Stone Town Zanzibar
One of the oldest tows in Zanzibar and a flourishing spice trade center the stone town is an exquisite piece of Tanzanian history.
Stone Town Zanzibar is a truly historic and diverse city acting as a flourishing center of the spice trade making it a multi-chromatic tapestry of cultures and an irresistible slice of Tanzania history.
It is a diverse town that reflects multiculturalism. It displays cultures of Africa, the Arab region, India and Europe.
Significance of Stone Town Zanzibar
The old town also known as Mji Mkongwe is the old part of Zanzibar city while the newer part is known as Ng'ambo. Stone city is of a true historic prominence and artistic importance in all East Africa.
Dating back to the 19th century, the city shows the deep and rooted Swahili influence. Besides, it is a fine example of the Swahili coastal trading towns of East Africa.
The architecture in Stone town is a fusion and combination of many different styles such as Arab, Persian. African, European and Indian mixture drawing a very coherent yet diverse architectural culture.
Being such a historical city its filled with must-see landmarks such as The House of Wonders, the Old Fort, The Old Dispensary ,The Palace Museum, The Roman Catholic Cathedral and the famous The Forodhani Gardens.
Stone Town is located on the western coast of Unguja which is the main island of the Zanzibar Archipelago.
Located in Zanzibar, Stone Town experiences two rainy seasons: long and short. The long rainy season initiates in the month of March and reaches the peak in April and May, dusting off by the end of June.
The short rainy season occurs in the months of November and December. The rest of the year witnesses little rain or no rain at all. During the wet season, it does not rain continuously everyday and not all times of the day. There are days when the sky is clear and sunshine fills the town.
Stone Town has two dry seasons as well. The cool dry season lasts from June to October while the humid hot dry season takes place in January and February. During the cool dry season, temperatures tend to remain high.
Best Time to Visit
Considering temperatures, the cool dry season syncs with the school holiday in America and Europe, that is why the area sees an increased number of visitors during. Besides, it is a great time to enjoy wildlife safari in the national parks of Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire etc.
The second tourist season in Stone Town is during the last 2 weeks of December lasting through February. It is the start of the festive holiday season in America and Europe. Western travelers like to spend these cold months in a warmer climate of East Africa.
Things to Do in Stone Town Zanzibar
1- The Old Fort
The Old Fort is an impressive attraction in Stone Town. It now houses an art gallery and a market adding to its significance.
Visiting the fort is free of charge, due to the limited activities there. However, touring the fort is a magnificent experience. You will have the opportunity to marvel at the ruins, enjoy them with the blue sky above. It is a peaceful place where quiet is a great free thing to do.
2- Giant Tortoise on Prison Island
Going on a tour to Prison Island to see the giant tortoise is probably the most popular trip in Stone Town Zanzibar. It is a great experience to observe the biggest tortoise on the island.
3- The Palace Museum
The entrance fee to the Palace Museum is quite affordable, just 3$. It is really worth visiting where visitors will enjoy a good hour of interesting history about the island. The Palace Museum is a great attraction for history lovers who are enthusiastic about knowing the history of Zanzibar.
It is highly recommended to head to the palace early on the trip to grasp the heritage of the island besides its wealth.
4- Africa House Hotel
The perfect sunset cannot be missed while in Stone Town. Heading to Africa House Hotel to watch the sunset from the rooftop terrace is an amazing experience in the town.
5- Slave Market Museum
Visiting the Slave Market Museum is a must when it comes to the bucket list in Zanzibar. The entrance only costs 5$, but it is worth the visit. There is also an informed guide who will make your tour more entertainable in this UNESCO-funded museum.
Don’t miss the slave chamber situated just underneath the gift shop.
6- Take a Photo at a Carved Doorway
Carved doorways are instagrammable places in Stone Town. It is a perfect place to take the perfect photograph. The wooden beauties reflect the city and its exotic sense of a lost world.
7- The House of Wonders
The House of Wonders is the national museum in Stone Town. It is located right on the seafront. The building is a great representation of all the efforts that were made to restore the city after being a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
8- Religious Buildings
As mentioned previously, Stone Town is an amazing combination of cultures reflecting the rich heritage. Exploring all the cultures is great to sense the town.
Taking a trip to all the town’s different religious buildings is a great way to see all the cultures in the town. Visitors will enjoy Anglican cathedrals to Hindu Temples and Islamic Mosques echoing the prayers.
The most two famous to visit are the whitewashed Malindi Mosque and also the Church near the Former Slave Market.
9- Freddy Mercury’s House
Freddy Mercury’s House is named after Queen’s Freddy Mercury who was born and raised in Stone Town. It is an exciting experience to enjoy the building from the outside while reading the information board on the doorway.
10- Souvenir Shopping
Souvenir shopping cannot be missed. Buy some souvenirs for friends and family. There is a huge collection of gifts that you can buy from locally-made bags to kangas (African fabrics worn by local women), t-shirts, trousers, purses, carvings, and textiles. The souvenirs in Stone Town range from tacky to tasteful.