Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Loose yourself in the streets of Stonetown

{images from Hendri Lombard}

The name Zanzibar conjures up visions of turquoise blue water and white hot beaches. This is what travel brochure advertise, what they don't advertise is the history and magic found in the narrow cobble streets of Stone Town. Driving into Stone Town for the first time you feel that time have truly stood still. Built around 1830 it was the centre of trade between Asia and Africa. Stone Town's main exports was spice (in particular cloves) and slaves. It had some famous inhabitants and exports. David Livingstone used Stone Town as his base for preparing for his final expedition in 1866 and it is also the birthplace of Freddy Mercury lead vocalist of Queen.

Stepping into the streets of Stone Town is like stepping back in time. Narrow streets with amazing architecture and small shops selling treasures of times passed. Look out for amazing jewelry and the famous Zanzibar chests with hidden compartments. Be sure to visit the night market in Forodhani markets for fresh grilled seafood and sugar cane juice. Don't miss the fish and meat market(not for the faint stomached) and see the different tropical fruits like jack fruit and custard apple. Have a sundowner at Mercuries and see the sunset as the dhows sail past.

{food market}

{haggling for some scarves}

While staying at one of the fancy beach resort we met some South Africans who found Stone Town to be 'old, dirty, full of black people that are poor and there is nothing to buy'. It's a Unesco World Heritage site(old), its in Africa and yes the people are poor but they will share their food with you. And why could we barely walk with all the things we bought? So do yourself a favour and have a spiced chai(spiced tea) and mandazi(sweet vetkoek) next to the side of the road and buy some beautiful khangas to take some of the magic of Stone Town home with you.

{sunsets and dhows, the narrow streets}

{the friendly people}

Places to Stay:

Cheap: Shangani Hotel

Mid Range: Tembo Hotel

Pricey: 236 Hurumzi

Places to Eat:

Cheap: Night Market at Forodhani Gardens

Mid Range: Archipelagos (No alcohol)

Price: 236 Hurumzi

Things to do:

Walk the shopping street

Visit Doreen Mashika for amazing handbags

Visit the market

Tour the Slave Church

Go on a spice Tour

Place for Sundowners:


Africa House Hotel

Best Coffee:

Zanzibar Coffee House


1 comment:

  1. wonderful pictures, wonderful memories...zanzibar truly is a magic destination!