An imposing white-washed building, the once residence of the Zanzibari royalty is now a museum dedicated to archiving the history of Zanzibar’s Sultans. Climb the central staircase and peel off into rooms archiving the sultanate era (1828-1964) with an eclectic mix of leftover furniture, paintings and such like. Each floor represents a different period but make sure to spend time in Princess Salme’s room, who eloped with a German to Hamburg, excerpts from her autobiography Memoirs of an Arabian Princess from Zanzibar provide a fascinating glimpse into regal Stone Town life.
Anyone visiting Zanzibar simply must go on a spice tour, admittedly it’s a well trodden tourist trap, but the experience is well worth it. You’ll taxi out to an interior plantation (many of which are no longer commercially functioning) and a local guide will walk you amongst vanilla pod vines, fields of lemongrass, cumin seed pods and turmeric root. Smell, sample, savour – the experience is a sensual journey into the spices that flavor our food. Look out for my article on Swahili Spices in the upcoming May/June issue of Safari for more information.
Dhow Countries Music Academy
The DCMA is proud to be the guardians of a living cultural heritage and proud to preserve and promote the musical heritage of Zanzibar and the Dhow Countries. In training the students it ensures the continuation, knowledge, and legacy of a unique musical cultural heritage.
Food lovers and culture vultures will love this chaotic market, fringing the old part of Stone Town and spilling out onto side streets from underneath a gabled-fronted awning. Dried squid, barrow-fulls of fresh fruit, packets of spices and meat weighed-out on big brass scales – this is where Zanzibaris come to get their food fix. Visitors can take part in a local cooking class which will include shopping for ingredients at the market beforehand. Look out for my article on Swahili Spices in the upcoming May/June issue of Safari for more information.
Forodhani food market
As the sun sets in Stone Town, locals and tourists alike flock down to Forodhani Gardens on the waterfront, where a nightly food market serves up hot griddles laden with seafood. Quench your thirst with a freshly squeezed sugarcane juice, sample skewers of octopus dipped in tamarind, lobster and crab claw, platters of prawns and Zanzibari pizza (a chapati-type pita bread stuffed with mince meat, egg, mayo, onion & chill).
Sunset Dhow Sail
The iconic dhow is an ancient Arabic sailing vessel, carved out of mangrove timber and flagged with a lateen mainsheet, these graceful boats plyed the trade winds between east Africa, Persia and India for centuries. In fact, they are still built and operate today, although mainly for Indian Ocean fishing and transport. One of Zanzibar’s biggest treats is to set sail aboard a sunset cruise and watch the historic Stone Town shoreline glide-by, while the lights from mainland Dar es Salaam twinkle in the distance.
Old Slave Market/Anglican Cathedral
The Heritage Centre therefore among other things aims at promoting tolerance, reconciliation and an inclusive society, bridging social and ethnic divides by telling the story of this dark chapter in the region’s history in an open and factual way. The creation of the Heritage Centre, and making it accessible to school children, who are the country’s future leaders, is also aimed to promote interfaith and inter-communal dialogue and understanding. Furthermore The Site is an important tourist destination, and by improving visitors’ facilities at the site and making it more informative and stimulating, the tourism industry as a whole will benefit, creating jobs and wealth, and helping to reduce poverty. The Heritage Centre among other things is also benefiting many people as it is a great opportunity to promote interfaith relations in Zanzibar.