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Published: December 29th 2011
Stone Town is one of the most amazing places and we couldn’t get enough of it. The old town takes you back in history at least a few hundred years. Nothing has changed since it is now a world heritage site and for good reason. Stone Town is the heart of Zanzibar and is surrounded by the clear blue/green sea, narrow streets, high buildings and multicultural people which gives it an own charm to this place. We were walking through a maze to find the right exit and every wrong turn is leading to something fantastic – awesome spices paradise, colorful cloths’ shop, tasty restaurants, an interesting and crowded night food market and absolutely amazing view towards the crystal clear sea. Of course it is quite touristic and especially around Christmas but it is possible to find some quietness were just locals are around. Our stay in this paradise has been fantastic because our dear friends came over from Europe to visit us and travel together through Africa for two weeks.
We have made sure to visit busy morning/day market which is really crowded but it is able to get quite fresh vegetables, bread and all kind food. To walk
through the market small streets and your eyes will be feed by many different colors and impressions. On one corner you’ll see and smell fish seller, on other you’ll see colorful spices, your eyes and nose will be attracted by fresh bread on the bicycles (but the pollution is high in the Stone Town so we don’t know how good to eat this bread), don’t go by without trying some fresh exotic fruits which is delicious and what is best of this walk – nobody bothers you and you’ll be one of the locals.
The interesting night food marker is something that you have to experience by yourself. Imagine a whole green garden by a dark sea with all kind of BBQ in the night time. The garden is lit up by many candles and BBQ lights, and if you’ll be lucky the moonlight will show you the way through the crowd. You will be able to get everything from grilled vegetables to sea food, and all kind of meat. Unfortunately we experienced that the food isn’t really fresh and quite pricy since you can get same food for half price in the day time but always you can
discuss about the price and you should do as well. We have seen many tourists who have no idea what a price of meat would cost and they have paid at least ten times more than locals. It is quite touristic but you’ll see many locals around as well. The locals are coming around to see the tourists around and many beach boys will try to sell all kind of services such boat, snorkeling, town walking, spices trips etc. However the atmosphere is nice but you’ll be a little annoyed by food and other service sellers since they will try to sell you whole table of food for “a good price” or a tour which is a bad price but you won’t have idea if you have just arrived to Zanzibar.
The whole of Stone Town is a photographer’s paradise, with some crystal clear beaches, glorious sunsets, colorful cloths and the Arabic locals relaxing throughout the hot days. It is easy to spend the whole time looking through the photo camera but spending some time simply wandering and getting lost in the alley ways is a must, the old town is just amazing and for us one of the
most unique we have seen. You’ll be able to try delicious multicultural spicy food in the small but cozy restaurants and maybe follow the sun to go down the horizon.
But Stone Town is only a small part of Zanzibar and the whole island has so much to offer but instead of heading straight to the beaches it is more than worth your while to linger in the alley ways for a few days and step back in time and see how it was when the spice trade was full in force.
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