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The Best Things to Do in Stone Town, Zanzibar

Best Things To Do in Stone Town, Zanzibar

It’s 5.30am in Stone Town. I awake to the sound of the call to prayer from the nearby mosque. Oh, Zanzibar, how I’ve missed you.  

Let’s start with a little bit of history (if you’re just here for the best things to do in Stone Town, skip down a bit). 

The Zanzibar Archipelago lies in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Tanzania. It’s made up of 3 main islands (Unguja, Pemba and Mafia), plus a number of smaller islands. Unguja, the largest island is what most people talk about when they refer to Zanzibar.

The capital of Unguja is Zanzibar City, and the most famous section of Zanzibar City is called Stone Town and this is where you will find most of the tourist hotels. 

The other part of Zanzibar City is called Ng’ambo which literally means ‘the other side’ and the two are divided by Creek Road. You still with me?

The word Zanzibar is said to have both Persian and Arabic origins – from the Persian “Zangh Bar” loosely translating as “land of the black people”, or from Arabic “Zayn Z’al Barr” which means ‘Fair is this land”.

Zanzibar is called ‘The Spice Island’ due to the number of different spices grown there and it’s also famous as the birthplace of Queen frontman, Freddie Mercury.

In my mind, there’s nowhere on earth quite like Zanzibar.

Zanzibar Ferry Port

Often described as a ‘cultural melting pot’, owing to the various different peoples who’ve settled here over the ages. All of whom have left their mark in one way on this island, whether it be in the architecture, the customs, the food, the beliefs, religion or on the people themselves.

The Swahili name of Unguja means “bowl of fruits” – quite fitting really!

Zanzibar was a major trading hub, as well as the starting point for many journeys into the then ‘unexplored’ African interior, including those of David Livingstone and Henry Morton Stanley.

This also meant that it was at the forefront of the slave trade during its peak in the 19th century when men, women, and children were forced into slavery on the mainland, brutalized, chained, and auctioned at the slave market then shipped off to other parts of the world.

That’s if they survived the journeys. Many didn’t.

Nowadays, Zanzibar is a land of contrasts. It’s a place where the modern world meets the old world as traditional dhows (sailing boats) line the harbour alongside yachts and catamarans. A place of beauty and decay. With dark winding alleys and beautiful open beaches. A place to pray and place to party. 

Zanzibar might not be everyone’s cup of chai, but it is the place that fascinates me more than any other.

The mix of cultures and flavours, coupled with the proximity to the Indian Ocean means that Swahili cuisine is possibly the best food in all of Africa. Expect fresh fish and food cooked with traditional spices and plenty of coconuts.

Sauti za Busara Festival, Zanzibar - Rock My Adventure

Stone Town is UNESCO World Heritage Site and the kind of place you could spend days and days wandering around. But if you don’t have a lot of time, you need to make the most of it!

So here are my suggestions on the best things to do in Stone Town.

If you’re looking for some great things to do on the rest of the island as a whole, also have a read of this post.

Wondering how long to spend in Stone Town?

As a minimum, I would suggest spending at least 2 nights/2 full days in Stone Town and 2 nights elsewhere. 

Other Zanzibar posts you might enjoy…

Please Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which will earn me a small commission at no extra cost to you. Affiliate sales help with the running costs of this site, so thank you for your support!


The Best Things To Do in Stone Town, Zanzibar


Emerson Spice, Stone Town, Zanzibar

1. Stay at a Traditional Swahili Hotel

Now, I’ve stayed in many hotels in my time, but I have to say that the gorgeous Swahili hotels of Stone Town are some of my favourites.

If you ever want to feel like an Arabian princess, then Zanzibar is the place. 

One of my favourites is the Emerson Spice hotel, an old merchant’s house and once home to the last Swahili ruler of Zanzibar, lovingly restored by Emerson himself.

It’s the type of place that makes you feel as though you’d been transported back in time to the days when Sultans ruled or perhaps to a mythical land where genies lived in lamps. 

My favourite Stone Town Swahili Hotels include:

Stone Town Zanzibar - Rock My Adventure

2. Get Lost in the Alleyways

Stone Town is the perfect place to stroll and wander, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the city.

On your travels you’ll get a chance to see lots of different Zanzibari architecture in the form of the beautiful Zanzibari doors (one of the most impressive being slave trader Tippu Tip’s house), buildings, and places of worship, highlighting Zanzibar’s cultural heritage. 

This includes the Shiv Shakti Hindu temple, St Joseph’s Catholic Cathedral, Christ Church Anglican Cathedral, and the many mosques (although non-Muslims are usually not permitted in the mosques).

You could easily spend hours just shopping, eating, and getting lost in the maze of alleyways, which always remind me of a smaller Marrakesh.

And don’t worry, if you do get completely lost, Google Maps works very well or you can always ask a friendly shopkeeper to point you in the right direction.

Stone Town, Zanzibar

3. Take a Walking Tour of Stone

If you want to make the most of your time in Stone Town, taking a walking tour with a knowledgeable guide is a great way to do it.

They’ll take you to many of the main sights in town, whilst explaining the history of the island and pointing out all of the intricate details of the architecture that you may not notice or understand on your own.

The best tours can be arranged through Juma at Emerson Spice Hotel, or through Farid Hamid (WhatsApp on +255777484734), a local tour guide and journalist, or In Zanzibar by Aiysha.

You can also take a great food tour of Zanzibar

Stone Town, Zanzibar - Rock My Adventure

4. Shop at Darajani Market

If you want to experience the heart of Stone Town, then visit Darajani Market.

It’s a great, local experience as well as one of the best free things to do in Stone Town (well, that is if you don’t buy anything).

You’ll find vendors selling lots of different things, including fabric, clothing, spices, fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. Darajani Market is best in the early morning or late afternoon when you may catch the fish auction!

There are also lots of food stalls too, which is great if you’re on a budget. 

The Old Fort, Stone Town, Zanzibar

5. Visit the Old Fort

Zanzibar’s Old Fort can be found right on the seafront.

It was originally built by the Omani people to defend against the Portuguese but these days, it contains a number of curio shops, a restaurant, and a small amphitheatre which is used for performances and events, like the Sauti za Busara (Sounds of Wisdom) festival.

Forodhani Gardens, Stone Town, Zanzibar

6. Eat at Forodhani Gardens

Another cheap place to eat in Stone Town, is Forodhani Gardens, the nightly food market.

By day, there’s not usually much happening on this seafront promenade, which is opposite the Old Fort. But by night, it turns into a bustling food market with multiple vendors selling seafood and meat kebabs, samosas, urojo soup (Zanzibar Mix), fruit, grilled maize, Zanzibar pizzas, and sugar cane juice to both tourists and locals.

To find out where to find the best food (in my opinion), have a read of this post

Emerson on Hurumzi, Zanzibar

7. Eat at a Rooftop Restaurant

Stone Town is known for its rooftop restaurants. They’re great to visit at any time of day, but I love to go to watch the sunset with panoramic views over the terracotta rooftops of Stone Town, and listening to the evening Call to Prayer makes it seem even more magical and mysterious.  

There are a few rooftop restaurants in Stone Town, but my favourites are Emerson on Hurumzi and the Emerson Spice Tea House. 

Emerson Spice is great for a quiet, romantic evening. The menu changes daily and is usually 5 courses, created by the chef using the daily catch of their very own fisherman and the food is pretty exquisite.

Emerson on Hurumzi is more informal and you sit on the floor in communal style and they have a band from the local music school playing local Taarab music and you’ll often find people getting up to dance. The food is great and I actually prefer it to Emerson on Hurumzi, but if you’re a real foodie, you’ll probably prefer the Tea House. 

Cooking Lesson at Ella Spice Garden

8. Take a Spice Tour

Whilst on the ‘Spice Island’ you can take a spice tour where you’ll get to try lots of different locally grown spices,  including vanilla, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon as well as many others, used for cooking or in traditional medicines.

Your guide will explain what the spices are used for and their unique properties.

Emerson on Hurumzi, Zanzibar - Rock My Adventure

9. Take a Cookery Lesson

When you’re in Stone Town, why not partake in a traditional Zanzibari cooking lesson. 

If you want to hit two birds with one stone, I recommend doing a spice tour with a Darajani market trip and a cooking lesson from Tangawezi Bistro in Stone Town. A lot more fun and great to see the spices through their full journey. You can alternative tours here.

The Old Dispensary Stone Town

10. Visit the Old Dispensary

Stepping off the ferry, you’ll see the impressive Old Dispensary.

Inside you’ll find a pretty courtyard and a small museum and it’s a great place for photography. It’s also free to enter! Always a bonus! 

It was originally intended to be a hospital for the poor, but the owner died whilst it was still under construction and his widow didn’t have the money to continue.

The building was later sold off and the new owner decided to use the ground floor as a dispensary, and the upper floors were turned into apartments.

After the Zanzibar revolution of 1964, the building was abandoned before being claimed by the government. It was eventually restored in the early 1990s.

Lukmaan Restaurant Stone Town

11. Eat Swahili Food at Lukmaan Restaurant

Lukmaan restaurant is a bit of a Stone Town institution. 

When I first visited Zanzibar, it was a tiny little restaurant with just a few tables and always filled with locals. It’s since quadrupled in size and is always busy with a mix of tourists and locals.

They have a big menu of authentic Zanzibari food and lots of delicious juices.

Another great restaurant to try is the Passing Show Hotel. Many restaurants and teahouses are called hotels in East Africa. I didn’t eat there on this trip, but I’ve eaten here before and the food is wonderful, very similar to Lukmaan.

Tanzania Rooftops

12. Visit the Mrembo Spa

One of my favourite things to do in Stone Town is to visit the Mrembo Spa for a facial, massage or pedicure. 

It’s always a lovely experience and you’ll leave looking and feeling 10 years younger (although, maybe minus a layer of skin).

They also organise some amazing workshops including cooking, batik printing, making your own beauty products, spice blending, painting and music.

Prison Island Zanzibar

13. Visit Prison Island (Changuu)

I great half-day trip from Stone Town, is Changuu (Prison Island), a former slave prison which you will pass on the ferry on the way over. 

Whilst you are there, you can learn about the history of the island, go snorkelling and see the giant Aldabra tortoises that have been imported from the Seyshelles.

You can book your Prison Island tour here or organise when you arrive. 

Snorkelling in Zanzibar - Rock My Adventure

14. Stay on Chumbe Island

Chumbe Island Coral Park is a private island off the coast of Zanzibar with an eco-lodge, private coral reef and private nature reserve.

Guests can enjoy nature walks, forest walks, snorkelling or relaxing in this sustainable eco-paradise.

Check prices here.

Sunset, Stone Town, Zanzibar

15. Watch the Sunset

Zanzibar sunsets are generally pretty amazing!

For the best views in Stone Town, you need to be on the west side (obviously) or up high. Otherwise, you’ll see nothing.

I like to either sit on the beach near to the Livingstone Bar (or you could get a drink at the bar), where there are always lots of locals around and you often find the local boys doing acrobatics on the beach. Or you could even sit on the wall at the end of Forodhani Gardens, which looks over this beach.

Alternatively, if you want views directly facing the sunset, you should go to the side with 6 Degrees South (happy hour from 5 pm to 7 pm), the Zanzibar Serene Hotel and the Africa House Hotel.

Stone Town, Zanzibar - Rock My Adventure

16. Spend Your Money at the Many Curio Shops

Stone Town is full of curio shops and if you like to shop, you’ll love Zanzibar.

If you haven’t shopped anywhere else on your trip, you can get all the souvenirs you need here, including clothes, perfumes, Zanzibar chests, jewellery, paintings, wooden ornaments and Tanzania jewellery. 

If you take a left down the street to the right of Freddie Mercury’s House (Gizenga Street) and just keep walking down towards Hurumzi Street and Darajani Market, you’ll find the main bulk of curio shops.

There are some fancier shops near to Jafferji House and a famous place to stop is the Abeid Curio Shop and don’t forget your beauty products at the Mrembo Spa (both near to Jaws Corner).

You can bargain at most of the street stalls and smaller shops, but you’ll pay fixed prices at the more formal shops on Kenyatta Road.

House of Wonders

17. See the Ruins of the House of Wonders

The House of Wonders is on my list because it was one of the most impressive and recognisable buildings in Zanzibar.

Once upon a time it was a ceremonial palace and it was the first building in Zanzibar to have electricity (did you know Zanzibar had electricity before London?) and the first building in East Africa to have an elevator.

Sadly, much of the building collapsed on Christmas Day 2020, after being run down for many years – so it doesn’t look anything like it did above (picture taken in 2014). 

Weighing up the Pros and Cons of Travelling Africa Independently v's Taking an Organised Tour.

18. Have a Coffee at Jaws Corner

One of my favourite places in Stone Town is Jaws Corner. It’s just a little cross-section of alleyways, but it’s a great place to stop, have a coffee, and watch the world go by.

If you understand Swahili, you will overhear the conversations of the Zanzibari’s gossiping and chit-chatting about daily life in the city.

It’s free to visit and a cup of coffee and a piece of kashata (a Tanzanian version of peanut brittle) will cost you very little.

READ MORE: The Most Useful English to Swahili Words & Phrases for Travel in East Africa

Slave Monument Zanzibar

19. Pay Your Respects at the Slave Market

Zanzibar was a major trading hub and a central point in the East African slave trade.

The Trans-Atlantic slave trade is well documented in both movies and history, but less seems to be known about the slave trade on the other side of the continent.

The East African slave trade was brutal, with hundreds of thousands of people being trafficked through Bagamoyo and Dar es Salaam on the mainland, to be sold in Zanzibar, then shipped to the rest of the world.

You can either wander around by yourself or if you want to get the full history, you can take a specific tour like this one to pay your respects at the Slave Monument and visit the old Slave Market.

As part of the tours, you’ll usually take a trip to Christ Church, a cathedral that houses a cross made from the wood of the tree that grows where David Livingstone’s heart was buried in Zambia. 

Stone Town, Zanzibar - Rock My Adventure

20. Visit Freddie Mercury’s House

Worth a quick photo stop is the house where Queen Star Freddie Mercury was born, on Kenyatta Road.

Jaws Corner Stone Town

21. Stop for a Cuppa at a Local Cafe

There are lots of places to grab a cup of coffee or tea in Zanzibar, but a few of my favourites include Zanzibar Coffee house, The Zanzibar Cafe, Lazuli, and Cafe Africa Shops.

And if you’d like a true Zanzibari experience, head to Jaws Corner for coffee or Babu Chai for tea. Babu means ‘grandfather’ and ‘chai’ is tea. Babu Chai is a stall, rather than a shop or coffee, and he sets up each evening at around 6pm. As well as sweet spiced tea and ginger tea, you can also buy coffee (kahawa), donuts (mandazis), chapatis with egg (chapati mayai).

Try some of the famous Zanzibar coffee, or grab a cup of spicy masala chai.

Sauti za Busara Festival, Zanzibar - Rock My Adventure

22. Sample the Stone Town Nightlife

Stone Town isn’t generally the party place in Zanzibar, but you can definitely have a good time if you go looking for it.

The Livingstone Bar is a great place to have a few beers, and you’ll find many of the tourists at Mercury’s Bar by the ferry.

Later on, Tatu is a popular nightspot, with DJ’s blaring music over 3 (often packed) floors. Some of the bigger hotels on the seafront also have nightclubs and there are a number of clubs in the Ng’ambo (the ‘other side’ of Zanzibar City) although I’ve been to a couple and they may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

There’s no problem with you drinking alcohol and many Zanzibari’s do – especially the younger, less religious men, but just be careful to always respect the culture. 

Sauti za Busara Festival, Zanzibar - Rock My Adventure

23. Attend a Festival

There are a few cool festivals that take place in Stone Town each year, including the Sauti za Busara arts festival, the The Zanzibar International Film Festival, and a number of smaller festivals, such as the Stone Town Food Festival (although it feels like every day is a food festival in Zanzibar).

Emerson Spice Zanzibar

24. Listen to Some Zanzibari Taarab Music

If you want to hear some traditional Zanzibari Taraab music, you can either book a table at Emerson on Hurumzi or watch a performance at the Dhow Countries Music Academy

Sunset Zanzibar

25. Sail on a Traditional Dhow

If you have the time and money, you could take a sail on a traditional dhow whilst you’re in Zanzibar.

There are a number of day trips from Stone Town, including the famous Safari Blue (which leaves from Fumba, about a half an hour drive south), as well as a number of sunset cruises that leave from Kendwa and Nungwi in the north or you can take a romantic sunset sail, direct from Stone Town on the exquisite Vanora Zanzibar.

You can book your Safari Blue tour here.

I really hope you enjoyed my guide to the best things to do in Stone Town, Zanzibar and I hope you have an amazing trip!


Join one of my Tanzania & Zanzibar group tours or buy my Backpacking Africa e-book!

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About Author

I'm a travel blogger and tour operator with a passion for Africa travel. I love the great outdoors, going on epic trips around the world and helping others travel!

63 Comments

  • Brenna
    January 9, 2015 at 2:30 am

    Ahhh I’m desperate to get to Zanzibar! I’ll definitely use this guide in the future. x

    Reply
    • Helen
      January 9, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      Ah, that’s great Brenna! I want to go back this year, so if you’re looking for company… 🙂

      Reply
  • Ed Rex
    January 9, 2015 at 8:20 am

    Wow, what a really informative guide!

    I really enjoyed reading all about it, getting caught up in your enthusiasm. Fo’sure I’ll be coming to Zanzibar next time I began in Africa!

    Reply
    • Helen
      January 9, 2015 at 5:59 pm

      Thanks Ed! What a lovely comment! You should definitely go!!!! Think you’d love it!

      Reply
  • Ella
    January 9, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    Wow, it sounds like you had an amazing time! Everyone I know who’s been to Zanzibar absolutely loved it. Hopefully I’ll get to visit myself on a future trip. 🙂

    Reply
    • Helen
      January 9, 2015 at 6:00 pm

      I did thank you Ella!!!! I’m sure you will. I think your Africa journey has only just begun… 🙂

      Reply
  • Michelle - Very Hungry Explorer
    January 9, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. Zanzibar sounds amazing and your pictures are beautiful. I will definitely be visiting Stone Town this year.

    Reply
    • Helen
      January 9, 2015 at 11:03 pm

      Thanks Michelle! I love Zanzibar!! Go this year! I may go back again this year too! And glad you like the photos! I totally didn’t get all the shots I wanted so need to return! 🙂

      Reply
  • Matthew
    January 9, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    My wife and I are going to Zanzibar in a few weeks. This guide is perfect and we’ll definitely be following your recommendations. Emerson Spice looks amazing and definitely want to do the tour and try a Zanzibar Pizza! Thanks.

    Reply
    • Helen
      January 10, 2015 at 12:31 am

      Hope you have an amazing time! Yes, the tour is fab, and even if you don’t stay at Emerson Spice, go for dinner! Zanzibar pizza is amazing also! 🙂

      Reply
  • Roxanne Reid
    January 10, 2015 at 6:51 am

    Stone TOwn is still definitely on my to-do list, so thatnks for all the tips. I love, love that photo of the ancient door with colourful veg and baskets.

    Reply
    • Helen
      January 10, 2015 at 12:33 pm

      Glad you like it Roxanne! That door is right outside Emerson Spice Hotel! 🙂

      Reply
  • Rebecca
    January 17, 2015 at 2:14 am

    Ever since I could read I’ve been picking up travel magazines and books, and articles about Zanzibar always evoked images of a magical place. Thanks for this guide – I. Must. Go. There.

    Reply
    • Helen
      January 17, 2015 at 1:32 pm

      Thanks Rebecca! Yes, you must go there! 🙂 Hope you have an amazing time!

      Reply
  • Germanus
    January 17, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Waoh you make me feel to return back home…. It was amazingly
    journey….. Ubuyu!!! Did you try ”
    KASHATA” ? And the mostly popular UROJO. Forodhani markets…. You did very good job Heleni.

    Reply
    • Helen
      January 17, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      Thank you Germanus, that is a big compliment coming from a Tanzanian, and one who’s also lived in Zanzibar.

      I did try kashata, I had a piece with my coffee at Jaws Corner, should add that in. I didn’t have urojo but it is on my list for next time! The ubuyu was nice!

      Reply
      • Germanus
        January 17, 2015 at 4:44 pm

        Nice to hear you tried kashata as well with coffee….. Did you realise that coffee you won’t drink without kashata the way it’s bitter

        Reply
        • Helen
          January 17, 2015 at 5:30 pm

          The coffee is bitter without the kashata? Or the kashata is bitter without the coffee? 🙂

          Reply
  • Sarah
    January 19, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    I know what you mean by “oh Stone Town I’ve missed you”, it’s what I was thinking looking at the pictures! Well, more I am missing you… 🙂 I want to go back so desperately! I also kind of regret not doing the spice tour, it just looked so cheesy while I was there… Next time, definitely!

    Reply
    • Helen
      January 20, 2015 at 7:00 pm

      Aw, thanks Sarah! Glad my pictures evoked some memories for you!

      Yeah, I’ve heard mixed reviews about the Spice Tours, some people love them, some people say they’re too touristy. I’ll definitely try one next time though!

      Reply
  • Jessica
    May 10, 2015 at 6:42 am

    Hi Helen,

    Great blog, very informative! Myself and my partner are vising Zanzibar next month, we can’t wait.

    Quick question – how do we reach Farid Himid for the tour?

    Reply
    • Helen
      May 15, 2015 at 4:45 pm

      Hi Jessica, I’m in Morocco but will it’s the details when I get home on Sunday! X

      Reply
    • Helen
      May 17, 2015 at 11:55 am

      Hi Jessica, You can reach Farid on +255777484734

      If you can’t get in touch direct, pop to Emerson Spice and I’m sure they can sort it out for you! 🙂 Have a great time! x

      Reply
  • Christine
    September 23, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    This has really helped me for my trip next week! Thanks 🙂

    Reply
    • Helen
      September 23, 2015 at 8:21 pm

      That’s great, thanks Chrstine!!! 🙂 Let me know if yu do any of the things I recommend. Would love to hear your thoughts!

      Reply
      • Christine
        September 24, 2015 at 4:20 pm

        I sure will 🙂 I may link my travel blog so you can read it 🙂

        Reply
  • Jessey Jay
    October 5, 2015 at 7:08 am

    Hey!
    Awsome Post Thanks For Sharing !

    Reply
    • Helen
      October 29, 2015 at 5:13 pm

      Thank you for reading! 🙂

      Reply
  • AMYN
    October 24, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    Fabulous article! Just happened on this accidentally!

    I will be uploading my images from my Travels to East Africa.

    Reply
    • Helen
      October 29, 2015 at 5:14 pm

      Thanks Amyn, glad you liked it!

      Great, I’l check them out! Enjoy your travels!

      Reply
  • Hannah
    October 28, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    Thank you so much for this detailed review of your trip! I am going to be in Stone Town at the end of November, and your post made me feel like I have a better ‘feel’ of what I’ll find there. 🙂

    Reply
    • Helen
      October 29, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      Thanks so much Hannah! Stone Town is amazing, such an interesting place. Are you just going to Stone Town, or other places too?

      x

      Reply
      • Hannah Bryant
        October 29, 2015 at 5:44 pm

        We have booked a hotel in Stone Town, but are interesting in exploring outside of the town as well! What are your best tips/suggestions/ideas? 🙂

        Reply
        • Helen
          November 2, 2015 at 7:47 pm

          Hi Hannah! My suggestions would be:

          Beaches of Kendwa, Nungwe, Paje – lots to do there!
          Jozani Forest
          Prison Island
          If you have time there’s other islands like Mafia
          Go on a boat trip with Safari Blue

          Have an amazing time Hannah!

          Reply
  • Barbara Nekesa
    January 22, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    wow my friends and I are planning to travel to Zanzibar for the Easter weekend in March and this information is going to be helpful. Thank you for sharing

    Reply
    • Helen
      January 23, 2016 at 10:56 pm

      Hey Barbara! Glad this is helpful!!! Have an amazing time when you go!! 🙂

      Reply
  • Melanie Hillebrand
    February 29, 2016 at 7:33 am

    Wow what a great blog! We are planning to go to Zanzibar in June this year. It will be during Ramadan. I am not sure if we should go this time or rather try to organize before it? Please give me your honest opinion. I know the do’s and don’t of Ramadan etc.

    Reply
    • Helen
      March 4, 2016 at 10:12 pm

      Hi Melanie,

      Thank you!!

      It will be fine to go, however it will be a bit different than other times, but it will still be great. If you like to party, it might not be the best time to go and a lot of the beach clubs close I believe. Personally I would really love to visit Zanzibar during Ramadan but I’m also glad I’ve already experienced it outside of Ramadan too.

      You could go for the end of Ramadan, stay for Eid and a bit after? 🙂

      This is a really good article: http://www.mambomagazine.com/nutshell-guides/tradition/top-10-tips-ramadan-in-zanzibar

      Enjoy it! 🙂

      Reply
  • Sophie
    June 5, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    Hi, I’m going to Zanzibar in December for 10 days after a CT to Vic Falls trip. Love reading your blogs.

    We’re going to stay in Stone Town for a couple of days and then want to head for the beach and Jozani Forest. Where have you stayed in the beach resorts, where would you recommend?

    Thanks!

    Sophie

    Reply
    • Helen
      June 12, 2016 at 8:06 pm

      Hi Sophie,

      I really love Kendwa Rocks in Kendwa! There’s also Paje on the other side of the island. I stayed at New Teddy’s. There’s also Nungwi, next to Kendwa which is also great!

      Have a great time!!!

      Reply
      • Sophie
        July 23, 2016 at 4:42 pm

        Thanks Helen, that place looks great! How would you recommend travelling from Stone Town to Kendwa and then to Paje? Thanks, I’m getting really excited!

        Reply
  • Maaike
    October 3, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    Hello Helen! i really like your tips. Got a lot for my trip from your blogs (end of oct. to 11 november, by myself (27 years old women;))).
    In the beginning 2 days in Stone Town, i want to do the guid trip with Farid Himid. But how dit you “arrange” him?
    Because i want to arrange him for my first day in Stone Town.
    If you have thinks where i don’t want to go in on my one please let me know!

    Reply
  • Murtaza
    October 7, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    Hey, can you send me farids contact details of you still have them. Will be visiting Zanzibar next week.

    Reply
  • Pheladi
    October 17, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    Hi Helen

    My friends and I (group of 6) will be going to Zanzibar in Feb 2017 (09- 15), to attend Sauti za Busara festival. We are going to stay at Zanzibar Hotel… any recommendations for us?

    Reply
    • Helen
      October 19, 2016 at 8:39 pm

      Hi Pheladi,

      Are you staying at a place called Zanzibar Hotel and looking for recommendations of things to do? Or are you looking for hotel recommendations? Sorry, wasn’t clear from your message! 🙂

      Reply
      • Pheladi
        October 19, 2016 at 8:44 pm

        Hi Helen

        We will be staying at Zanzibar hotel, do you you have any idea what else we can do besides the festival?

        Reply
        • Helen
          October 19, 2016 at 11:40 pm

          I’m guessing you’ve read the post above, so other than that… you could head north to the beaches of Kendwa and Nungwi, go on a Safari Blue trip, visit Prison Island, hire bikes, dolphin trip, visit the Mnemba atoll for snorkelling, spice tour, eat at The Rock, kite surfing in Paje… there’s loads of cool stuff!

          Any more questions, let me know.

          Reply
  • Jill
    November 22, 2016 at 8:44 am

    Just arrived in Stone Town last night. Staying at the Dhow Palace, it’s gorgeous! Thanks for sharing your tips, now I have a better idea of what to do here before I head to the Northern beaches for some SCUBA diving and hopefully snorkeling too.

    Reply
    • Helen
      November 22, 2016 at 7:20 pm

      I’ve heard of Dhow Palace but not stayed there!

      Have an amazing time – glad my post helped! 🙂

      Reply
  • Sherry Mills
    February 7, 2017 at 6:48 am

    Hi Helen!
    Got to your Blog purely by chance and found it wonderful! We are 4 women and have only 3 (Feb 19-22) nights ( 2.5 days) to spend in Stone Town after a safari…one day we DO want to go to a beach if you have any suggestions on how to get there and if we should try to get a day pass at a beach hotel. I will share our experience with you when we return!

    Reply
    • Helen
      February 7, 2017 at 9:51 pm

      Hi Sherry! You can get a share taxi from Stone Town to any of the beaches. Your hotel can arrange it for you. They’re about $10 pp each way. Or you can get a taxi, if there’s 4 of you it will probably work out similar. Or you can get the public bus, which is a lot cheaper but less convenient.

      I would go to Kendwa in the north. No need for a day pass, the beach is free. You can walk through Kendwa Rocks. If you have a drink at their bar you can use their sun loungers no problem.

      You could also go on a Safari Blue – a great day trip from Stone Town!

      Let me know how it goes! 🙂

      Here’s some other ideas: https://www.heleninwonderlust.co.uk/2017/02/amazing-things-to-do-in-zanzibar/

      Reply
  • Ayana
    April 4, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    I went there this year for my birthday and it was absolutly gorgeous! I really miss this place

    Reply
    • Helen
      April 4, 2017 at 10:44 pm

      I miss it too! 🙂 Can’t wait to go back!!!

      Reply
  • Ahmed
    January 2, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Hi Helen,

    A wonderful guide that I will use. I’m going to Zanzibar next week with my wife for only 4 days, how many days should I spend between Stonetown and Nungwi? You said you were going to the beaches up north, so I assumed that’s where you were going. Do you think one day and night is sufficient for Stonetown?

    Reply
  • Maggie May
    July 9, 2018 at 7:32 pm

    This is fantastic and i will prob just follow it word for word when I go to Stone Town haha.
    Question though – it seems that a lot of places only take US$, is that true? If so, do the ATMs dispense US$?
    Also if none of the beach areas have banks, does that mean I have to walk around with hundreds of dollars on me?

    I was thinking of splitting my time between Stone Town (2 days), Nungwi (3 days), Paje (2 days) – do you recommend that? Is there swimming in Paje or is it just kite surfing?

    Thanks for any info!

    Reply
    • Helen
      August 11, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      hey Maggie,

      A lot of places take USD, credit/debit card (Visa is best) and Tanzanian Shillings. Better to pay local money for smaller items though in local places. Dollars are fine for hotels and activities most of the time. No, most ATM’s dispense shillings, not USD. USD notes you take need to be in good condition and ideally dated 2009 +.

      Paje has a bank, but the northern beaches don’t.

      You can swim a bit in Paje, but depends on the tides, they can be really far out.

      But the days split you have is cool.

      Have fun!

      Reply
  • Jason Robb
    June 25, 2019 at 10:32 pm

    Hi, great blog/guide….I love the tips after each part!

    Is it easy to get round the island by the wee public buses? are they quite frequent? I was thinking of staying in a hotel on the North or East Coast but would like to be able to travel to Stone town

    Thanks

    Jason

    Reply

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