Travel/Lifestyle: Stone Town, Zanzibar –  a step back in time

dhow2Like legendary Timbuktu or Kathmandu – the name alone is almost reason enough to make the trip.

Exotic Zanzibar is a maze of narrow streets, winding alleys, bustling bazaars, crooked passages and crumbling houses with overhanging balconies. But there is romance a plenty on this island with collectible antiques, local wood carvings, spice market and historical hotels.

but then there's this hotel - the Manta Resort if you're looking for James Bond type experience of staying underwater.
but then there’s this new under water hotel – the Manta Resort if you’re looking for a James Bond type experience…and who isn’t?

Zanzibar Door 3From Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, we boarded a ferry boat to lengendary Zanzibar and spent the day wandering around exotic old Stone Town.  The name is appropriate considering all the old stone walkways.Zanzibar Window 2Zanzibar window 1

Stone Town is the old city and cultural heart of Zanzibar where little has changed in the last 200 years (except for the hotel above). The original owners of the many grand Arab houses vied with each other over the extravagance of their dwellings. This one-upmanship is particularly reflected in the brass-studded, carved, wooden doors – there are more than 500 different examples of this handiwork. You can spend many idle hours and days just wandering through the fascinating labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways. The symbol of Zanzibar is the dhow boat (photo above).  Many of these boats can be seen along the shores ferrying people around the island and taking fishermen out for the day’s catch.

Stone Town was recently and deservedly declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.Zanzibar fruit stand

The market is a great place to visit even if you don’t want to buy anything. It is a vibrant place where everything under the sun is bought and sold. People bring their produce here from all over the island, and other people come to buy things they can’t get in their own villages. Of special interest is the huge selection of brightly coloured kangas (worn by the local women, it is a rectangle of pure cotton cloth with a border all around it, printed in bold zanzibar1designs and bright colours) and the auctions that are held regularly.  I brought back many colourful striped scarves and two chunky neckpieces not normally my style (shown here in photos).

a chunky turquouse/coral/amber neckpiece
old turquoise/coral/amber choker


Zanzibar – an Island Tour:

Source: and the book called “1,000 places to see before you die” – a traveler’s life list by Patricia Schultz.

 A MAZE ing!
A MAZE ing!

 Have you been?


Photos: Lisa King (except for Manta Resort).

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