When cultures collide over centuries, on a tiny island off the coast of Africa, you get something utterly unique, beautiful and brimming with life…you get Zanzibar and more importantly, you get Stone Town. Stone Town is the world’s most exciting, vibrant and unique capital, hailed as a world heritage site, this tiny ancient place has to be experienced to be believed.
A Cultural Hybrid
Winding streets climb and curve around the stunning capital and with every twist and turn you can find bright and fascinating bazars, tiny tea shops with tables spilling out onto the street, the heady scent of sweet treats wafting down the street and a stunning display of architecture at every corner. The hybrid mix of continental culture, African roots, Arabic infusion and even a glimpse of India makes for a stunning combination both culturally and in terms of architecture.
Around the streets of Stone Town there is so much to see and do, whether your interests lie in history, cuisine, culture, shopping or simply kicking back and relaxing besides the gentle shores of the Indian Ocean.
Bright and Bustling Markets
The local markets are a must-do experience for anyone wanting to discover the delights of Zanzibar culture. Here you can find everything you ever dreamed off, laid out beneath the sun. It is a true market experience, bursting with color and brimming with life. The rich scent of spices fills the air, the bright Khangas worn by women glisten under the azure blue skies, and the cries of the sellers resonate alongside the bells from a nearby mosque. This is a market that has been in fruition for centuries, only now they sell hand-woven clothing and other goods as opposed to African ivory and silver. Still, the glorious array of spices remains the same.
The Sultans Palace
Discover how a sultan really lived with a trip to the opulent and ornate Palace Museum, built in the late 1890’s, here you can witness first-hand how royalty really did live as you explore the decadent palatial grounds, the handcrafted furniture and other rich belongings of the Sultan of Zanzibar. Read the real princess diaries as the sultans daughter penned her experiences for all to see.
Religion and Harmony
Take a walk on the wild side with a visit to Stone Town’s old slave square; here you can experience the dark heart of Africa’s past. Now the auction block has been replaced with the stunning Anglican cathedral. As well as the cathedral there is a Catholic Church and many beautiful mosques that stand as a true testament to how different religions can come together and live in harmony and the result is nothing short of inspiring.
A Food Lover’s Dream
This melting pot of culture also reflects in the variety of food on offer, for a truly original cuisine experience, make sure to stop by the Forodhani Market. As the stars prickle the sky, this market breathes life into the night as fires kindle, chickens spin, flat bread is fried and all kinds of wondrous food treats are created. Meander through the stalls trying a sample of salt crusted fresh crabs, hand rolled stuffed pizzas and sweet sugarcane juice.
A Unique Piece of Paradise
There is no place in the world quite like Stone Town, this coral carved island is a true testament to the past, totally unchanged and with many cultures colliding. Walking through the tight, narrow streets, admiring the secret courtyards, the Indian carved wooden doors and the friendly chatter of the people, you will feel transported into a different world. This is a world you need to experience, a world where everything is charming, everything is exciting and everything is beautiful.