Zanzibar’s reputation as an island paradise is not an exaggeration. Zanzibar is actually a group of islands with two larger ones – Ungoja and Pemba. These beautiful islands feature kilometers of white sandy beaches, turquoise water and swaying palm trees and a very welcome respite if like us, you have just spent time back on the mainland with the red savannah dust from weeks of games drives.
1. Stone Town
Very atmospheric, the Stone Town is the historical heart of Zanzibar. Immersed in East African history with touched of Indian, Arabic, Persian and European culture! Forget a map, this is where you get lost amongst the maze of lanes, past Mosques, cafes and hotels hidden in the walls behind beautifully ornate carved doors. The Stone Town is the only historical town left in East Africa and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Plenty of restoration still needs to happen but it is definitely worth loosing a day exploring.
If like me you are a fan or beautiful doors, the Stone Town is the place for you! You won’t find beautiful masterpieces like this anywhere else in the world. Elaborately carved with fine detail. The brass studs originally from India were used as a protection device against charging elephants. Unfortunately we didn’t see any while we were there 😜
This is the place to go at sunset. This waterfront park in the Stone Town comes alive at 5pm with outdoor street food vendors selling seafood and Zanzibar pizza (fried dough stuffed with meat, tomato, onion and egg). The perfect location to get your photos with dhows floating on the horizon as the sun sets over the Indian Ocean. This is also the time when children from the village play and swim at he beach.
Zanzibar’s Dark Past
Zanzibar served as a gateway in the Indian Ocean to entering or exiting East Africa for the slave trade. A visit to the old Slave Market in the Stone Town and you can see the horrific conditions slaves were subjected to.
Built on this site in the 1870s was East Africa’s first Anglican Cathedral, on the grounds is a museum dedicated to the Slave Market story ….definitely worth a visit.
This restaurant while the food is overpriced for what you get, is worth a visit just for its location. At high tide accessible by boat or if you like the unconventional like us , roll up your shorts and walk out. A sunset drink on the terrace before dinner inside. Another weird and wonderful restaurant location!