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marianne Stonetown - A travel report by Marianne
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Stonetown,  Tanzania, United Republic of - flag Tanzania, United Republic of -  Zanzibar Urban/West
5031 readers

marianne's travel reports

Secret Places and Winding Alleys

  18 votes
Page: 1 2 3 4

Stonetown travelogue picture
Stone Town, or Zanzibar Town, is a warren of narrow twisting streets, bustling markets, bazaars, souvenir shops and touts. Former palaces and Arab mansions bear witness of the grandeur of olden times.

Stone Town is divided into two parts: the old part, the warren of street, the part where you will find tourists and touts. This part is close to the ocean. The demarcation line is Creek Road. To the east of this line there are no tourists. This is the part where the Zanzibaris live in grey, concrete apartment blocks

Favourite spots:
Stonetown travelogue picture
Wandering through the small, darkish streets was a pleasure. ‘Jambo’ hello in Swahili, sounded from everywhere. The first two days I happily greeted all ‘jambo’ by a return ‘jambo’. But soon I found out that only touts said ‘jambo’. It didn’t bother me the first two days but I stayed for over a week and discovered that it is impossible to walk round without being offered transport, a meal, a tour.

Another favourite spot is Forodhani gardens. There is a snack bar that sells drinks and snacks. The view is perfect in front the ocean and when you look round the House of Wonders with its colonnaded front and balconies. Here too touts joined me at my table. Some of them were pleasant to talk with, others only wanted to sell goods or services.

What's really great:
Stonetown travelogue picture
This is seen best when you arrive or leave by ferry. The houses have been beautifully restored. Especially in the light of the setting sun these 19th century buildings look magnificent. One of them is The Old Dispensary this is my favourite. It’s a four storey building and reminds of British colonial architecture in India. It now houses the Stone Town Cultural centre. there is no entry charge and you are free to come in and look round.

Stonetown travelogue picture
Livingstone House on Gulioni Road is the headquarters of the Zanzibar Tourist Corportation. In the 19th century it was used as a rest house for explorers and missionaries, Livingstone was one of them.

A very friendly official welcomed me, fetched the key, switched on the fan and said I could see everything at leisure. The museum consists of one room, dedicated to Livingstone. Photos and text tell about his explorations and life.

If you want to live in luxury and can afford to spend $150 per night the Emerson’s and Greens Hotel on Hurumzi Street is your place. It is an old Zanzibari Mansion, beautifully restored and now a luxurious hotel. It is a mixture of Arab and Indian architecture. The rooms are luxurious, have high ceilings. You will sleep in a traditional Zanzibar four poster called Semandari. The roof top restaurant is a great place to enjoy the sunset while you eat a multi-course dinner.

Stonetown travelogue picture
Florida Guest House
Vuga Road
The four rooms upstairs are larger than the one down stairs. They are elaborately furnished have an en-suite bathroom with hot water. Dont ’forget to switch on the boiler.

Blue Ocean Hotel
East off Kenyatta Road
It is closer to the centre than Florida Guest House. It is in an old building. We had the top room which had views in all direction. It had authentic Zanzibar furniture. The bed was a four-poster with painted headboard.

Stonetown travelogue picture
Radha Food House, next to Karibu Inn and near Forodhani gardens serves excellent Indian vegetarian meals. They have thalis, which consist of rice, curried vegetables, roti and a sweet dessert. Another good choice is their samosas and spring rolls, big portions. They have delicious, perfumed sweets.

Other recommendations:
Stonetown travelogue picture
The Seabus, the ferry to Dar es Salaam has three departure daily: 7 am, 1.00 pm and 2.00 pm.

There is a two tier price system, one for wazungas, we, the tourist and Tanzanian citizens. We pay $35 and they pay Tsh 16.000 (= $16). Harbour tax is included.

The seabus is a catamaran which only takes seated passengers. There are 125 seats in the second class; rows of three seats, five seats, three seats. There are 35 first class seats at $45.

We bought our ticket in advance but there was no need as the ferry was only half full. The crossing takes just under three hours. At Dar es Salaam taxi drivers are waiting. A taxi to a hotel in the centre should not cost more than tsh 2500 / 3000 ($2.50 - $3)

Published on Friday February 27th, 2004

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Mon, Feb 27 2006 - 06:07 PM rating by horourke

Thank you for htis comprehensive introduction to a place about which I knew nothing.
Your ability to find the non-tourist area is very interesting

Sun, May 29 2005 - 07:53 PM rating by rangutan

Fantastic report of a very unusual wayout place.

Wed, May 12 2004 - 05:42 PM rating by whereisliz

This is one of my "dream" places... thanks for sharing your experience, and providing a realistic idea of how it really is. Lots of helpful details and illustrative photos. I admire your spirit of adventure!

Wed, Mar 03 2004 - 04:56 AM rating by downundergal

Great report, I have added this one to my ever increasing wish list.
Echoes of Havana, Cuba with the persistent touts though!
Kerrie (down under gal)

Fri, Feb 27 2004 - 02:47 PM rating by uluru1

Excellent Report,Good detail,particulary the information on prices,always helpful as a Tourist in case they try to charge the"Rich Western" double.

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