Travelers looking for an authentic East African experience need look no further than the crowded stalls and narrow passes of Darajani Market. While Darajani is mostly a food-lover’s paradise, with plenty of vendors selling fresh ingredients and homemade delights. Travelers should be prepared to haggle for the best price—particularly on fragrant spices—one of the best souvenirs from a trip to Zanzibar.
Often referred to as Mji Mkongwe—the Swahili word for old town—Stone Town is the oldest part of the Zanzibar and a popular destination for visitors to this incredible island. Visitors can navigate the maze of narrow passes that connect major city streets to the rest of this lively destination on foot or aboard bikes or motos. It’s the perfect way to explore the island’s unique architecture, which includes former palaces, churches, and mosques that date back as far as the early 1800s.
House of Wonders
House of Wonders, which is home to the Museum of History and Culture, is not only the largest—but also the tallest building in Stone Town. Travelers can explore the grounds, which include a traditional Swahili boat, old-world fishing tools, and famous ships, or wander the halls that offer an up close look at traditional garments, historic portraits of royalty and ancient furniture taken from former sultans’ homes. A visit to House of Wonders provides travelers with a window into the local culture and the island’s rich history.
Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park
Travelers who wander the thick forests of this 19-square-mile park will likely spot the indigenous Zanzibar red colobus and families of Skyes monkeys. Travelers say close encounters with these playful creatures are one of the major highlights of any trip to Jozani, and a lucky few may even spot the indigenous Zanzibar Leopard—a wild cat found nowhere else on earth. A well-kept boardwalk that winds through the lush coastal flora makes navigating Jozani’s scenic landscape a breeze.
Mtoni Palace Ruins
This ancient palace on the western shores of Zanzibar was the birthplace of the late Princess Salme and today is among the top destinations for travelers to the island. Travelers can tour the grounds aboard a traditional donkey cart and wander through the Persian baths, main palace and beautiful botanical gardens.
Visitors can wander through what remains of the old reception hall and trace the Omani family footsteps through the palace garden, palace baths and remnant of the royal courtyard.
Old Fort (Ngome Kongwe)
It’s giant stone fortress once protected the city from an outside attack, and it was later used as a prison to house local lawbreakers. Today, the Old Fort has been transformed into a cultural center that caters to tourists interested in exploring the history of the place and purchasing souvenirs like popular paintings and handmade jewelry.
The open-air theater is the perfect spot for travelers to catch a live dance performance or experience the local live music scene. The Old Fort also provides space for major festivals and even has an information desk for travelers in search of tips, advice, and guidance from residents in the know.