Located in Zanzibar City on Unguja Island, Stone Town is a historic trade centre steeped in beautiful architecture and fascinating stories. It proudly boasts the title of World Heritage Site, and is rich in both Swahili and Islamic culture.
While many know Stone Town as the birthplace of iconic British singer Freddie Mercury, those who have visited will no doubt recognise the greater artistic significance of the oldest town in Zanzibar. Most of its architecture dates back to the 19th century, and reflects a unique mix of Arab, Persian, Indian and European influence.
Think winding lanes, minarets, carved doorways and landmarks the likes of an abandoned Persian bathhouse, former slave chambers, an old fort and the site of what was once an ornate sultan’s palace. A walking tour through Stone Town is a great way to explore these sites, as well as to engage with the locals as much as possible.
If you’re an avid market-goer and prepared to brave the chaos and crowds, a stop-off at Darajani – Zanzibar’s main market – is well worth including. Try to go early in the morning (when everything is still fresh), and treat your senses to a feast of everything from colourful spices and fresh fish to intricately crafted homeware and traditional garb.
If you’re planning on staying in Stone Town for a few days, spoil yourself to a stay at the Emerson Spice – a unique hotel consisting of three adjoining World Heritage site buildings. The boutique hotel hosts guests in stylishly furnished rooms structured around an airy central courtyard, and boasts one of Stone Town’s most renowned restaurants (The Tea House).