The easiest way to get properly lost on Zanzibar: go to Stone Town. Or Zanzibar Town, as it is also called. Just walk in between the old Indian merchants’ houses and Arab palaces, beautiful wooden doors, and wooden lace-carved windowpanes. Notice traffic sounds exchange with laughter of children and shouts of local women and you will already be lost in the maze of alleys and tiny shopping streets. Some are enchanted by Stone Town, as a living monument to the eye of the vortex that Zanzibar was between gold and ivory trade, slave trade, and Indian, Arab, and Portuguese seafarers. While the palaces, the gruesome stories of the slave trade, and the little shops have their appeal, each time I visited I could not wait to escape the noise and the cramped streets for the turquoise blue waters of the beaches. But if you find yourself in Stone Town, do not miss these: the Anglican Cathedral standing on top of the slave market, housing a memorial; the Mnemba Spa shop for souvenirs; the Palace Museum for a peek into the life of a Sultan; the covered, souk-like food market; and the Forodhani Gardens for night-time street food fiesta.
I wish I could tell you more about Stone Town. But it really did not attract me to stay long enough. Go see for yourself – and kindly give me tips of what not to miss next time!
(Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania; August 2017)