Collected by Kerry John-Davis , AFAR Contributor
A cooking pot of Arabic, Asian, European, and Swahili cultural influences, Zanzibar boasts the World Heritage–listed Stone Town, which echoes with the grandiose atmosphere of a bygone era. The water here is dotted with emerald-blue islands sporting dazzling white beaches and vast coral reefs. The spice-infused cuisine, antique curio shops, and laid-back culture are alluring to travelers from all over the world. Zanzibar is the epitome of exotic.
“Oh, look, it's a spicy chicken innit?” Ali T exclaims in a rather ridiculous cockney accent as he points at a hen scurrying amongst the foliage. My son belly laughs excitedly, he has actually managed to make a spice tour exciting for a four year...
Suicide Alley, Zanzibar, Tanzania
The crumbling architecture of Stone Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the town’s carved doors are one of its most recognizable features. I spent a lot of time searching for the door of Swahili merchant Tippu Tip, a notorious 19th-century...
Tharia St, Zanzibar, Tanzania
My guide leads me underground into a dark, damp, stone-walled holding cell which, I am told, was reserved for women and children only. The atmosphere is oppressive and stifling and my mind wanders to imagine what these poor souls must have felt,...
andBeyond Mnemba Island, Zanzibar, Tanzania
This lodge offers a private island stay, paired with the option of experiencing the Swahili architecture, music, and culture of Stone Town (Zanzibar’s main town, 20 minutes from Mnemba by boat plus a 90-minute drive). Ten...
Sokoku St, Zanzibar, Tanzania
If you step off the ferry in Stone Town and don't know anything about Zanzibar, the House of Wonders (or Beit al-Ajab, as it's also known) has you covered. Just a few steps away from the ferry terminal, you'll get a crash course in Swahili...
Shangani St, Zanzibar, Tanzania
This place is just bursting with character, a beautiful grand building set amongst the cultural fusion of architecture, labyrinth of streets and rickety mildewed colonial buildings of central Stone Town. As you walk in through the grand front...
Nungwi Beach, Tanzania
You could easily pick from any number of dive schools on Zanzibar's pristine coastline to take you under the turquoise waters and view its dazzling coral reefs and abundant sealife. But I couldn't imagine being in better hands than with Tammy and...
Mizingani Road, Opp. Mizingani Seafront Hotel, Zanzibar, Tanzania
Enroll in an afternoon class at the Dhow Countries Music Academy and learn how to play taarab music—a blend of Swahili poetry and Egyptian, Indian, Indonesian, and Western sounds. The instruments played include the violin, cello, oud, qanun...
Zanzibar City, Tanzania
If you travel anywhere in East Africa, you’ll become acquainted with the women’s garment known as kanga: a bolt of cloth worn any number of ways and featuring a Swahili proverb printed along the bottom. Zanzibari kanga are well-known all over the...
Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania
As easy as it would be to spend an entire trip to Zanzibar lazing around on soft-sand beaches, it’s well worth skipping an hour or two of sunbathing to see Stone Town, the ancient district of Zanzibar. With its narrow cobblestoned streets,...
Chumbe Island, Zanzibar, Tanzania
I had the pleasure of ending my time in Tanzania with a trip to Chumbe Island, just off the coast of Zanzibar. This tower, called the Lighthouse, is the biggest structure. But there are several wonderful open-air bungalows that you can book for a...
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