• Exploring Historic Stone Town - A Guide

    August 6, 2018

    Stone Town - A Guide

    Historic Stone Town is one of Tanzania's most beloved tourist attractions.

    The storied history of Stone Town is every bit as big an attraction as Zanzibar's famous white sand beaches and crystal clear waters. No visit to Zanzibar would be complete without a night (or two) in Stone Town.


    Getting to Stone Town


    Stone Town is home to Zanzibar's only international airport: Abeid Amani Karume International Airport.

    As such, the easiest way to get there is via flights from Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Dar Es Salaam, or even the Serengeti!

    Airlines such as Coastal Aviation, Precision, and FlightLink offer multiple daily flights from a number of airstrips and airports across Tanzania.

    This makes taking a safari from Zanzibar super easy!

    As an international airport, it is also possible to fly to larger international airports such as Nairobi.


    Zanzibar is quite close to the Tanzanian mainland, so it is also possible to take a ferry to Dar Es Salaam.

    With domestic flights to Dar Es Salaam being so cheap, however, it is often easier to simply fly and avoid the hassle of dealing with a crowded public ferry.

    Where to Stay in Stone Town

    Stone Town boasts a wealth of accommodation options for all budgets. From friendly backpacker hostels to luxury five-star resorts, there's something for all walks of life.

    We've highlighted a few of our favourite Stone Town accommodation options below.


    Zenji Guesthouse (Budget)

    Part B&B, part restaurant, and part backpacker hostel, Zenji Guesthouse is a fantastic option for people on a tight budget.

    Boasting a variety of rooms in different styles and price ranges, it is a centrally located property just a few minutes' walk from the Ferry Terminal and popular tourist attractions.

    Recommended For: Backpackers and families on a budget.


    Maru Maru (Medium)

    Home to one of the breathtaking views in all of Stone Town, Maru Maru's rooftop bar, restaurant, and pool is the envy of properties all across the island.

    Maru Maru is a modern hotel that stays true to its Zanzibari cultural heritage, Maru Maru offers the comforts from home with a distinctly African sensibility.

    Their buffet breakfast is to die for too!

    Recommended For: Families and couples.

    Emerson Spice Hotel in Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania

    Emerson Spice (Medium)

    Built in a refurbished former merchant's home, Emerson Spice gives guests the chance to stay in an authentic bit of Zanzibar history while enjoying all of the comforts you'd expect from a top-class hotel.

    One of our most popular hotel options, Emerson Spice offers a variety of room configurations and prices to cater for all kinds of travelers.

    Recommended For: Families and groups.


    Serena Stone Town (Upper Medium)

    The Serena brand can always be relied upon to provide quality service, spacious rooms, and gorgeous grounds.

    A common feature in many Tanzanian safari itineraries, Serena's presence in Stown Town offers up the opportunity to take advantage of their very competitive circuit discount pricing.

    It's also a thoroughly gorgeous lodge in its own right!

    Recommended For: Groups and families.


    Park Hyatt Zanzibar (Luxury)

    The only name in luxury in Stone Town, the gorgeous Park Hyatt Zanzibar proudly embraces its historic roots while also offering world-class luxury service.

    Whether you're staying in a city view room or one of the lavish suites, you've got access to Park Hyatt's world-renowned service, amazing food, and on-site facilities such as an infinity pool, fully equipped gym, souvenir store, and much more.

    Recommended For: Honeymooners and couples.


    Of course, there are plenty of other options when it comes to Stone Town accommodation, but the above are a few of our absolute favourites!

    What to do in Stone Town

    Many visitors to Stone Town use it as a stopping off point between the airport and their Zanzibar beach resort, but they're missing out! Some of the most popular Zanzibar activities can be accessed from right here in the city!


    Stone Town City Tour

    First and foremost is a tour of historic Stone Town's labyrinthine alleys, bustling market bazaars, and historic sites. Our Stone Town tour is a memorable half-day experience that showcases the rich and often dark history of the former Omani territory and independent nation.

    Busy all day? We also offer a Stone Town by night tour!

    Spice Plantation Tour

    Before it was famous for its beaches, Zanzibar was famous around the world as the 'spice island' where so many dishes across the globe got their flavour.

    Today, you can take a Zanzibar spice tour to taste, smell, touch, and even cook with the various herbs, spices, and tropical fruits that are still a staple of the Zanzibari economy. It's a delicious experience!

    zanzibar prison island

    Prison Island

    Located not far from Stone Town, Prison Island is a former prison that now acts as a sanctuary for giant tortoises.

    A Prison Island tour allows you to take a walk back in time while also seeing these gigantic amphibians up close and personal!

    Where to Eat in Stone Town

    With so many of the world's herbs and spices coming from Zanzibar, is it any surprise that the food is exquisite?

    Combine this with the island's melting pot of cultures and you've got a dizzying array of dining options at your fingertips.

    Whether you are craving a little Spanish tapas, a fiery Indian curry, authentic Italian, or you want to sample the local fare, Stone Town's dining scene has got you covered.

    Want to know our favourites?


    The Beach House

    A trendy eatery from the people behind the Park Hyatt Zanzibar, Beach House offers up both African and European cuisine, designer gin & tonic cocktails, and a stunning view of the Indian Ocean to boot.

    Try their paella - it's to die for!

    Puzzle Coffee Shop

    If you've got some time to spare in Stone Town and want to catch up on your emails, Puzzle Coffee Shop offers high speed WiFi, aromatic coffee, and tasty pastries to sate that hunger.

    Located in one of the city's many winding alleys, it's a cute little hidden treasure that local expats swear by.

    Tea House Restaurant

    Stone Town's top restaurant according to TripAdvisor, Tea House is a rooftop restaurant offering up decadent five-course degustation for gourmands and foodies from around the world.

    For those wanting an intimate dining experience, this is the place to be.

    For guests staying at Emerson Spice, this is the restaurant where you'll be doing all of your dining. Not bad!

    Planning Your Stone Town Experience

    Has our Stone Town guide got your attention?

    Get in touch with one of Shadows of Africa's safari experts at to start planning your Stone Town escape!

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  • Five Unmissable Luxury Hotels on Zanzibar

    April 19, 2017

    Zanzibar: The Perfect Luxury Escape

    With its white sand beaches, crystal clear turquoise waters, and spice perfumed beach resorts, Zanzibar has become synonymous with the idea of a once-in-a-lifetime romantic beach escape.

    Accommodation on the Tanzanian island runs the gamut from backpacker hostels to budget-friendly B&Bs to five star luxury resorts,

    While there are options for all walks of life, today we're highlighting five of the most luxurious properties the Tanzanian beach escape has to offer.

    Tulia Zanzibar, Pongwe

    The very definition of a tropical island retreat, green and verdant Tulia is the perfect escape for those wanting privacy while they explore the white sand beach of Pongwe.

    Guests at this all-inclusive resort can expect to get away from the hustle and bustle in their own luxury villa, complete with a Jacuzzi from which to soak it all in and a hammock to relax in after a day spent exploring.

    tulia zanzibar private villa

    While many resorts on Zanzibar offer all-inclusive options, Tulia Zanzibar's differs in that its alcohol selection is not limited to local beers and wines. Guests can indulge in a wide variety of drinks and dishes - ensuring you're spoiled for choice whether you stay for one night or one week.

    tulia zanzibar food all inclusive resort

    For families, Tulia is a special option. The resort is the only one on Zanzibar with water slides, and its beachside location means you'll have access to all of the water sports that you'd expect to find on an island paradise.

    Despite all of these amazing details, our team's favourite element of their time visiting Tulia? The wonderfully warm and welcoming staff!

    tulia zanzibar bath tub

    Tulia prides itself on a high level of personal care, and guests are made to feel like honoured friends rather than being 'just another guest'. It's a welcome addition to the already stellar accommodations.

    tulia zanzibar honeymoon

    Park Hyatt Zanzibar, Stone Town

    Located at the heart of historic Stone Town, the Park Hyatt Zanzibar blends Zanzibar's unique fusion of cultures with modern luxury.

    The perfect base from which to launch your exploration of the city's labyrinthine alleys and bustling marketplaces, the Park Hyatt is also a beachfront property - the perfect middle ground between the city's two biggest attractions.

    park hyatt stone town zanzibar pool

    While designed in a distinctly Zanzibari style that keeps you firmly rooted in the culture you're exploring, rooms boast all of the modern conveniences such as air conditioning, TVs, and bath tubs. The hotel itself has a beauty and massage centre, fully equipped gym, on site shopping, and more.

    For those wanting to experience Stone Town without surrendering luxury, the Park Hyatt is the perfect choice.

    park hyatt zanzibar stone town room

    Star of the East, Nungwi

    For many visitors to Zanzibar, the iconic beaches of Nungwi are the first thing that comes to mind.

    The very picture of island paradise, Nungwi's long stretches of pristine white sand dissolve deliciously into the turquoise waters that seem to stay warm year round.

    While many luxury properties adorn this band of sand like jewels, the Star of the East shines brightest.

    star of the east ungwi zanzibar

    Attached to the famous (and luxurious in its own right) Diamonds La Gemma Hotel, the Star of the East is the property's exclusive luxury retreat.

    Guests enjoy 24/7 butler service in their private villas, each of which comes with sunny terraces and private pools.

    star of the east nungwi zanzibar 2

    An island of calm in the hustle and bustle of the popular Nungwi region, the Star of the East offers privacy with access to the very best that the island has to offer. Guests are free to use the facilities of the nearby Diamonds La Gemma Hotel and then retreat back to the Star of the East.

    A real highlight of the resort is its open air gym and spa. What better way to work on your fitness than out under the dazzling blue skies with the ocean breeze to cool you off?

    star of the east nungwi zanzibar spa

    White Sand Luxury Villas, Paje

    Southeastern Zanzibar isn't quite as popular as the often crowded beaches of the northeast, but Paje Beach draws a lot of its charm from this very fact.

    If your dreams of Zanzibar paint a picture of an isolated beach, starry nights, and the gentle rattle & rustle of palms rather than loud music and laughing children, White Sand Luxury Villas on Paje Beach might be what you're looking for.

    Rather than being just another beach side resort, White Sand seamlessly blends the luxury experience in with the idea of being on the beach. Each of the resort's sunny and breezy private villas has an outdoor shower and bath tub, perfect for washing away the salt and sand beneath starry skies.

    Far away from the touristic Nungwe and Pongwe regions of the island, White Sand compensates for its isolation by giving its guests access to bicycles for exploring the nearby beaches.

    There is also an extensive spa and beauty facility at the resort - including sauna, Turkish baths, massage, beauty services, yoga sessions, and a fully equipped gym.

    For those looking to let their hair down, the resort boasts all of the usual water sports as well as three bars: a cruisy beach bar, a classy lounge, and a rooftop bar perfect for sundowners.


    &Beyond Mnemba Island, Mnemba

    The &Beyond name has become synonymous with luxury, and it's unsurprising that the luxury label has put together something truly remarkable for their Zanzibar property.

    Designed for those wanting a true castaway experience, &Beyond's Mnemba Island property holds just twenty guests and markets itself as the perfect place for those wanting the experience of holidaying on their own private island.

    andbeyond-mnemba-island-17.jpg.1920x810_0_340_10000 andbeyond-mnemba-island-37.jpg.1920x810_default

    It's barefoot luxury: the simple pleasure of feeling the sand between your toes combined with the decadence of private beachside bandas, candlelit walkways, and personalised service the likes of which you won't find elsewhere.

    The island's private house reef and on-site PADI Dive Centre make it a perfect escape for snorkelling and scuba diving enthusiasts, while romantics have the option of private beach dinners, romantic walks, and much more.

    It's a Maldives experience with a distinctly Zanzibari twist.

    zanzibar luxury hotels pinterest

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