This time, during our trip to Zanzibar, we made it into Stone Town! We just had one day but it was enough. Here’s how we spent that day.
We checked into the Serena Inn (review coming up in a future post) after getting dropped off from Blue Bay Beach Resort (review for that also coming up in a future post). We had the Serena book us a dinner reservation for that night at the Emerson Spice Hotel (you guess it, there will be a review in a future post). We then got a map and started to wander around and explore.
We wandered around the narrow winding streets, popping in and out of stores. It was fun to stroll along, get lost a few times, and find our way back on track. I seriously think that’s part of the fun of Stone Town. If you don’t lose your way at least twice, then you’re doing it wrong.
We stopped for lunch at a tapas place that we randomly found. We saw a sign on Gizenga and followed it into a courtyard. There, we went up some stairs and found our tapas place. It’s right above the Shangani Post Office, if you’re coming in off of Kenyatta Road.
It was a nice leisurely break. The food was great and the drinks were nice and cool on a rather hot day.
Most of the stores are closed from 1 to 4 pm so you may as well sit back and relax during the hottest part of the day. (Some places do stay open for tourists.)
After lunch, we strolled around some more, enjoying the sights, especially the gorgeous doors. We took another break for ice cream—you can get some really great gelato in Stone Town. Then we freshened up back at the hotel.
Heading out later for dinner, we took the scenic route and explored some more, including finding our way to Jaws Corner where many locals hang out to drink coffee and gossip. We didn’t hang out there too long as it really was for locals and we didn’t want to crash their scene.
There’s much more to do in Stone Town and we’ll be sure to explore more when go back, which I am sure we will. But, I have to say I was more than satisfied with the day we spent.
My advice on the shopping:
- Haggle hard but with respect.
- Shop around, you’ll see similar things around town and unless the item is really unique, you don’t want to get it at the first place you see it.
- Stick to the local shops. You’ll get good items and at a good price (after haggling).
- Avoid Memories. It’s a touristy shop that looks like an airport duty free store. The prices there are insanely marked up—it was the most expensive shop we saw and not worth it.
My advice on what to wear:
Zanzibar is a Muslim island. You can wear what you want at the resorts. I suppose to a degree you can wear what you want in Stone Town, but it’s better to be respectful. Also, it gets really, really hot and humid.
I dressed for comfort. I had on a bathing suit as my base layer. For my bottom half I had a thin but not sheer, long, gauzy cotton skirt. For my top half I wore a gauzy cotton kurta. It was perfect. I was covered. I felt like I was wearing nothing yet my skin was protected from the strong sun.
J. wore a pair of his “adventure” pants with the strategically placed gussets and a caplilene shirt from Patagonia. He was also very comfortable.