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“A complex old town with a great atmosphere” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Stone Town, Zanzibar

Stone Town, Zanzibar
| Zanzibar, Stone Town, Zanzibar City, Tanzania
254720650869
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$37*
and up
Ranked #2 of 29 things to do in Stone Town
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
96 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“A complex old town with a great atmosphere”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2012

Stonetown is only small but could be daunting to the uninitiated. The small alleyways seemingly disappear into a labyrinth of houses and shops. An interesting mixture of Arab, African and European cultures blend to make this a unique place.

Visited November 2012
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Christchurch, New Zealand
Level Contributor
27 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Recommend Walking Tour”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2012

My husband and I went on a guided walking tour of Stone Town. We took in the markets, the maze of streets, and street vendors, historical buildings, and of course the site of the old slave market. This was a slow paced tour suitable for any level of fitness and so interesting. It was a half day tour and we were the only two with our guide so felt that we had a more personal experience. Stone Town is run down and dirty but has so much history and we felt reasonably safe when we returned again without our guide. We were ripped off in the street markets as we are not good at bargining and ended up paying double what things cost in the actual tourist stores and at the Hotel, it left a bad taste in our mouth when one of the street vendors laughed at us as we walked away. Never again will we attempt to bargin. Appart from that we really enjoyed our stay in Stone Town, would we return yes.

Visited September 2012
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Level Contributor
70 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 139 helpful votes
“Not disappointed!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2012

A huge bewildering confusing maze of filthy beyond comparelanes with hundreds of zooming motorcycles mixed with pedestrains shuffling ankle deep in trash, garbage and debris thrown down from the last 100 years of occupation. Nothing is picked up...everything is discarded on the spot!
Flies, rotting fruit, smoke, traffic, fish markets, vegetable tables, filthy citizens, snotty- nosed children, shifty eyed hanger on's all comprise the Stone Town scene. Just another African town which are mostly open air septic tanks, but with a stunning view of the Indian Ocean. Don't buy anything, just take photos. The Curio Shop is a huge building of cheap Indian exports of everything from yesteryear without prices so that the haggleing can begin.
Stone Town is wonderful!!!!!!!

Visited October 2012
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East Grinstead, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
20 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Colourful!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2012

How to describe Stone Town? Colourful, noisy, eclectic population, faded glamour. A town you will either love or hate. I visited here with my husband as part 3 of our honeymoon in Tanzania and we loved it. Its not a place I would want to stay for more than 2-3 days but its worth a visit. It is a small town of narrow streets. We were told that we would need a guide to find our way around. Not true. The main area of the town is very small and once you have a map and your bearings is easy to explore and you would miss a lot with a guide who charge inflated prices.The streets nearest to the beach are mostly lined with the usual shops of goods aimed at tourists. Mostly quite tacky and we suspected probably not made in Zanzibar or even Tanzania! There are a few exceptions. One being a womens co-operative that make patchwork cushion covers and throws and a few clothes. Another being a small carpenters two streets in towards the town from the Big Tree. It is a tree and is marked on the map as such. As you wander the streets away from this area it turns into streets of shops for the local Muslim population ending with the colourful, noisy, bustling daily market. Well worth a wander. A short walk from the market and worth a visit is the site of the slave market and chambers. A very moving experience. If you want to relax and people watch. Get a cold drink and sit on the beach in front of the Tembo Hotel watch a ferry either being loaded or unloaded. It has to be seen to be believed! At night visit the roof bar at Africa House for a cocktail and watch the sunset. Get there early. Enjoy!

Visited November 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
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Toronto
Level Contributor
108 reviews
45 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“Fascinating Town with original architecture”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2012

Spent 3-1/2 days in Stone Town and very glad we spent this long. Often people only drop in for a day but it deserves more. It's not that you can't walk around the town (it's a World Heritage Site) and see its unique architectural styles with influences from Arabs, Indians, Portugues and modern Tanzanian in a day, but it takes a day or two to be able to find your way around, drop into the many good eating establishments, enjoy the multitude of shops with goods from all over Tanzania. Also the people of Stone Town are so friendly, welcoming, happy and helpful that it's a joy to be there for a while. Then the ambience can be truly enjoyed.

Visited November 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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