16 Outstanding Things to Do in Stone Town, Zanzibar (2024)
The 16 Outstanding Things to Do in Stone Town, Zanzibar (Activities). Now that Stone Town on Zanzibar Island has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, several of the lovely Stone town homes have been able to receive much-needed renovations.
The term “Land of the Blacks” was once used to describe Zanzibar. The name Zanzibar is a combination of the Arabic terms “Zenj,” which means “black,” and “bar,” which is the Arabic word for “land.” Assyria, India, and the Orient were only a few of the places where people from Zanzibar came from. Local African tradition is influenced by Arab, Indian, Persian, and European cultures.
Stone Town’s winding lanes are lined with historic buildings with ornately carved wooden doors that are shaded by balconies, loggias, and verandas. Due to the narrow alleyways, many areas of the ancient city may only be reached by foot.
We advise spending one or two nights in one of the atmospheric Stone Town hotels in the old town center if you appreciate history and architecture so that you can experience its distinctive atmosphere. Learn more about the area’s history by going for a stroll in the afternoon.
Tour of Historic Stone Town in Zanzibar, Tanzania
16 Outstanding Things to Do in Stone Town, Zanzibar.
1. The House of Wonders
The House of Wonders (also known as the “Palace of Wonders” or “Beit-al-Ajaib”) is one of Stone Town’s most well-known landmarks, located on Mizingani Road by the sea. After the Anglo-Zanzibar War of 1896, it was rebuilt after being constructed in 1883. After the revolution, the former Sultan’s home was converted into the Afro-Shirazi Party headquarters. In addition to being the first building in East Africa to have a lift, it was also the first building in Zanzibar to get electricity. Its interior has been a Swahili and Zanzibar culture museum since 2000.
2. The Old Fort
The Omanis constructed the Old Fort, also known as “Ngome Kongwe” in Swahili, next to the House of Wonders in the 17th century. It is roughly square-shaped, and the inside courtyard has been transformed into a cultural hub with stores, workshops, and a tiny arena where daily live dance and music performances take place.
3. The Old Dispensary
The Old Dispensary (also known as “Ithnashiri Dispensary”) was constructed between 1887 and 1894 to function as a charity hospital for the underprivileged but was eventually converted into a dispensary. One of Stone Town’s most elaborately decorated structures, it features a wide wooden balcony, stained-glass windows, and neo-classical stucco ornaments. After degenerating in the 1970s and 1980s, the structure was faithfully reconstructed.
4. The Palace Museum
On the beachfront, north of the House of Wonders, is another former sultan’s palace called the Palace Museum, also known as the “Sultan’s Palace” or “Beit el-Sahel” in Arabic. It was constructed in the late 19th century and is currently home to a museum that explores the royal family of Zanzibar’s daily life. The museum features antiques that once belonged to Sayyida Salme, a former princess of Zanzibar who went to live in Europe with her husband.
5. The Forodhani Gardens
In front of the Old Fort and the House of Wonders on Stone Town’s main seawalk is a tiny park called the Forodhani Gardens. They have just undergone restoration. Every evening after sundown, the gardens hold a well-liked, tourist-focused market where fish is grilled and other Zanzibari dishes are sold.
6. The Anglican cathedral of Christ Church
The third bishop of Zanzibar, Edward Steere, had the Anglican cathedral of Christ Church constructed in Mkunazini Road at the end of the 19th century. The altar was built exactly where the main whipping post of the market once stood. The location was chosen on purpose to commemorate the abolition of slavery because Stone Town’s largest slave market had once stood there. a memorial built in honor of all the slaves who were formerly purchased and sold there.
7. The Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. Joseph
French missionaries constructed the Roman Catholic cathedral of St. Joseph between 1893 and 1897. One of the most recognizable features of Stone Town is its front, which features two tall spires. There used to be a large palm tree immediately in front of the church (which can be seen in many photos of the cathedral), but it is no longer there.
8. The Hamamni Persian Baths
The Hamamni Persian Baths are a collection of public bathhouses constructed towards the end of the 19th century for Sultan Barghash bin Said by Shirazi architects. The 1920s saw the use of these baths.
9. David Livingstone’s House
The tiny mansion known as David Livingstone’s House was initially constructed for Sultan Majid bin Said and afterwards utilized by European missionaries. While planning his final journey to the interior of Tanganyika, Livingstone resided in the home.
10: Tippu Tip’s House
Another substantial, ancient mansion in Stone Town is called Tippu Tip’s mansion. Tippu Tip, a notorious slave trader from Zanzibar, lived there.
11. The High Court of Justice
British architect J. H. Sinclair created the High Court of Justice, a structure that blends Islamic and Portuguese characteristics, in Kaunda Road, adjacent to Victoria Gardens.
12. The Aga Khan Mosque
The Aga Khan Mosque is a sizable mosque combining gothic and Islamic architectural characteristics.
13. The Malindi Mosque
One of Zanzibar’s oldest mosques is the Malindi Mosque. It was constructed by Sunni Muslims and contains some uncommon architectural elements, such as a square platform and a cone-shaped minaret (one of only three in East Africa).
14. Kilele Squire
A slave market previously stood in Kilele Squire. The Swahili term for noise, “kilele,” indicates that the plaza was likely given its name during the era of the slave trade and that it must have been a significant source of noise. The former American Consulate, the former Telecoms building (now the Zanzibar Serena Inn), and the Mambo Msiige building, the second British Consulate and current Ministry office, are just a few of the significant structures that surround the area.
15. The Markets
The Fruit, Fish, and Meat Markets are located in the middle of Creek Road and are also well worth a visit. The incredible range of exotic fruits and vegetables that are grown on the islands is seen. Early in this century, during the British Protectorate, the market buildings were constructed.
16. The Shakit Temple
Prior to the revolution, the Shakti Temple saw a substantial crowd; however, since a huge number of Hindus left Zanzibar in 1964, the temple is now rarely filled. Although it is virtually always welcoming, open, and happy to give tours, it is nearly impossible to locate without a guide. From Emerson’s & Green’s rooftop restaurant, which is directly across the street, you can hear its chimes and bells, which are rung every day around sunrise and right before sunset.
Why visit Stone Town, Zanzibar Island
Zanzibar Stone Town, Tanzania
- Why To explore Zanzibar’s Stone Town, a stunning physical illustration of the blending and harmonization of cultures.
- The architecture and urban design of Stone Town serve as an extraordinary illustration of the extensive seaborne trade that took place between Asia and Africa for many centuries.
- Visit Zanzibar, which served as both the headquarters for abolitionists like David Livingstone and one of the principal ports for the trade in slaves in East Africa. Zanzibar has a significant symbolic significance in the fight to end slavery.
- Visit the home where Dr. David Livingstone and other missionaries resided before setting out on explorations of Tanganyika’s interior.
- To experience Zanzibar’s distinctive Stone town atmosphere, stay at one of the charming stone town hotels.
- Travel to a town in Zanzibar that was formerly a very old fishing community and was given its name after the coral stone structures that were found there.
- As a pit break and rest area at the start or finish of your safari vacation to Africa, on the island of Zanzibar, or within the neighboring archipelago of islands.
- After an African Safari Expedition or as a weekend gateway from Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and some parts of Asia, just to unwind and get away from it all.
- To participate in the many exciting trips and activities available on Zanzibar Island and its surrounding islands.
- Visit Zanzibar’s Stone Town, one of the best Swahili coastal commercial towns in East Africa.