Experience Zanzibar Stone Town
It may not have a particularly romantic name, but Stone Town, is the capital and cultural heart of Zanzibar, little changed in the last 200 years. A labyrinth of winding alleys, bustling bazaars, mosques and houses whose extravagance is reflected in their brass, carved, wooden doors.
The National Museum is a good starting point for finding out more of the history and culture of Zanzibar. It opened in 1925 and contains relics from time of the Sultans and early explorers, as well as traditional carvings and exhibits of local wildlife, including a good collection of birds and reptiles. Another ‘Must’ is the House of Wonders, with its pillars, fretted balconies and intricately carved doors, it was built by Sultan Barghash in 1883 and was occupied by the British in 1911 when the Sultan moved to the much less pretentious palace, now called the People’s palace, on the other side of the street.
Next to the House of Wonders is the Old Fort, built on the site of Portuguese church when the Arabs took over the island, and now the venue for many of Zanzibar’s numerous theatrical and musical events. Perhaps the most impressive, ornate building is the Old Dispensary which has recently undergone excellent restoration work. The High Court and Africa House, a former English Gentleman’s Club and now a boutique hotel offering, supposedly, the best view of the sunset, are also worth a visit as is Livingstone House, where the Scottish explorer lived for three months in 1866 gathering supplies for his last expedition.
At the center of Stone Town are the Persian-styled Hamamni Baths, built at the command of Sultan Barghash at the end of the 19th century while nearby is the Cathedral Church of Christ, completed in 1879 on the site of an open slave market. Echoes of Zanzibar’s more sinister past are also to be found in Tippu Tip House, built for the notorious slave and ivory trader Hamad bin Muhammad el-Marjab, and a former slave pit in nearby Kelele square.
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Places to Stay at Zanzibar Island
Below are some of our highly recommended places of stay at Zanzibar Island that have been tested and chosen by our travel specialists
Breezes Beach Club & Spa
An ideal choice for those in search of a romantic getaway, Breezes Beach Club & Spa is famous for its attention to detail, intimate and private dining, its beautiful Zanzibari décor with stunning carving, glistening brass and rich fabrics creates an elegant and unique atmosphere.
Dream of Zanzibar
Dream of Zanzibar is a superb 5 star all inclusive Resort nestled in the midst of exotic gardens on the beach front at Pwani Machangani overlooking the turquoise water of the Indian Ocean.
The Palms Zanzibar
The Palms is a sanctuary for those in search of tranquility…a place to stimulate the senses and experience the very best of the Island of Zanzibar. The Palms is one of the world’s most romantic all-inclusive resorts, says Travel + Leisure.
Perched on an outcrop overlooking a shallow, coral-fringed lagoon on the quiet northeastern coast of Zanzibar Island,Matemwe Lodge’s blissful location and famously relaxed atmosphere make it the ideal place to unwind.
This private, intimate getaway beach retreat with only twelve spacious villas sits atop a cliff, with a spectacular view of the Indian Ocean, framed by swaying coconut palms and bougainvillea.
Matemwe Beach House
This traditional three-room residence is the perfect escape for families or groups looking for a private slice of Zanzibar’s beautiful coastline.
Mnemba Island Lodge
Mnemba Island is an exclusive paradise featuring twelve rustically chic beachside bandas, for just 24 guests, connected to the breathtaking Mnemba atoll.
Pongwe Beach Hotel
Pongwe Beach Hotel is situated on a picture perfect beach with white powdery sands, turquoise waters and shady palm trees – the perfect holiday destination
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