Zanzibar is an archipelago located off the coast of Tanzania in East Africa. It consists of several islands, with the largest and most famous being Unguja (commonly referred to as Zanzibar Island). Zanzibar is known for its beautiful white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and rich cultural heritage. The Island is a famous safari destination with a variety of activities to do during your stay. If you are wondering what the Best things to do in Zanzibar Stone Town are, there are a number of Best activities in Stone Town and beyond the Stone Town that you can enjoy while here. Some of the most popular and Best things to do in Zanzibar Stone Town include; visiting the old fort, museums, markets, and gardens, and learning about the history of the slave trade at the old slave market.
The Stone Town is the historical and cultural heart of Zanzibar City, which is the capital of Zanzibar. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a fascinating destination to explore. This Town is amazingly built. Stone Town showcases a unique blend of architectural influences, including Arab, Persian, Indian, and European styles. The narrow winding streets are lined with intricately carved wooden doors and beautiful buildings made of coral stone.
Stone Town has a rich history, with its origins dating back to the 9th century. It was an important trading center for spices, ivory, and slaves. Some of the Best things to do in Zanzibar Stone Town include visiting historical sites like the slave market, the House of Wonders, and the Old Fort to learn more about its past.
The town is a vibrant cultural hub, reflecting the diversity of its inhabitants. You can explore the local markets, visit the Palace Museum, and immerse yourself in the lively street life. Don’t forget to try local cuisine, like the famous Zanzibari dishes such as pilau, biryani, and seafood delicacies.
Beyond the stone town, you will have opportunities to experience Zanzibar’s tranquil waters at the palm-fringed beaches with white sand. While Stone Town itself is not a beach destination, it serves as a gateway to the beautiful beaches of Zanzibar Island. A short distance from Stone Town, you can relax on pristine beaches, enjoy water sports, or go snorkeling and diving to explore the colorful coral reefs.
The House of Wonders, also known as Beit al-Ajaib, is a popular tourist attraction in Stone Town, Zanzibar. The House of Wonders is a historical building and museum located on Mizingani Road. It was constructed in the late 19th century and was the first building in Zanzibar to have electricity and an elevator. The name “House of Wonders” reflects the awe that the locals had for this beautiful and technologically advanced structure during that time.
Today, the House of Wonders is a museum that showcases Zanzibar’s rich cultural and architectural heritage. The museum displays various artifacts, including traditional Swahili furniture, ceremonial items, and historical photographs. During your safari here, you can explore the different rooms and levels of the building, which provide insights into Zanzibar’s history, culture, and the influence of Arab, Persian, and European traders.
Exploring the Old Fort in Zanzibar is a must-do activity for history and culture enthusiasts.
The Old Fort, also known as Ngome Kongwe, is located in Stone Town, the historic heart of Zanzibar City. It is situated near the waterfront and is a prominent landmark in the area.
The Old Fort was built in the late 17th century by the Omanis to defend the island against Portuguese invasions and secure their control. Over the years, it has served various purposes, including a military garrison, a prison, and a storage facility.
The fort is a massive structure made of coral stone with high walls and bastions. It has a rectangular shape, with four towers at each corner. The interior space is open, with grassy areas and several old buildings surrounding a central courtyard.
Today, the Old Fort serves as a cultural center, hosting various events, exhibitions, and activities. The central courtyard often hosts live music performances, traditional dance shows, and festivals, especially during Zanzibar’s cultural events like the Zanzibar International Film Festival and the Mwaka Kogwa Festival.
Within the fort premises, you’ll find a range of shops and artisans selling local crafts, artwork, clothing, and souvenirs. It’s a great opportunity to support local artisans and take home unique handmade products.
The Old Fort also houses the Zanzibar Curio Shop, which is known for its wide selection of traditional and modern Zanzibari crafts. Here, you can find items like intricately carved wooden sculptures, Zanzibar doors, textiles, jewelry, spices, and other souvenirs.
The fort occasionally hosts cultural exhibitions that give insights into Zanzibar’s history, traditions, and heritage. These exhibitions may include displays of artifacts, photographs, and multimedia presentations.
Visiting the Old Fort in Zanzibar provides a fascinating blend of history, culture, and shopping opportunities. It allows you to immerse yourself in the island’s rich past while exploring its vibrant present-day cultural scene.
Zanzibar is famously known as the “Spice Island” due to its history of being a major hub for the spice trade. A spice tour in Zanzibar is a fantastic way to explore the island’s rich agricultural heritage and learn about the cultivation, harvesting, and uses of various spices and tropical fruits.
The tour usually takes you to a local spice farm or plantation where you’ll have the opportunity to see a diverse range of spices growing, such as cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla, turmeric, and cardamom. You can see the spices in their natural habitat and learn about their origins, cultivation techniques, and traditional uses.
During the tour, knowledgeable guides will give you insights into the spice trade and local farming practices. They will demonstrate how spices are harvested, dried, and processed. You may also have the chance to participate in activities like grinding spices manually or extracting essential oils.
Prepare your senses for an aromatic adventure! You’ll be invited to touch, smell, and taste a variety of spices, fruits, and herbs. Explore the vibrant colors, fragrant scents, and unique flavors of Zanzibar’s spices. It’s a great opportunity to expand your culinary knowledge and tickle your taste buds.
In addition to spices, the tour often includes a taste of Zanzibar’s abundant tropical fruits like mangoes, pineapples, jackfruits, coconuts, and citrus fruits. Enjoy the freshness and sweetness of these delicious treats while learning about their significance in the local cuisine.
Spice tours sometimes include visits to nearby villages or interactions with local farmers, allowing you to gain insight into the daily lives and traditions of the community. You might have the chance to observe local artisans weaving palm leaves, taste traditional dishes, or learn a few Swahili phrases.
Visiting Zanzibar and exploring Stone Town offers a unique opportunity to experience a blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you’re interested in exploring the narrow streets, relaxing on stunning beaches, or learning about the island’s spice heritage, Zanzibar has something for everyone. Plan your safari with Acacia Safaris limited and have the best safari experience in Tanzania.