Holidays to Stone Town, Zanzibar

Perhaps the most iconic district of Zanzibar, Stone Town is a place where history isn't found in a museum, but out on the street. The oldest part of Zanzibar dates back a thousand years, yet remains bursting with life. Ruled by the Portuguese and later Omani colonists for almost 400 years, followed by the British Empire soon after, it wasn't until the Zanzibar Revolution in 1964 that the area became part of Tanzania. That potted history has bequeathed Stone Town a unique architecture, atmosphere and attitude. Today, you can feel a buzz of energy and hear bicycle bells and scooter horns weave their way through narrow backstreets lined with bazaars, street vendors and cafes. 

Stone Town is known to most visitors as a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its eclectic architecture. With influences from Indian, European, African and Islamic styles vying for your attention, Stone Town actually gets its name from the delightful coral stone from which many of the buildings are constructed, and which draws the diversity of styles together. 

Your adventure in Stone Town simply has to take in the House of Wonders - the area's largest building. So-called for being Zanzibar's first building with electricity, this former sultan's palace is now home to the Museum of History and Culture of Zanzibar and the Swahili Coast. Grab a spot on the veranda to gaze on city life below. 

Head towards the promenade to take in the imperious Old Fort of Zanzibar. Dating back to the seventeenth century, today it is one of Zanzibar's most popular attractions. The historic amphitheatre now plays hosts to live music, performances and festivals - including the renowned Zanzibar International Film Festival, or 'ZIFF' to the locals. 

Let all that heritage sink in, then soak up the rays on Nakupenda Beach, a little slice of paradise a short boat trip from Stone Town. It's very popular with sun-seekers and couples, but get down there before 9am and you'll have the sand to yourself. For the full experience, stick around for the truly stunning sunset. 

Visiting Stone Town is a truly sensory experience, and your trip isn't complete without sampling the authentic Zanzibari food on offer at the street market at Forodhani Gardens. When the sun goes down, join locals and visitors eyeing up stacks of freshly caught seafood, grilled kebabs and food from around the world. But don't miss the chance to try local favourites like cow soup and pressed cane sugar with lime. 

Jen
Travel Designer & Safari Expert
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I was born and raised in Africa, and I have spent 25 years living, working and travelling across various African countries including South Africa and Tanzania. I learned how to track wild animals, went on to become a nature guide and later a safari lodge manager, and I can also speak Swahili and Afrikaans.

Map of Stone Town