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Flanked on two sides by the sea, Stone Town is exotic, exciting and steeped in history.

Heavily laden dhows sail in and out of port, tall crumbling buildings cast shadows over labyrinthine streets and the smell of spices fills the air.

Colonial history of Stone Town

Stone Town, TanzaniaMuch of Stone Town was built in the 19th century and remains unchanged to this day. A maze of haphazard alleyways lead between tall houses and palaces with intricately carved wooden doors with brass studs and heavy locks. There are ornate railings on the balconies, wide balustrades and pastel pink and green roofs. There is no room for cars in these streets, so they’re perfect for exploring on foot.

There is much to see and do in Stone Town, with museums to explore, tiny bazaars to browse and superb Zanzibari restaurants to sample. A visit to the early morning market is a must. Here, hessian sacks overflowing with black pepper, turmeric, cinnamon and vanilla jostle for space with piles of fresh ginger, chillies and nutmeg. Shopkeepers weigh lemongrass on brass scales, people haggle at the tops of their voices and stray chickens make a dash across the dusty ground. In the evenings we recommend a stroll to the Forodhani Gardens. As the sun sets street vendors light fires and braziers on which they grill squid, octopus and lobster. With some excellent character guesthouses and lots to do we recommend you stay for a night or two.

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Map of Stone Town

Places & hotels on the map