A Stone Town tour is one of the best ways to get to know Zanzibar and Tanzania. The site is not just important in historical terms; it is also filled with several places of interest.
The town is the old sector of Zanzibar. It is situated on the Unguja west coast. If coming from abroad, you will land at Zanzibar International Airport. This is reached by way of Dar es Salaam. You can also reach the site by boat from Pemba.
What to See
The best known landmark is the House of Wonders at Mizingani Road. The former residence of the Sultan, it has since been converted to a museum. There is also the 17th century Old Fort which now houses workshops. It is also where cultural shows are held.
Other interesting places are the Old Dispensary, the Palace Museum and the Anglican Cathedral of Christ Church. The site where the church is built used to be the center of slavery in the country.
Other landmarks you can visit on a Stone Town tour are the Roman Catholic cathedral of St. Joseph, the Hamamni Persian Baths and David Livingstone’s House. Tippu Tip’s House is also a well known historical site.
The 1830s saw the first building of stone houses in the area. During the 1840s, rapid development of the site took place under the rule of the Sultan of Oman.
The 19th century also saw the town become a major trading center. It was best known for its spices. Under the rule of the British, the town maintained its status as a vital trading post. Even after the removal of the Sultan in 1964, the town remained the seat of government.
The most affordable rooms in the area will cost about 12 USD. If you plan to go near the beach, expect to pay about 15 USD. There is also the Dhow Palace Hotel which costs 25 USD a night for a single.
Over at Kaunda Road is the High Court of Justice where Portuguese and Islamic elements can be seen. Aga Khan Mosque is one of the best known mosques in the area, as is the Malindi Mosque. Visitors to the site can also drop by the Forodhani Gardens.
As you go on a Stone Town tour, make sure to check out the Darajani Market. This bazaar is full of shopping stalls where you can buy electronics, clothes and many more items.