Historic Zanzibar Stone Town

Historic Zanzibar Stone Town

The historic Zanzibar Stone Town is gazetted as a World Heritage Site. No Tanzania safari is complete without a visit to this historical and cultural center. The famous narrow streets of Zanzibar Stone Town literally pulse life, and a wander through the atmospheric old town leaves you amazed at the ancient architecture and wide-eyed from the sights and sounds of a bustling African town. There are also many excursions from the town to visit the endemic Zanzibar Red Colobus Monkeys, relax on the white sand beaches or to swim with dolphins.

Zanzibar Stone Townis also known as Mji Mkongwe, in KiSwahili translating literally to "ancient town". Stone Town is the old part of Zanzibar City, the capital of the island of Unguja (commonly referred to as Zanzibar). It was the center of the Spice, Slave, Gold and Ivory Trades for the region and the starting point of many European adventurers' expeditions including David Livingstone's.

Stown Town is built on a triangular peninsula of land on the western coast of the island. The oldest part of the town consists of a maze of narrow alleys with houses, shops, colourful bazaars, and mosques. Cars are too wide to drive in most of the alleyways but motorcycles and scooters need to be watched out for.

The eclectic architecture of Stone Town incorporates elements of Arab, Persian, Indian, European and African styles. The old Arab houses have ornately carved square wooden doors and enclosed wooden verandas whereas rich Indians had ornate arched doors. The studs on the doors are traditionally from India, designed to repulse elephants.

The site of Stone Town has been occupied for at least three centuries with Stone buildings being first constructed in the 1830s.

Two large buildings dominate Stone Town. One is Beit-El-Ajaib or the House of Wonders (built by Sultan Seyyid Barghash as a palace). The other is the Old Arab Fort which is on the site of a former Portuguese camp and became a fort during the 18th Century.

There are several great restaurants in Stonetown, for example Emerson & Green's rooftop, and Mercury's. The exciting sensory overload that is Forodhani Gardens' numerous fresh food stalls provides a culinary delight for the more adventurous diner, and is worth a visit even if you are not eating. Unless arranged otherwise your accommodation in Stone Town will be on a Bed & Breakfast basis only.

For further information on visiting Zanzibar or staying at Historic Stone Town, please Contact us. Our field staff will help you design your own personal visit to Zanzibar


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  • Minimum stay: 1 night
  • Recommended Stay: night
  • How to get there: Fly, Ferry
Where to stay


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