Stone Town: The jewel in Zanzibar’s crown

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The charming, historical port of Stone Town is the jewel in Zanzibar’s crown, and where you can immerse yourself in a bunch of unforgettable East African travel adventures…

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Stone Town has delicious seafood, palm-fringed beaches, an abundance of marine life and excellent diving conditions offshore, a bunch of recently-opened luxury hotels and lodges, a rich array of historical buildings to be explored, and a fascinating and colourful island culture.

A Stone Town stroll will reveal classic, old Islamic and colonial architecture, featuring elaborately carved wooden doors, coralbuilt walls, set amidst dozens of narrow streets and alleyways, mosques, and secret courtyards. It is also just a fantastic place to get lost for a few hours with nothing but your camera, and an open mind for great memories.

In addition to all of the above, here are some not-to-be missed experiences in and around Stone Town…

Head off on a spice tour:

A walking tour of some of Zanzibar’s famous spice plantations – which you can book through several tour operators in Stone Town – is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the exotic aromas and tastes of the island’s spices, and to experience why Zanzibar was known as the ‘Spice Island’ for many years, as a result of it being one of the world’s leading producers of cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon in the 1800s. (The tours often include a delicious, spice-infused lunch at the plantation too).

Explore Darajani food market:

The wonderfully chaotic Darajani market at the old part of Stone Town is filled with traders selling aromatic spices, fresh seafood, fruits and vegetables. It’s a foodies delight – and where you can sample traditional Zanzibar street-food dishes like ‘Mishkaki’ grilled meat skewers, fresh-squeezed sugar cane juice, and strong cups of black coffee.

Feast at Forodhani Gardens:

Another foodie hotspot in Stone Town is the Forodhani Gardens on the waterfront, which turn into a  vibrant open-air food market on a nightly basis, and where you can feast on all sorts of seafood and shellfish delicacies – served directly from the barbeque grill.

Sunset cruise on a traditional dhow:

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The Zanzibar sunsets are mesmerising, and the best way to experience them is from the deck of a traditional East African wooden dhow, launched from Stone Town. They can also be combined with a day-time snorkelling trip, dolphin watching, and later on, light snacks and sundowner cocktails on deck.

Collect ‘Tinga Tinga’ artworks:

You’ll find East Africa’s brightly coloured ‘Tinga Tinga’ style oil-on-canvas paintings being sold all over the island of Zanzibar, which make for a great travel souvenir to roll up in your luggage to take back home.

Explore Stone Town’s historical buildings:

On arrival in Stone Town, travellers can immediately begin exploring its historic infrastructure and buildings. There’s the House of Wonders, which is a magnificent structure set on Stone Town’s seafront that was formerly the Sultan of Zanzibar’s residence in the late 1800s, and which has now been converted into a museum of Swahili and Zanzibar culture. The Palace Museum is another of the former sultan’s residences, and also a museum (dedicated to the daily life of the historical Zanzibari royal family). There’s also the Old Dispensary which was built from 1887 to 1894 by a wealthy Indian trader, and which is now preserved as one of the most finely decorated buildings in town, complete with large, carved wooden balconies, and stained-glass windows. And, the Old Fort, adjacent to the House of Wonders, is a heavy stone fortress that was built in the 1600s by the Omani rulers of the day.

Oman Air flies you to Zanzibar 5 times a week.

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