish water’, a mixture of sea salt water and fresh, the Mangroves grow as an extension of a mother...

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  • The Persian baths of Kidichi

    An interesting sight only a few minutes away from the spice plantations are the Kidichi Persian baths. What can yopu see? Well, the Persian Baths built by Seyyid Said Bin Sultan, the first Sultan of Zanzibar for his wife the Princess Shehrzard, who also happened to be the grand-daughter of the Shah of Persia.Entrance is free, and one could only...

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Zanzibar Town Sports & Outdoors

  • by drcondon Written Feb 12, 2005

    Went with a company called Bahari Divers, based right on the seafront near Forodhani Gardens, Very good informative place.
    Learnt to scuba dive in 4 days on PADI course

    Equipment: All given to you, excellent condition, you first learn to dive in the Serena Inns pools in Stone Town before going out to sea

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Zanzibar Town Favorites

  • Zanzibar Town - not only Stone Town

    Zanzibar town (from the Persian Zendji-Bar, which means 'land of blacks') has a "romantic, colourful history of seafarers and explorers, of riches and tragedy, and the dark stain of slavery" - I so wished that these were my words.In the past it was the most important trading centre of East Africa and a real Babel of people and languages: Sumerians,...

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  • The shortest war...

    Territorial/ Colonial disputes between Britain and Germany, led to what has been recorded as the `shortest war in history'.Britain attacked Zanzibar August 25 1896, when the Sultan of Zanzibar, with German support, tried to defy its prevailing influence in the region.A fleet of British warships bombed the island and the Sultans palace, leaving it...

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  • Freddy Mercury

    At the 5th of September 1946 Farok Bulsara was born in Stone town to a family of wealthy Zoroastrian Parsee immigrants from India.Farok Bulsara is better known in the world as Freddie Mercury, the flamboyant singer of the rock group Queen. Farok left the island at the age of nine for a boardig school in India and never returned to Zanzibar. Freddie...

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Explore Deeper into Zanzibar Town
BEACH BOYS
Local Customs
Rooftop Bar Chavda Hotel
Restaurants
ZANZIBARIAN BEDS
Local Customs
HISTORIC ENTERTAINMENT
Restaurants
Restaurant with good entertainment
Restaurants
At the Airport
Shopping
Great for shopping
Shopping
Money
Local Customs
Beer
Local Customs
Walking
Transportation
In the making
Restaurants
Don't miss this great place
Restaurants
Hamamni Persian Baths
Things to Do
The Slave Sculpture
Things to Do
Anglican Cathedral
Things to Do
Tippu Tip’s House
Things to Do
Kelele Square
Things to Do
Shangani Post Office
Things to Do
The Orphanage & Shangani
Things to Do
Forodhani Gardens
Things to Do
Omani Fort (Ngome Kongwe)
Things to Do
Beit al-Ajaib (The House of Wonders)
Things to Do
Palace Museum
Things to Do
The Old Customs House
Things to Do
The Big Tree
Things to Do
The Old Dispensary
Things to Do
The Waterfront of Stone Town
Things to Do
YOUR PICTURE WITH THE MASAI
Things to Do
THE PALACE MUSEUM & MAKUSURANI GRAVEYARD
Things to Do
Taxi
Transportation
The local people
Local Customs
The old Stonetown
Things to Do
Walking in Stonetown
Things to Do
The waterfront of Stonetown
Things to Do
The beach of Stonetown
Things to Do
Arrival at Zanzibar with boat
Transportation
Zanzibar airport (ZNZ)
Transportation
The majestic buildings of StoneTown
Things to Do
Feel the vibe - live music
Restaurants
SEASIDE SEAFOOD
Restaurants
Map of Zanzibar Town

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