Greetings, fellow travelers! Journeying Jack here, back with another exciting edition of Suitcase Stories. Today, I’m going to take you on a virtual tour of one of the most enchanting destinations I’ve ever had the pleasure of exploring: Stone Town, Zanzibar. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a treasure trove of history, culture, and adventure, and I’m here to share with you my top picks for things to do in Stone Town, Zanzibar.
Nestled on the western coast of the island, Stone Town is a labyrinth of narrow alleys, bustling bazaars, and stunning architecture that will leave you in awe. As you wander through the streets, you’ll quickly realize that there’s no shortage of things to do in Stone Town, Zanzibar. From sampling mouthwatering local cuisine to uncovering the town’s rich history, there’s something for everyone in this captivating corner of the world.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the myriad of things to do in Stone Town, Zanzibar, and discover the magic that awaits you in this enchanting destination. Grab your suitcase, and let’s embark on another unforgettable adventure together!
Exploring the Rich History: Stone Town’s Top Attractions
Stone Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for its rich history and culture. Here are some of the top attractions that you should not miss when exploring Stone Town:
Visit the Old Fort
The Old Fort is one of the oldest buildings in Stone Town and was built in the 17th century by the Portuguese. Today, it is a popular tourist attraction and hosts cultural events and exhibitions. You can also climb to the top of the fort for a panoramic view of the city.
Explore the Palace Museum
The Palace Museum was once the residence of the Sultan of Zanzibar and is now a museum that showcases the island’s history and culture. You can see artifacts, photographs, and furniture from the 19th century.
Wander through the Forodhani Gardens
The Forodhani Gardens is a popular gathering place for locals and tourists alike. It is located on the waterfront and is a great place to watch the sunset. You can also find street food vendors selling local delicacies.
Visit the House of Wonders
The House of Wonders is one of the most iconic buildings in Stone Town. It was built in the late 19th century and was the first building in Zanzibar to have electricity and an elevator. Today, it is a museum that showcases the island’s history and culture.
Take a Spice Tour
Zanzibar is known as the “Spice Island” and a spice tour is a must-do activity. You can visit a spice farm and learn about the different spices that are grown on the island. You can also taste some of the spices and buy some to take home.
These are just a few of the many things to do in Stone Town Zanzibar. Make sure to add these attractions to your itinerary and explore the rich history and culture of this beautiful island.
A Taste of Zanzibar: Local Cuisine and Street Food
When you’re exploring Stone Town, you can’t miss the opportunity to try the local cuisine and street food. Here are some of the best things to do in Stone Town Zanzibar to satisfy your taste buds:
1. Forodhani Night Market
One of the most popular things to do in Stone Town Zanzibar is to visit the Forodhani Night Market. Located on the waterfront, this market is a food lover’s paradise. You can find a variety of local dishes such as Zanzibari pizza, grilled seafood, and sugar cane juice. The market is open every night and is a great place to experience the local culture.
2. Spice Tour
Zanzibar is known as the “Spice Island” for a reason. A spice tour is a great way to learn about the different spices grown on the island and how they are used in local cuisine. You can visit spice farms and taste the spices in their natural form. Some tours even include a cooking class where you can learn to make traditional Zanzibari dishes.
3. Swahili Cooking Class
If you want to learn how to cook like a local, a Swahili cooking class is a must-do activity. You can learn to make dishes such as pilau rice, coconut curry, and samosas. The classes are usually held in a local home, giving you an authentic experience.
4. Zanzibari Coffee
Zanzibar is also known for its coffee. You can visit a local coffee farm and learn about the process of growing and roasting coffee beans. You can also taste different types of coffee and buy some to take home.
5. Local Restaurants
There are many local restaurants in Stone Town where you can try traditional Zanzibari dishes. Some popular dishes include biryani, urojo (a spicy soup), and octopus curry. You can also try street food such as mishkaki (grilled meat skewers) and Zanzibari pizza.
In conclusion, trying the local cuisine and street food is one of the best things to do in Stone Town Zanzibar. From the Forodhani Night Market to Swahili cooking classes, there are plenty of opportunities to experience the flavors of Zanzibar. Don’t miss out on this delicious aspect of your trip!
Shop ’til You Drop: Stone Town’s Vibrant Markets
If you’re looking for things to do in Stone Town Zanzibar, shopping at the local markets should definitely be on your list. The markets in Stone Town are vibrant and full of life, offering a unique shopping experience that you won’t find anywhere else.
One of the most popular markets in Stone Town is the Darajani Market. Here, you’ll find everything from fresh produce and spices to clothing and souvenirs. The market is a great place to immerse yourself in the local culture and interact with the friendly vendors.
Forodhani Night Market
For a truly unique shopping experience, head to the Forodhani Night Market. This market comes alive at night and offers a wide variety of street food, including Zanzibar’s famous seafood. You can also find handmade crafts and souvenirs here.
Mwenge Woodcarvers Market
If you’re looking for handmade crafts and souvenirs, the Mwenge Woodcarvers Market is the place to go. Here, you’ll find beautiful wood carvings, paintings, and other handmade items. The market is a great place to find unique gifts for friends and family back home.
Whether you’re looking for fresh produce, spices, handmade crafts, or souvenirs, Stone Town’s vibrant markets have something for everyone. So, add shopping to your list of things to do in Stone Town Zanzibar and get ready to shop ’til you drop!
Cultural Immersion: Traditional Music and Dance Performances
If you’re looking for things to do in Stone Town Zanzibar that will give you a taste of the local culture, attending a traditional music and dance performance is a must. Zanzibar has a rich cultural heritage, and music and dance are an integral part of it.
Experience the Taarab Music
Taarab music is a popular genre in Zanzibar that originated in the 19th century. It is a fusion of African, Arabic, and Indian music and is often accompanied by traditional instruments such as the oud, qanun, and violin. You can attend a Taarab music performance at the Dhow Countries Music Academy or the Zanzibar International Film Festival.
Watch the Ngoma Dance
Ngoma is a traditional dance form in Zanzibar that is performed during weddings, festivals, and other celebrations. It is a high-energy dance that involves drumming, singing, and acrobatics. You can watch a Ngoma dance performance at the Mwaka Kogwa Festival or the Sauti za Busara Festival.
Visit the Dhow Countries Music Academy
The Dhow Countries Music Academy is a music school in Stone Town that offers courses in traditional Zanzibari music and dance. You can attend a performance by the students or take a class to learn the basics of Taarab music or Ngoma dance.
Attending a traditional music and dance performance is one of the best things to do in Stone Town Zanzibar if you want to immerse yourself in the local culture. Don’t miss out on this unique experience during your visit to Zanzibar.
Unwind by the Sea: Beaches and Water Activities
Zanzibar is known for its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, making it the perfect destination for beach lovers. Here are some of the things to do in Stone Town Zanzibar to unwind by the sea:
Visit Nungwi Beach
Nungwi Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Zanzibar. It’s located on the northern tip of the island and offers stunning views of the Indian Ocean. You can spend your day lounging on the beach, swimming in the turquoise waters, or taking part in water activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving.
Go on a Sunset Cruise
Watching the sunset over the Indian Ocean is a must-do activity in Zanzibar. You can book a sunset cruise and enjoy the breathtaking views while sipping on a cocktail. Some tours even offer a chance to swim with dolphins.
Snorkel at Mnemba Atoll
Mnemba Atoll is a protected marine reserve located off the coast of Zanzibar. It’s home to a diverse range of marine life, including colorful fish, sea turtles, and dolphins. You can book a snorkeling tour and explore the underwater world of Mnemba Atoll.
Zanzibar is a popular destination for kitesurfing enthusiasts. The island’s consistent winds and shallow waters make it an ideal spot for beginners and experienced kitesurfers alike. You can take lessons or rent equipment from one of the many kitesurfing schools on the island.
Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach or take part in water activities, Zanzibar has something for everyone. These are just a few of the things to do in Stone Town Zanzibar to unwind by the sea.
Beyond Stone Town: Day Trips and Excursions
While there are plenty of things to do in Stone Town Zanzibar, there are also many exciting day trips and excursions to explore outside the city. Here are some of the top options:
1. Spice Tour
One of the most popular day trips from Stone Town is the Spice Tour. Zanzibar is known as the “Spice Island” and this tour takes you to a local spice farm where you can see and smell a variety of spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. You’ll also learn about the history of the spice trade in Zanzibar and how the spices are used in local cuisine.
2. Prison Island
Prison Island, also known as Changuu Island, is a short boat ride from Stone Town. The island was originally used as a prison for rebellious slaves, but now it’s a popular tourist destination. You can visit the giant tortoise sanctuary, relax on the beach, and snorkel in the crystal-clear waters.
3. Jozani Forest
Jozani Forest is a protected area located in the center of Zanzibar. It’s home to the rare red colobus monkey, as well as other wildlife such as bush pigs and duikers. You can take a guided tour through the forest and learn about the local flora and fauna.
4. Dolphin Tour
If you’re looking for a unique experience, consider taking a dolphin tour. You’ll head out to sea in a traditional dhow boat and search for pods of dolphins. If you’re lucky, you may even get to swim with them!
5. Safari Blue
Safari Blue is a full-day excursion that takes you to some of the best snorkeling spots around Zanzibar. You’ll also get to visit a sandbank, enjoy a seafood lunch, and relax on a traditional dhow boat.
These are just a few of the many day trips and excursions available beyond Stone Town. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or adventure, there’s something for everyone. Don’t miss out on these amazing experiences during your visit to Zanzibar!
In conclusion, my fellow travelers, Stone Town in Zanzibar is a treasure trove of culture, history, and adventure. As Journeying Jack, I’ve had the pleasure of exploring many destinations, but the unique charm of this UNESCO World Heritage site has left an indelible mark on my heart. From the vibrant markets to the mesmerizing architecture, there’s no shortage of things to do in Stone Town Zanzibar.
As you wander through the labyrinth of narrow streets, you’ll find that the list of things to do in Stone Town Zanzibar is as diverse as the people who call this enchanting place home. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or simply looking for a relaxing getaway, Stone Town has something for everyone.
So, pack your bags, and get ready to create your own Suitcase Stories as you embark on a journey to discover the many things to do in Stone Town Zanzibar. I guarantee that this magical destination will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime. Until our next adventure, happy travels!