Zanzibar is always a good idea
A2hr boat ride and if you take a plane it is a 20 mins flight from Dar es Salaam, this is why apart from it being a vacation spot, Zanzibar is the perfect weekend getaway!.
Zanzibar an archipelago in Tanzania is made up of Unguja, Mafia and Pemba. Unguja, also known as the exotic “spice island” of Zanzibar is a UNESCO World Heritage site rich in culture and traditions that date back to the Arab, Persian, Portuguese and British rule in the island. Stone Town being the most famous part of Unguja attracts people around the world to visit and experience the historical sites, multicultural cuisine and traditions of the Zanzibari people.
I recently visited Stone Town for a work trip and I managed to squeeze in some relaxation time in one of the days, doing some of my favourite things. As I share some of the top things to do in Stone Town, I hope it encourages you to visit and create your own memories.
Stay in a boutique hotel: Boutique hotels in Stone Town adds a good cultural feel to a stay because they normally incorporate the arabic and swahili style to the interior design. When travelling to a new place, it is good to opt out of staying in a contemporary looking hotel and fully immerse in the local environment to maximize the experience. I recently stayed in the Seyyida Hotel and Spa and I loved my stay there, it was so close to everything; the stores, cafés, historical sites, and even the ferry port.
Shop for souvenirs: Kumi gifts and treats, Nuya’s Essence and Doreen Mashika are my favourite stores to shop for skin care products, jewellery, stylish clothes and bags made locally. Doreen Mashika store is predominantly a clothing and bag store, Nuya’s essence specialises in skin care products, whereas Kumi has a bit of everything from home decor, beach items, clothing, beauty products and jewellery. There are many other souvenir shops and you will find them in almost every corner of the streets.
Evening tea/coffee: It is like a tradition of mine to always have evening tea at the Stone Town Café whenever I visit Stone Town. So it had to make it on the list of the “top things to do in Stone Town”. When you go there, make sure to order their sticky date cake accompanied with whatever hot beverage you prefer, but allow me to persuade you to try the cake with their delicious masala tea. If you are a lover of dates, then this cake will drive you crazy with cravings and you will want go back to the island specifically to have it.
Eat at the Forodhani gardens: Every evening vendors open up their stands to sell an assortment of fresh fishes and different kinds of local dishes. It is a park that also has restaurants where locals mingle for food and relaxation. The area has a kids corner so it is a great place to bring the whole family for an evening outing.
Spa Treatment: The whole point of a vacation or a weekend getaway is relaxation. Mrembo Spa has a swahili style beauty regimen that uses different kinds of traditional spices for their massage treatments. When you walk in there, you will see how well they have incorporated the swahili style in their interior design and products.
Prison Island: For more history on slavery, book a prison island tour with any local guide and go see where troublesome slaves were kept before being shipped off to another country or auctioned in the slave trade market. The island is also home to giant tortoises who were sent there as gifts from the British governor of the Seychelles in 1919. It is a 30 min boat ride, therefore you can have a half day trip and still be able to do other things in your itinerary.
Stone Town Tour: The city tour is a good opportunity to learn about the history of Zanzibar. There are many local guides who will come up to you to want to take you around and if they see that you are a tourist, the price for the service will be steep. I suggest you not take the first price and negotiate it lower to what you are comfortable with.
Zanzibar music festival: This festival is called “Sauti za Busara” and it is a very exciting time to be in the island during this music season. It is a week of fun and excitement and musicians all around the world get featured to perform at the Old Fort building. I first attended the music festival in 2015 with a couple of friends and it was such an amazing experience. The festival normally runs from the evening till late at night, so if you are looking for a night out in Stone Town, then schedule your trip during the music festival period.
Sundowners: Sundowners with a stunning view of the ocean is a must for me. There are many restaurants in Stone Town that you can have good cocktails with a view, however, Livingstone beach restaurant is my favourite place to go for happy hour. You can take off your shoes and enjoy the sand and water on your feet as you are sipping your favourite drink. This beach restaurant is just a few steps away from the Park Hyatt Zanzibar hotel if you are coming from the beach side, so it is very easy to spot.
If you have visited Stone Town before or you are currently living there, what are your favourite things to do?
MAKE IT YOURS…PIN IT!