Stone Town Zanzibar
Stone Town Zanzibar Reviews
General run of Zanzibar Mar 20, 2011
Zanzibar island is a small place off the coast of Tanzania. It is part of the country so a new visa is not needed. During my time there I was mostly in stone town which is the island's capital.
It is a beautiful place with white sand beaches and clear blue sea. It looks out onto the Indian Ocean and the thunderstorms on a summers night out to sea are very pretty. We spent time drinking a nice cool beer and watching the storm working its way to land.
The people are nice and friendly and helpful. Some will expect payment and some will help because they believe it is polite and nice. A word of warning is not to become too friendly with them as they may have to annoying habit of coming with you everytime they see you, especially the ones that expect a small payment.
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Historical Site in Tanzania Apr 30, 2003
Stone Town in Zanzibar is a historical site: the only functioning historical site in all of East Africa. It is a typcial Swahili coastal trading town that has retained it's original flavour for almost two centuries. It was one of the main slave-trading posts in East Africa along with Fort Jesus in Mombasa. The Swahili name for Stone Town is Mji Mkongwe which translates to ancient town, or better yet as old as stone. Stone town is the historical heart of Zanzibar that draws many tourists year round to see the winding alleys, street bazaars, Mosques and the rich, huge/ grand Arabic houses. In the past two centuaries it seems Zanzibar did not change much, Stone Town particularly is the cultural base of the whole Island of Zanzibar. Zanzibar is located about 25 miles off the coast of Tanzania on the Indian Ocean.
When I lived in Kenya (Mombasa), Zanzibar was one of my getaway places. The Arabic based cultural town brings back an era that is long gone. I spent many hours just walking around the town and talking to the old business people (It seems as though most of the people in Zanzibar are elderly), the hours went by so quite as I idled around, sometimes spending time just admiring the detailed wood work on doors, the brass work on homes: the handiwork is quite simply amazing. Some of the things I recommend one do while in Stone Town are:
1) Tour the tour leisurely to admire the architecture
2) Visit the bazaars
3) Visit the Mosques
4) Sample traditional foods
5) The Peace Memorial Museum of history
6) The Old Fort on Sukokuu street
7) The Palace Museum on Mizingani Road
8) The Anglican Cathedral and Slave Market
9) Beit El Ajaib (The first building to get electric power in Zanzibar, it's also known as the house of wonders
10) Take a ride on the Daladalas, local transportation, they are quite an adventure
11) The Agha Khan cultural center which is an interesting architectural mix of the old and new
Stone Town Zanzibar is on of UNESCO's World Heritage sites (another one I can add to the list of World Heritage sites I have visited). It is significant in history books for the suppression of Slavery since it was one of the main slave trading posts in East Africa.
1) Be careful drinking water that is not bottled especially if you have not lived in Africa long enough for your system to process it.
2) Even though it is a tourist destination, you will not be able to pay for your food with a visa/ mastercard/ American express/ diners etc. Get cash exchanged for your meals and bargains at the bazaars
3) Most of the food is spicy, so be careful not to eat without asking. The Swahili have a tendency to understate things. If they say a little spice, it means you will need to drink lots of water after that meal (smile).
Part of the Tanzania travel blog
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