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10 things to do near Zanzibar Airport

Stone town of Zanzibar, also known as Mji Mkongwe (Swahili for ‘old town’), is the old part of Zanzibar Island, the main city of Zanzibar, in Tanzania

Stone Town is a city of prominent historical and artistic importance in East Africa. Its architecture, mostly dating back to the 19th century, reflects the diverse influences underlying the Swahili culture, giving a unique mixture of Arab, Persian, Indian, and European elements. 

For this reason, the town was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.Due to its heritage, Stone Town is also a major visitor attraction in Tanzania, and a large part of its economy depends on tourism-related activities.

Are you planning your vacation to Zanzibar and looking for the best things to do in Stone Town? Talk to our Expert 

For all your accommodation need:  info@serengetitrips.com and WhatsApp/Call: +255 717 590 565 – Best Prices guarateed.

The Zanzibar Archipelago lies in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Tanzania. It’s made up of 3 main islands (Unguja, Pemba and Mafia), plus a number of smaller islands. Unguja, the largest island is what most people talk about when they refer to Zanzibar.

The capital of Unguja is Zanzibar City, and the most famous section of Zanzibar City is called Stone Town and this is where you will find most of the tourist hotels. The other part of Zanzibar City is called Ng’ambo which literally means ‘the other side’ and the two are divided by Creek Road. You still with me?

10 things to do near Zanzibar Airport

This is a 3 hours historical walking tour operated by Serengeti Trips Tanzania. This tour is the best way to learn more about Zanzibar peoples and culture because you will have a friendly and Professional Local Tour Guide who will explain things in detail. 

You can book a Stone Town tour whether you stay in Stone Town or outside the Stone Town. For those tourists who are staying outside of stone town, we will prepare a private return transport from their Hotel. 

House Of Wonders

Also known as Bayt el Ajaib in Arabic, this was the first largest building to be built in Zanzibar in 1883 by the Sultan Barghash bin Said al-Busaidi, and was the first house to have an elevator in East Africa, that’s why it is called “house of wonders”.

The House is now located between the Old Fort and Palace Museum in Stone Town. The construction materials of this house consisted of a combination of coral rag, Stones, Concrete slabs, Mangrove shoots and steel beams.

Former Slave Market

It is said to be as the last slave market in East Africa which was closed in 1873. It is located in Stone Town Zanzibar at Mkunazini street. 

In 1879, the British missionaries built Christ Church Cathedral (Anglican church), and today it is the most significant tourist attraction in Stone Town.

Freddie Mercury House

Located in the same house where Freddie and his family stayed in his childhood at Gizenga Street, Stone Town Zanzibar. The museum is small but it is worth visiting especially if you are a fan, this is the must visit place in Stone Town, you will have more information of Freddie Mercury’s childhood life in Zanzibar. 

Amazing paintings inside the museum and different handwritten lyrics. Within our Historical Stone town trip, you will also have a time to see this place and our guide will provide you with more information about the place.

Darajani Market

If you stay in Stone Town or want to visit Stone Town, then this is very important local market to experience the livelihood of Zanzibar locals or if you want to buy some gifts for your loved ones when you go back Home.

This is the Historic, unique and the biggest Market in Zanzibar. Darajani Market  is the main Bazaar located in Stone Town Zanzibar, was built under Sultan Ali bin Hamud who was the eighth Sultan of Zanzibar from 1902 to 1911.

Old Fort/ Arab Fort

The Old Fort, also known as Arab Fort and ‘Ngome Kongwe’ by the locals. Is one of the Historic and oldest buildings in Stone Town, Located next to House of Wonders facing Forodhani Park. The Fort was built by Omani Arabs rules after expelling the Portuguese in 1699. 

Around the 19th Century it was used as a garrison and prison, and during 1905-28 officially used as a terminal of the Zanzibar railways which was connecting Stone Town and Bububu village. Now it is one among the tourist attractions in Stone Town.

Forodhani Garden

Forodhani Park is one of the best free places to chill and watch the sunset in Stone Town, it is located in front of House of Wonders and Zanzibar Old Fort.

The park is facing the Indian ocean which creates an amazing breathtaking atmosphere in the Garden. Normally, this is the last place to visit in our Stone Town tour. 

In the evening, there is a special Night Market where you will have a variety of fresh cuisines like Zanzibar Pizza, Chapati, Grilled Lobsters, Octopus, Squid, Fish, and many more.

tanzanite rings

In Stone Town, you can buy almost all things which are available in Zanzibar and Tanzania as a whole. You can check our guide on Shopping in Stone Town. 

You can buy a variety of jewelry made by Tanzanite in Stone Town; 

Engagement rings, Earrings, Pendant, Necklaces and so on. The original and scientific name of Tanzanite is “blue-violet zoisite”, the name “tanzanite” was given because the world’s only known tanzanite deposit is in the northern part of Tanzania near Kilimanjaro mountain. 

Best Tanzanite shops in Stone Town are; Blue Gems Zanzibar, Tanzanie Gallery, Zenj Treasures, Johari Treasures.

 
music academy zanzibar

You can pass time at Dhow Countries Music Academy to watch different Zanzibar cultural music known as Taarab and Kidumbak. This music academy is located near the Palace museum close to Mizingani Seafront Hotel. Entrance fee is 10000 TZS which is equivalent to $5.

 
spices in the shop

Spices is one of the major products that tourists are asking for when they visit Zanzibar with us, they always ask where they can do spice shopping. 

This makes us put it on the list of things to do in Stone Town. Yes, you can purchase a variety of spices at Darajani Market like Cinnamon, Cardamon, Vanilla, Nutmeg, Cloves and so on. 

Spices which are sold in Darajani are already packed to make it easier for you to travel with them in your bag. In case you want to buy spices from the farms, then you can follow this guide on best Zanzibar Spice Farms Tours including lunch and fruits.

 
restaurant in stone town

Luqman Restaurant is the cheapest restaurant and it has a lot of Zanzibar local cuisines. It is located at Mkunazini street in Stone Town. Situated near the formar Slave market (Anglican Cathedral). 

Luqman is one of the best restaurants in Stone Town. Many travelers and locals are always going to this restaurant for their breakfast, Lunch and dinner.

 

The list of things to do in Stone town can’t be finished without talking about Souvenirs shopping. If you are intentionally going to Stone Town for Souvenirs shopping, then make sure to have a big enough bag to carry your things. 

There are so many wonderful souvenirs to buy in Stone Town; They are authentic, attractive, handmade by mostly local women from Zanzibar islands and the Masai tribe from Tanzania Mainland. 

Therefore when you purchase, you also support the local communities. Memories of Zanzibar is a famous destination to purchase your souvenirs, it is very famous among tourists who visit Stone Town since it has massive options for gifts.

tourists snorkeling

If you choose to stay in Stone Town, you still have a better opportunity to experience an amazing snorkeling you could never find in many other famous snorkeling spots in Zanzibar.

The untouched Chumbe island coral park is spectacular with a variety of colors, this is the home and foods for the hundreds of the species that reside at chumbe corals.

Driving time from Stone Town to Chumbe Island office takes approximately 15 minutes. You can contact us to provide you transport or we can organize your full trip including lunch after snorkeling.

tourists feeding the tortoises in prison island Zanzibar

Prison Island, also known as ‘Changuu Island’ by the locals. This is one of the popular things to do in Stone Town Zanzibar. 

In this tour you will do Swimming and Snorkeling, feeding the Giant Tortoises and you will play with them, learning the short history of the Island, and you will be aware why it is called ‘Prison Island’. 

Stone Town is a departure place to prison island, and actually we have two places for departure; Infront of Mizingani Seafront Hotel or sometimes in front of Livingstone Beach Restaurant near Forodhani Garden.

Mt Meru 4,566 m (14,980 ft) is a beautiful volcanic mountain on the western edge of Arusha National Park, just north of the city of Arusha. It’s the second highest mountain in Tanzania, and the fifth highest in Africa. It was once taller than Kilimanjaro, but an eruption blew off its top. 

Mt_Meru_Tanzania2-1024x768.jpg

The peak of Mt Meru is in the back corner and its 3.5 km-wide caldera in the foreground

The ideal Mt Meru trekker

The now dormant volcano is a popular three- or four-day trek. It’s a great option for anyone who:

  • only has a few days or wants a more affordable climb
  • is not (as yet) strong enough to climb Kilimanjaro
  • is keen to trek a quieter mountain
  • wants a challenging mountain climb without such a high risk of altitude sickness
  • wants to tackle an acclimatisation hike that prepares them for Kilimanjaro
Mount Meru in Tanzania

The barren peak of Mt Meru

While Mt Meru isn’t as tough or long as Kilimanjaro, it’s still a challenging trek, so don’t think you’ll breeze on up to the summit!! But it’s a very rewarding climb. For starters, the scenery is exceptional, and include a great view of Kilimanjaro 70 km to the east! The wildlife is also arguably better than on Kilimanjaro, and is easier to spot. You can hope to spy animals like buffaloes, giraffes, warthogs, bushbuck, duikers, black-and-white colobus monkeys, and tawny eagles. 

So could Mt Meru be a good trek for you? Here’s what you need to know …

Trek itinerary

Mt Meru can be climbed over three or four days. The first two days are for climbing up, with the third day serving as summit day. Some hike back down the same day, while others spend another night on the mountain for a more relaxed descent. Note that trekkers stay over in mountain huts, so this isn’t a camping climb. 

Forest Mt Meru

The lower slopes of Mt Meru are lush and covered in dense forest | Image by Y. Lerner

Climate and vegetation

The climate and vegetation zones of Meru are similar to those of nearby Kilimanjaro: you have dense forest, followed by meadows, then giant lobelias and giant groundsels, and finally montane desert. Only the top zone of Kilimanjaro – which is an arctic world of ice fields and glaciers – is missing on Meru.

Mt Meru is an excellent acclimatisation hike for those wanting to climb Mt Kilimanjaro.

 
Mt Meru Tanzania

Mt Meru is an impossibly beautiful mountain and Tanzania’s second highest peak

dinning on rooftop

Experience the sunset while dining with your loved one on one of the rooftop restaurants in Stone Town. This could be a memorable thing you have done in Stone Town.

There are different rooftop restaurants you can go to in Stone Town; most famous are Africa House Hotel, Swahili House, Emerson Spice Hotel, Tembo House Hotel. 

Most restaurants are not necessary to be booked in advance, therefore you are limitless to explore the stone town and then you can choose one to go there.

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