Zanzibar’s Stone Town is an exotic, classic multicultural melting pot with a history of multiple cultures embedded in this Indian Ocean port town with a legacy that excites all the senses. Your senses begin to enliven the moment you arrive in Stone Town. You can smell the sea, taste the exotic on the tip of your tongue; cloves, cardamom, pineapples and coconut that ooze softly in the sun. Zanzibar’s flamboyant capital is imbued with cultural piquancy; the passing treads of myriad cultures are evident – Omani, Arabs, Portuguese, British, they all came through here to trade and conquer, explore and trade before an easier passage was gouged through the Suez.
Most flights arrive at the Island’s airport around midday allowing for ample time to check into your place of stay in Stone Town, familiarize with the accommodation facilities before going to one of the local restaurants for sumptuous Zanzibari meal. A guided Stone Town Tour can follow with a gentle walk across the waterfront area where some of the famous buildings are found and sightseeing in & outside of them is both mystical and interesting. If you are staying at Stone Town, you can go back to the hotel for some acclimatization and an afternoon plunge in the hotel’s swimming pool. Around 5:00PM you can link up with the guide for a continued sightseeing walk through the labyrinth streets of central Stone Town’s jumble of gracious old photogenic buildings – while listening to stories such as that of band Queen’s inimitable lead singer, Freddie Mercury who was born on the island in 1946 as Farrokh Bulsara, the son of a Parsi father who worked for the British administration.
After a restful night and breakfast at the hotel, a Spice Farm Tour ideally starts at 9:00AM with a short drive to visit Livingstone House the former residence of Dr. Livingstone – famous explorer and missionary. Thereafter proceed on a drive to the Bububu Area where spices, and exotic fruits are grown. Learn how the spices are cultivated and how they are used and enjoy some freshly prepared meals prepared with spices as well as fresh seasonal fruits such as the Rose Apples, Jackfruit or Guavas. Visit the Mtoni and Maruhubi Palace Ruins on your way back to Stone Town.
An afternoon excursion to Prison (Changuu) Island starting at 3:00PM is exciting most especially for families with children. Prison Island is 20 minutes away from Stone Town by boat and has spectacular coral reefs to enjoy while snorkeling. Visit Llyod Mathew’s architecture of the historic building and the coral rag forest within the Island which is home to duiker antelopes, butterflies and weavers but the long-lasting attraction are the Giant tortoises that shuffle through the trees, with the patience that old age brings them. Originally thought to be from the Comoros Islands and Seychelles, some of these tortoises are said to be over 100 years old. Stately and lumbering, the tortoises have even been known to take children on a ride and they make for great photo opportunities.
An even more captivating option for couples is a Dhow Sunset Cruise which starts at 4:30PM from the seafront of Stone Town. The Dhow Sunset Cruise brings out the Arabian influence on Zanzibar Island. The dhow is a traditional sailing boat of the type used for centuries for carrying cargo between Zanzibar and the Arabian Gulf. The dhow has been converted into a beautifully restored sailing vessel which will give you an insight into the real Zanzibar. Explore the beautiful coastline by gliding through the translucent blue azure waters. The Dhow Sunset Cruise gets to be magical when Stone Town grows faint in sight in a faraway distance. The beautiful ocean and cool breeze will enliven your spirit, an awe-inspiring moment that is bracing and rekindling.
A mid-morning visit to Jozani Forest towards the south of the island, is a wonder and delightful hands-on experience with tales of extinct Zanzibar leopards, the trees medicinal cures and stunning scenery when walking through the nature trail, lined with mostly eucalyptus and mahogany trees. The forest is home to a number of endemic species, including the Zanzibar Red Colobus Monkey. Your guide will take you on a nature trail, explain the medicinal properties of various plants and tell you about the animals, birds and reptiles that make their home in the various habitats of this tropical rainforest. A scenic drive further south leads to the Kizimkazi Village where you can see the local Zanzibari village life, learn about their livelihood activities and enjoy a tasty lunch meal. An optional afternoon Dolphin Tour can be enjoyed before returning to Stone Town.