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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 27, 2019
Headline for The 7 Best Things to do in Stone Town, Zanzibar – How to experience Stone Town
Joanna James Joanna James
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The 7 Best Things to do in Stone Town, Zanzibar – How to experience Stone Town

Filled with vibrant markets, children in traditional clothes and colonial buildings; setting foot it Stone town will make you feel like you've been transported in to a totally different time period.


Palace Museum

Built during the latter part of the 19th century, this was the palace that used as the permanent residence of the Sultan's family. It was one of the buildings that were completely destroyed in 1896 during the Anglo Zanzibar war. It was renovated and named as the People's Palace during the Zanzibar revolution in 1964. In 1994 it was turned in to a museum that showcased the history of the Zanzibari royal family.


Darajani Markets

This is a great place to watch local fisherman bring in their catch for the day and sell it off at the best price they can find it. In most cases you'll be the only foreigner, making it the ideal place to learn about the day to day life of the locals. If the noise of the fish market isn't your cuppa tea there's still plenty more to see as the market is full of shops selling fresh baked goods, vegetables, fruits, meat and spices for absurdly cheap prices. The best time to visit this market is at about 5 pm when the traders that operate during the day are closing up their shops and the night traders start setting up their stalls for the busy night ahead.


Old Fort

Also known as the Arab Fort, the Old Fort is one of Stone Town's main attractions. The fort was initially built in 1699 by Omani Arabs after they expelled the Portuguese invaders. It operated as a prison and garrison during the 19th century and operated as the railway terminal for the Zanzibar railways 1945-28. The venue was further developed over the years to include features like the ladies' club, an amphitheatre, curio market and an art gallery.


Prison Island

Visiting Prison Island is one of the most popular excursions among tourist who staying at one of the Zanzibar beach resorts in the league of The Residence Zanzibar. You don't have to book in advance as you can easily find a tour guide to take you on this excursion while visiting the Old Fort. The excursion includes a boat ride, snorkelling equipment to dive in to the water around the island and entry to see the island main attraction- the giant tortoises.


Forodhani Gardens

Located near the sea, the Fordhani gardens is an open-air food market that you should definitely visit as many times as you can if you're a foodie. The market is made up of a large variety of stalls selling different types of Zanzibar cuisine. Coconut bread, Zanzibar pizza, grilled cassava, garlic chapatti and roasted corn are some of the dishes that you should watch out for.


Slave Market

Another must visit the place on this list, the Slave market in Stone town is a museum that is funded by UNESCO. While the tour itself will cost only USD 5, the information provided by the tour guides is absolutely priceless. Make sure to visit the slave chamber that is located right under the gift shop, this will help you get a deeper understanding of the Slave market.


Freddy Mercury's House

The lead singer of the iconic British band, Queen, Freddy Mercury was born and raised in Zanzibar. Freddy Mercury, whose real name was Farrokh Bulsara was born in Stone Town in 1946. His father was an employee of the British Colonial service in Zanzibar before the entire family moved to the UK and the rest is history. While the house is not open for the public, visitors can still see the exterior of the house where one of the world's greatest musicians were born.

  • A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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