Zanzibar Town

Travel Guide
Forodhani Gardens
Take trips to the surrounding islets and learn about the former slave markets and prisons in the impressive old Stone Town.

Zanzibar City is a historic cultural hub on the island of Unguja. It is the capital city of its namesake archipelago, with most of its exceptional structural treasures in the Stone Town historic district. Learn about the island culture and former slave trade in the museums and ecclesiastical buildings here.

The oldest structure in the historic center is the Old Fort, which dates back to the late 17th century. Marvel at the tall, brown walls and enter the courtyard for the artisanal market. Attend a film festival here and learn about the fort’s use over the years as a prison and tennis club.

Adjacent is Forodhani Gardens, a pretty park overlooking the Indian Ocean. Visit at night for stalls selling a range of Zanzibar culinary specialties. Try the local crepe-like version of pizza alongside potato ball soup and omelets.

Among the Stone Town highlights is Christ Church Cathedral. Snap photos of the intriguing coral stone design and visit the museum to learn about slavery. The church was built to commemorate the abolition of slavery on the location of the old slave market. For a more modern side of the city, explore the Ng’ambo district.

Visit from June through September for the driest months. Be ready for immense tropical rainfall in April and May. Temperatures are warm to hot year-round, providing ideal sunbathing conditions on Shangani Beach. Take a ferry to one of the surroundings islets, such as Chapwani Island, Chumbe Island and Kwale Island. Prison Island is a former slave prison and quarantine station.

The city is on the western coast of the main island in the Zanzibar archipelago. Fly to Zanzibar’s international airport or arrive at Dar es Salaam Airport on the Tanzania mainland and take the 90-minute ferry to Zanzibar. Get around by rental car or taxi. Nearby landmarks include Kichwele Forest Reserve, Tumbatu Island and Tele Island.

Zanzibar City has a fascinating blend of historical artifacts and cultures in its exceptional Stone Town district.

Where to stay in Zanzibar Town

Old Fort

Stone Town

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Stone Town is known for its abundant dining options, and you can plan a trip to Slave Market and House of Wonders while you're in town.

Stone Town