Zanzibar Stories and Tips

Exploring Stone Town

Historic Stone town Photo, Zanzibar, Tanzania

We are ready now for the bustle of Stone Town . The 4 nights on the beach gave us the rest we needed but its time to start exploring. The hour or so drive was interesting and took us across the island to our hotel in the middle of old the old city center. We had to park on the seafront and walk the short distance through
the maze of winding streets to our hotel.

City Tour
We paid $40.00 for two for 2.5 hours. Seems a little expensive for a walking tour and we think a few middlemen were paid in the deal. We paid at the hotel and had no receipt.

Our guide,Babou, did a pretty good job though once we got used to his heavy accent.He led us through the old and often dirty maze of streets of Stone Town.We enjoyed seeing the children playing and the locals going about there lives. Some shops were closed due to Ramadan but I managed to find a couple to poke around.

We had a chance to take a look at some of the famous carved doors of Zanzibar. Babou explained the meaning of some of the carved symbols .We saw one door with chains carved down the side. This meant the owner of the house was in the slave trade business.

Our walk took us past St Joseph’s Church . This was a Catholic Church built in the 1800’s.

One of our more interesting stops was at the old slave market . This was a horrifying page in history. We saw two dungeons where as many as 80 men ,women and children were held for 3 days with no food or water awaiting there fate.
Shipped from here to points all over the world and if they survived their journey the cruelty continued. There is a sad little monument out front depicting a family chained together.

Today the Anglican stands on the site. The rather is worn and dirty marble foor in front of the alter is in red white and black marble ,meant to depict the horrors of slavery. Also there is a wooden cross taken from the tree where Livingston’s body was found. It’s a shame the Anglican Church doesn’t provide more funds to maintain such an historically significant building.

We next visited the People’s Food market and believe me its not for the faint of heart. The fish market section is stinky, loud and bloody. When we were there they were dragging a large stingray across the floor. They didn’t welcome pictures here either. The meat market was just as gruesome . I preferred the spice market. It smelled much better.

House of Miracles
It was the first to have lights and running water, hence the name . Today it is a museum. There are some items on display as well as some story boards but for the most part it is a barren structure inside. Outside is a lovely park like area where there is an open food barbecue area after sunset.

Our walk took us past Tiker House. He was the infamous slave trader. Today his house stands in tatters and is inhabited by the cities poorest of poor.

We were excited to see the house that was the birthplace of Freddie Mercury. He actually lived here until he was 15 years old before eventually moving to England. There is a Mercury’s Bar and Restaurant that was unfortunately closed due to Ramadan.

A short walk from here we see the Old Fortress. It really is mostly a ruin and just a walk by. The walls still stand and in the courtyard area are several souvenir shops where venders aggressively harass us to buy.

Although we historic is very compact we were pleased to go on the walk with a guide. We only had a few nights here and it gave us a really good overview.

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