I based this walking route through Stone Town on my last trip that included Zanzibar, Tanzania. Visiting Stone Town, we wanted to experience a little bit more through the eyes of a local. We browsed online for a free walking tour, paid walking tours and Airbnb Experiences, but unfortunately we weren’t able to find something that sounded appealing to us (and within our price range).
After some online research, we created our own walking route. When we were heading to the Forodhani Gardens, a tour guide from a tour company walked up to us and tried to sell us a walking tour. It was his lucky day, as we decided to go with him as we didn’t always feel comfortable when discovering the maze by ourselves. This tour did cost us around $20 a person (private and 1,5 hours). To us, this is definitely worth it, as we received some information about the history and we walked around more comfortable.
However, discovering Stone Town by foot is still the best – and only – option and it is surely doable by yourself. Therefore, I’ll share this “Walking Route through Stone Town, Zanzibar” with you to inspire you when visiting Stone Town.
Broadly, below there is an overview of the different highlights we passed. We did walk more of the maze Stone Tfown is and didn’t walk the exact path that is stated below. I would advise you to sometimes just wander before you look for the next part of the route.
Start at the square where the food stalls are placed in the evening. This is one of the central points in Stone Town and the point where we actually had our tour guide walking up to us, in case you decide to continue the tour with some guidance instead of by yourself 😉
The House of Wonders is one of the most prominent buildings in Stone Town. The house did host the Museum of History, however, the building is closed because of disrepair. This also means you shouldn’t expect too much, as it is severely broken down.
Our guide took us past the Emerson Spice Hotel and recommended the dining experience (Emerson Spice Tea House or Emerson Spice on Harumzi). Online, we already read about this experience that can’t be missed, so we decided to book straight away (check out the website for more information). I can’t recommend it more, so if you are passing during the day, don’t forget to make that reservation!
The Swahili House is a hotel, but, with a rooftop! This rooftop is also the reason the walking route brings you here, as it rewards you with nice views over the whole city. You can also spot the Zanzibar Coffee House from the rooftop – a nice place to go for a coffee later.
The most local part of the walk! You’ll exit the maze and walk into a local market where they sell fruit, veggies and of course: spices. They will try to sell you spices for touristy prices, but else, just soak it in and enjoy the experience.
Definitely have a quick peek at the fish market. Be warned: it SMELLS. I don’t know if you will like fish better after your visit, but it is an experience for sure.
Close to the market, you’ll find the slave chambers, that zoom in on the horrible history. Visiting the slave chambers give you an impression of how the slaves were kept.
Entry fees to the former hammam (hamamni) baths are around €5. However, we liked the streets better than actually spending our time inside of these sights, so we decided to just walk on.
Our guide brought us to a small look-through that shows how different cultures and religions live closely together in Stone Town. Aren’t these pictures great?!
Next on the list is Jaws Corner. A man-only square where locals come together to hang out and play games. Because of this, we just quickly passed together with our guide, because we felt out of place straight away. No girls allowed.
You might know that Freddie Mercury grew up on Zanzibar., which leads to the presence of Freddie Mercury’s house in Stone Town. When you are a massive fan, you’ll probably want to enter or pass this place.
Lastly, enter the old fort. The oldest building of Stone Town and seen as a massive tourist attraction. It is now seen as a cultural center and you’ll find several tourist stalls.