Stone Town Tour
Stone Town is the historical center of Zanzibar City, the major city of the island and former capital of the Zanzibar Sultanate. In the 19th century, Zanzibar was a booming base for trading spices and slaves. Today, Stone Town is still a notable historical and artistic city. The old buildings still standing in Stone Town, date mostly from the 19th century. They reflect the influences of the Swahili culture, and the mixture of Arab, Persian, Indian and European elements. The beautiful old city was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.
Walking through the city, you will be able to discover the streets of the old town, learn more about the rich history of Zanzibar and its many influences, be part of the everyday life of the city and notice how different cultures and religions live together in harmony.
The tour starts by visiting the Anglican Church built by Dr. Livingstone at the old slave market location. Some information inside will take you through the incredible life of the Scottish explorer and missionary, from his fight against slavery to his death and heritage. Just next to the Church, you can visit the slave chamber where slaves from East and Central Africa were waiting to be sold at the market.
Walking around the narrow streets of the city, the guide will show you some coralline walls from the 19th and 20th century, old hobnailed doors and wooden balconies. You will pass in front Freddy Mercury’s home, or at least the one local guides claim Queen’s vocalist lived in when he was a child. You will admire the House of Wonders, the old Dispensary, the old Fort and its stone amphitheater, and many other beautiful attractions of the city.
You will also be able to wander around the colorful main market. A great variety of food such as meat, fish, vegetables and spices is sold at this bustling market.
• Walking shoes are recommended.
• Be aware that all tourists must cover their shoulders and knees as a respect to the local beliefs.
The beautiful island of Zanzibar, also known as the Spice Island, offers the possibility of visiting the farmlands just outside of Stone Town. It was the Portuguese traders who brought these spices from South America and India with the intention to have the upper hand with the profitable trading routes to the Far East. Nowadays, the spices provide the flavor to the very unique cuisine of Zanzibar, help to cure to everyday illnesses and supply the dyes and cosmetic products used in local weddings and festivals.
The tour will take you to the village of Kindichi, a small village located 6 km north of Stone Town. Guides will take you on a walking tour of through the village and plantations. He will be picking up leaves and fruits and asking you to guess what they are.
Spice farms in Zanzibar are very different from the ones in Europe or America. Local inhabitants have the belief that plants and trees should grow freely in their natural environment and in a natural way. This system, called Permaculture, can be seen here where all the plants and trees are mixed together. You’ll notice that you can see every different kinds of spice all thought the plantation.
Pretty much all spices that we can find in a kitchen can be found in the farm. You will be able to see natural carpets of clover that close themselves when they are touched, try the fruits of the carambola tree, learn more about the vanilla fertilization technique, and many other spices such as cloves, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, chili, black pepper, lemongrass, nutmeg, etc.
Local farmers will follow you during the tour making hats, rings or flowers from palm tree leaves. A farmer will climb a palm tree up to 30 meters high to show how they pick the coconuts and leaves which they use in everyday life. You will also be able to buy aromatic soaps, perfumes and spices. The profits made from the visits and the sales are used to help the local community, such as funding the school or building infrastructure.
At the end of the visit, you will be offered a traditional Swahili meal cooked using many of the spices that you tried during the visit. Generally, it will consist of Pilau rice and curry, vegetables, fish or meat, and fruits for dessert. You can choose to eat sitting on a blanket like the locals or on benches.
Around the parking area, you will find the Persian baths built by Sultan Seyyid Said in 1850, to honor the contract of marriage with Scheherazade. If you are interested, you can ask your guide to visit the bath for a price of $2.
• Closed shoes are recommended to walk around the farm although you will follow a designated path.
• Bring sun cream.
• There are toilets in the farm.
The Jozani Forest is part of the 50 km² Chwaka Bay National Park. It is the largest area of native forest remaining on Zanzibar, although today it is only a small part of what once covered much of the island. Jozani forest and the wildlife living in it have been protected by the colonial government since 1952.
There are a few endemic animal species living in Jozani forest that makes it a very special attraction for wildlife lovers. The main reason visitors come to Jozani is to see the Red Colobus Monkeys which are unique to Zanzibar archipelago. It is estimated that there are only around 2.500 remaining. Another species that can you can often see in the forest is the blue (Syke’s) monkey.
The tour starts at the park reception where you will meet your guide. There are some boards where you can learn about the history, the fauna and flora of the park. The first part of the visit will take you to see the red colobus monkeys where the adults and babies interact on the trees.
You will visit the tropical forest with its giant trees, while your guide will explain all you need to know about the forest.
At the end of the visit, you will be walking through a mangrove forest where you will learn about different kinds of mangrove trees and the marine life that inhabit these mangroves.
• Closed shoes are recommended to walk in the forest.
• It is possible to buy local food next to the reception area.
• Toilets are available.
Excursions in Zanzibar are offered by small local community enterprises which are not connected directly to Spanish Dancer Divers. Though our driver will be with you all day to attend all your needs and make sure you are having a great time, Spanish Dancer Divers cannot be held responsible for any problem occurred during the tours. If you are happy with your visits you are welcome to tip your guide but remember it is optional and not obligatory.