Zanzibar TownTanzania

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Visit Zanzibar Town

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

4/5Very Good!(165 area reviews)

Stone Town is known for its ample dining options, and you can make a stop by Shangani Beach and Christ Church Cathedral while in the area.

Stone Town

Top Hotels in Zanzibar Town

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Park Hyatt Zanzibar
Park Hyatt Zanzibar
5 out of 5
Shangani Street, Stone Town, Zanzibar Town
$300
per night
Feb 22 - Feb 23

Located in Stone Town, this beachfront hotel is in the historical district and within a 10-minute walk of Old Fort, Forodhani Gardens, and House of Wonders. ...

4.8/5Exceptional! (128 reviews)

"Our stay was very pleasant and comfortable. Staff were very friendly and helpful."…"

Reviewed on Jan 6, 2020

Park Hyatt Zanzibar
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Zanzibar - Stone Town
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Zanzibar - Stone Town
4 out of 5
90 / 90A Shanghani, Zanzibar Town
$115
per night
Feb 25 - Feb 26

Located in Stone Town, this beach hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Old Fort and Forodhani Gardens. Christ Church Cathedral and Prison Island are also within ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (326 reviews)

"Quiet location just off the main drag. Outstandingly friendly and attentive staff offering great service"…"

Reviewed on Jan 24, 2020

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Zanzibar - Stone Town
Tembo House Hotel & Apartments
Tembo House Hotel & Apartments
4 out of 5
Forodhani Street, Zanzibar Town
$96
per night
Feb 10 - Feb 11

Located in Stone Town, this beachfront hotel is in the city center and within a 5-minute walk of Old Fort and Forodhani Gardens. House of Wonders and Christ ...

4.1/5Very Good! (333 reviews)

"This property is perfectly located in stone town. The room was spacious and the decor was authentic and in keeping with the history of the city. The breakfast buffet was really good. We recommend staying at this hotel."…"

Reviewed on Nov 17, 2019

Tembo House Hotel & Apartments

Popular things to do in Zanzibar Town

Shangani Beach
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Shangani Beach

3.5/5(6 reviews)

Nothing says vacation like spending a lazy day at Shangani Beach, a popular beach in Zanzibar Town. Check out the shops and top-notch restaurants in this walkable area.

Slave Market
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Slave Market

4.5/5(77 reviews)

An Anglican cathedral now stands on this site where slaves once suffered before being sold into harsh servitude.

Forodhani Gardens
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Forodhani Gardens

4/5(49 reviews)

Relax in this scenic tree-filled oceanside park that transforms into a lively and busy seafood market after the sun goes down. 

Old Fort
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Old Fort

4/5(64 reviews)

Browse the stalls of the courtyard market and attend festivals in the amphitheater in the oldest site in the historic center.

Christ Church Cathedral
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Christ Church Cathedral

4/5(43 reviews)

Admire the coral stone design and see the museum and memorial of this church that was built to celebrate the end of slavery.

House of Wonders
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House of Wonders

3.5/5(29 reviews)

See one of the early buildings of Zanzibar’s modern development, with wide verandas overlooking the ocean and relics from the late 1800s.

Top activities in Zanzibar Town

Zesty Zanzibar Small-Group Tour with Lunch
Image for Zesty Zanzibar Small-Group Tour with Lunch

Zesty Zanzibar Small-Group Tour with Lunch

$41

Get off the beaten track and embark on a food adventure on one of the famous “Spice Islands”—Zanzibar. Meet local people, see native farming techniques in action, visit textile workshops, and finally sit down to a tasty lunch as you appreciate this authentic experience.

Half-Day Stone Town Tour
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Half-Day Stone Town Tour

$40

Get to know Zanzibar's diverse cultural fabric among the 19th-century buildings of Stone Town, the island's UNESCO World Heritage Site. As you visit landmarks such as the House of Wonders, the Sultan's Palace, and the Darajani Market, discover how the city reflects a rich mix of global influences.

Menai Bay Sailing Day Trip with Snorkeling & Lunch
Image for Menai Bay Sailing Day Trip with Snorkeling & Lunch

Menai Bay Sailing Day Trip with Snorkeling & Lunch

$175

Step aboard a traditional dhow for a sailing adventure in the turquoise waters of Menai Bay. As you soak up the Indian Ocean breeze, snorkel surrounded by uninhabited islands, try your hand at paddling a ngalawa canoe, catch sights of incredible marine life, and feast on a seafood lunch.

Half-Day Tour of Prison Island
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Half-Day Tour of Prison Island

$40

Travel to Prison Island, known locally as Changuu, for a tour of this tropical wonderland. The island's most famous inhabitant, a 192-year-old tortoise, wanders the island and may be available for a photo session.

Zanzibar Full-Day Excursion
Image for Zanzibar Full-Day Excursion

Zanzibar Full-Day Excursion

$626

Leave the hustle of the city behind and venture to the archipelago of Zanzibar. Walk the path where sultans, slaves, and explorers once set foot and meander through Stone Town, a UNESCO Word Heritage Site.

SPICE TOUR
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SPICE TOUR

$50

Itinerary This is a typical itinerary for this product Stop At: Kizimbani, Tanzania The tour will start at Kizimbani Spice farms, where we shall explore together the Zanzibar's cloves, nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon, pepper, cardamom and other spices, medicinal and ornamental plants, as well as tropical fruits attracted traders across the Indian Ocean.

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Zanzibar Town

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From the hot springs of Japan to the forests of Zanzibar, here are some of the best places in the world to see wild monkeys.