by Chris
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.

Are you planning a trip to Zanzibar's historic stone town? Here's the ultimate guide to Stone Town for your Tanzania trip! #zanzibar #stonetown #tanzania #travel #africa


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!

Heading to Zanzibar on your Africa trip? Here's what to do in Zanzibar Stone Town: the ultimate guide and itinerary! #stonetown #zanzibar #africa #tanzania #travel

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!

Are you interested in an African safari?

Contact one of our safari experts and we will tailor-make a safari for you!