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Beach paradise meets vibrant culture and history in old Zanzibar

Bustling Stone Town is a feast for the senses; wander the labyrinth of alleyways to discover intricately carved doorways and crumbling colonial buildings, and breathe in the perfume of spiced tea and kebabs grilling away in the vibrant bazaars strewn around town.

Feel the sea breeze wafting in from the glittering swell of the Indian Ocean and hear the distinct melody of the call to prayer from a beautifully crafted mosque.

Known as Mji Mkongwe (Old Town) in Swahili, Stone Town is the historic quarter of Zanzibar City, the main city and former capital of the Zanzibar Sultanate. The town was a crucial port in the 19th century, and the centre of the spice and slave trades during the island's time as a British protectorate.

It's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with strong east African heritage and artistic significance. The town's incredible array of architectural gems arose from an eclectic mix of Arabic, Persian, Indian, European and Swahili influences. 

There’s plenty to see and do in Stone Town: contemplate history at the Old Fort (now home to an art gallery), learn about the former sultans of Zanzibar at the Palace Museum, and visit a variety of significant religious sites, bearing witness to the peaceful coexistence of a multitude of faiths on the island.

Pay a sobering visit to the former Slave Market at the UNESCO museum, or take a day trip out to Prison Island where rebellious slaves and quarantined yellow fever patients were once held. Today, the island is home to a sanctuary for endangered giant tortoises.

Zanzibar is also a great destination for hungry safari trippers looking for a foodie adventure. Tuck into coconut bread and garlic chapattis at the Forodhani Gardens Food Market, sip on authentic east African coffee at the award-winning Zanzibar Coffee House, and watch lively bartering at Darajani Market’s fish auction.

Get lost in the maze of gorgeous alleyways and you may come across a Persian bathhouse, palace ruins, a colourful market, or even Freddie Mercury’s house. Let your senses take the lead as you navigate this charming old town of Zanzibar.

Call us on +44 117 313 3300 to start planning your holiday, we’re looking forward to hearing from you


Best times to go to Stone Town

Zanzibar experiences two rainy seasons (March to May and November to December), with the former long rains being a bit of a dampener if you’re looking for time on the island’s beaches. However, the second rainy season brings only short downpours which can be refreshing in the heat. The rains can deter some visitors to the island so you could end up having a beach all to yourself. If you're visiting in February, be sure to check out Sauti za Busara, a fantastic Swahili music festival hosted by Stone Town every year.

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Zanzibar Holidays Featuring Stone Town

Stone Town features in our Luxury Kenya & Zanzibar Holiday, with a whole day to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site at your leisure. To make the most of your time, we recommend taking a guided walking tour of the historic quarter, with a half-day trip to Prison Island as well. If you'd prefer to spend more time in Stone Town, or if you'd like to add Stone Town to your tailor made luxury Zanzibar holiday, our friendly Travel Specialists will happily arrange this for you. 

Call us on +44 117 313 3300 to start planning your holiday, we’re looking forward to hearing from you


Talk to the team

Find out more and tailor your perfect trip with the help of
our specialist team on +44 117 313 3300