Stone Town

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48 travelers at this place:

  • Day14

    Day 14: Island explorer

    February 15, 2019 in Tanzania ⋅ ⛅ 32 °C

    Today I visited a local spice farm (please look at the pineapple... did you know this is what a pineapple plant looks like?! 🍍) and Stone Town, the capital of this island 🌴

    It was a nice trip but I feel so ready for being part of a group now. Activities like these are so much more fun if you can share them with others. Although ... I was never alone (as usual), I was always with a local guy ... and in Stone Town he taught me how to play a local game (loved it) 💛Read more

  • Day146

    Stone Town, Zanzibar

    September 29, 2017 in Tanzania ⋅ 🌙 25 °C

    We spent just two nights in historic Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Zanzibar was once the center for the slave trade for east Africa and Stone Town was the main administrative port. Narrow winding streets, buildings of stone and coral, and a mix of Arabic and European colonial architecture, mosques, churches and Hindu temples define this small town.
    We found a local guide to take us on a walking tour early in the morning before the full heat and humidity hit. Our guide, Yusef, did a great job highlighting the complicated and often tragic past of this town, including the slave market. The former slave market is now the site of a large Anglican church that was built after slavery was abolished. It was fascinating to have learned about Dr. Livingtone’s legacy in Malawi, then seeing his influence and abolitionist views had a huge impact in Zanzibar. In fact, there was a crucifix made from the tree where he died in Zambia displayed in the church.
    While here, we’ve enjoyed some good food and enjoyed wandering around and getting lost in the maze of streets and alleys.
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  • Day41

    De retour à la ville de Corail

    February 15 in Tanzania ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    Dernier voyage en dala dala (pas sûr que ça nous manque!) pour rentrer à Stone Town, où le festival Sauti Za Busara bat son plein. Des musiciens venus de toute l'Afrique enchaînent les concerts au Fort arabe et dans les Jardins Forodhani. On tombe sur un groupe de marocains qui envoie un bon son gnawa rock. Dernier coucher de soleil pendant que les gamins jouent au foot sur la plage... Demain nous changeons de continent, destination Oman !Read more

  • Day34

    Zanzibar - Stone Town 1

    February 8 in Tanzania ⋅ ☁️ 30 °C

    Nous voilà arrivés à Zanzibar, archipel autonome au gouvernement révolutionnaire, hérité d'une expérience de zanzibarites qui revenaient d'un Erasmus à la Havane. 

    Stone Town est un mélange d'influences des quatre coins de l'océan indien. Le passé esclavagiste de la ville est bien visible, notamment au travers des riches demeures construites par les marchands. Lors d'une visite à l'ancien marché aux esclaves on en apprend plus. Un paquet de monde trempait dans ce sale business : des Européens, des Arabes, et aussi des Africains qui servaient d'intermédiaires en kidnappant des pauvres malheureux chez leurs voisins. Des esclaves eux-mêmes possédaient parfois des esclaves : c'est toute la société qui était organisée sur la base du travail gratuit. Du coup quand ça s'est terminé tout le monde était complètement paumé.

    C'est la messe du dimanche à l'église. Alors on est désolés pour le cliché, mais c'est vrai que tout le monde chante et danse, même le prêtre se déplace parmi ses ouailles en se trémoussant. Limite on pourrait lancer une ola, ça ne ferait pas tellement tâche. Au Palace Museum le temps semble s'être arrêté dans les années 1960, quand le sultan du coin a été prié d'aller chercher un job ailleurs.
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  • Day32

    Zanzibar Day 4 - Stone Town

    December 26, 2019 in Tanzania ⋅ ☁️ 29 °C

    Left the beach this morning to drive in a minibus to Stone Town, aka Zanzibar City. Fortunately, it started raining as we left so this made the departure from the beautiful beach less of a wrench.

    We returned to the spice tour we finished early on our first day because I had a revision lesson at the diving centre at 4:30pm. We tasted lots of different fruits and spice teas. There was a delicious masala tea which was very gingery, one of my favourite tastes. Then there was a demonstration of coconut tree climbing but I gave that a miss and sat in the bus with several others.

    Them we drove on to our hotel in Stone Town and checked in. Man, it was hot.

    Stone Town is the main city on Zanzibar. It 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, with a unique mixture of Moorish, Arab, Persian, Indian and European elements. For this reason, the town has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2000.

    At first sight, it looks a bit, actually very, delapitated and you'd thing Dulux would make a killing here. However, reading about the history and different influences, you begin to read the story of the city in the buildings, especially architectural styles. The carved doors are amazing. It also has an urban buzz, almost an urban cool, with lots of coffee bars and a completely unique feel from the Arab occupation.

    The Stone Town is a labyrinth of alleyways, spice markets and unruly traffic, all sufficiently exotic for a chase sequence in a Bond or Bourne movie.

    There is a mix of Arab, Indian and African influences, notably elaborately carved wooden doors with brass studs, a style that originated as a defence against charging elephants. No one could accuse this place of being soulless.

    Daniel, our Tanzanian tour guide brought us out on an orientation tour of the town and showed us some places we might like. We even saw the house where Freddie Mercury of Queen, was born. It's now an hotel!

    We then went off for lunch: samosas in an Indian Gujarati restaurant. Then back to hotel for a shower and a nap.

    Around 5ish, a few of us went to view the Museum of Slavery. Zanzibar was one of the largest  slave ports in the vast Indian Ocean slave trade, which was dominated by Arab slave traders. The Arab slave trade originated before Islam and lasted more than a millennium. The newly acquired slaves were often forced to carry ivory and other goods back to Bagamoyo.

    The slaves were shipped here in dhows from the 0mainland, crammed so tightly that many fell ill and died or were thrown overboard. Sounded similar to the Irish coffin ships of the 19th century where many thousands died in similar conditions fleeing the Great Hunger or Famine from 1842-5 for the new world.

    There were 17 dungeons for holding slaves and 2 were kept for historical reasons. Dozens of slaves, and women and children, were imprisoned for days in crowded cellars with little air and no food or toilets. Even after two minutes down there, under the low roof, the atmosphere seemed poisonously oppressive. Seeing, and touching, the actual chains used to manacle human beings was particularly harrowing.

    The entrance price was US$5 and included the services of a guide. He said the slaves were led outside and lined up in order of size. They were tied to a tree and whipped with a stinging branch to test their mettle. Those who did not cry or faint fetched a higher price at market. Africa has its share of cruelty and suffering, but such stories bite our conscience as if for the first time.

    The Anglican Cathedral Church of Christ is built on the site of the old market. The former whipping tree is marked at the altar by a white marble circle surrounded by red to symbolise the blood of the slaves. Seeing this was very difficult, imagining the unbelievable horror and terror that occurred at this place.

    However, despite this horror, the museum was remarkedly balanced and non-blaming. It presented the facts and invited you to make up your own mind. These was only one conclusion.

    The last exhibit showed an information display on modern day slavery and stated that there are more slaves today than during the whole of the African slave trade. I felt deep despair on reading this.

    On our way out, the place was now closing, we met a lovely old man who was the image of Morgan Freeman, the American actor. He was also as gay as a boxful of frogs although he spoke of his wife. He knew a Zanzibar Bar in Dublin. That's more than I know.

    He brought us back into the dungeon and showed me an old Irish blessing or beannacht, in the Irish language. A beannacht is the opposite of a curse and was perceived as being powerful. It went:

    May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind be always at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face;
    May the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
    may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

    He was so positive that my mood shifted on meeting him.

    Then we went to meet the others at an upmarket watering hole. It was happy hour! The place was a roof garden on top of a posh eatery. Nearly all the customers were various hues of white, beige, pink and brown while the staff were all black Africans. I felt uncomfortable there and wanted to leave but had to wait for the others. The view of the sunset over the harbour was pretty spectacular, though.

    After this we walked to the nearby Night Market for some food. After sunset the heart of Zanzibar's historic Stone Town neighbourhood transforms into a culinary playground. 

    By day, life around Zanzibar’s Forodhani Gardens moves at a leisurely pace: tourists and locals stroll down the seawalk, either sidestepping the eager advances of the city’s ravenous stray cats and taking in the views of an impossibly crystalline  Indian Ocean. On the outskirts of Zanzibar’s historical Stone Town, this small park awaits the lucky travelers that manage to navigate their way through the heart of this historical neighborhood’s labyrinth of narrow streets. 

    After sunset, this quiet corner of Stone Town is almost unrecognizable. The once calm Seawalk is rapidly filled with chefs, clad in white hats, setting up gas lamps, grills and rotisseries, spreading out their wares across rows of tables.

    The Night Market is a culinary playground for all—visitors and locals pour in, families gather with small children, and of course, the tenacious stray cats hunker down and wait for scraps. The chefs are a blur of motion, excitedly pointing to their culinary creations, cooing and coaxing until even the most hesitant eater gives in to their expertly spun sales pitches. 

    The Night Market perhaps best represents Zanzibar’s wonderful amalgamation of cultures and cuisines. It was once a trading center, at the intersection of the spice trade, the slave trade and the ivory trade. Arab, Persian, Indonesian, Malaysian, Indian, and Chinese merchants passed through or migrated to the island, leaving a lasting impact on Swahili culture.

    The vestiges of Zanzibar’s often tragic history linger in many ways; most noticeably in the unique blend of cultures on the Market’s signature white cardboard plates.

    Dishes vary widely, from Zanzibari pizza, falafel as big as your face, sugar cane juice, enormous samosas, coconut bread, seafood skewers (although debate persists pertaining to the actual freshness of the market’s pescetarian offerings), and crepes dripping with ribbons of chocolate syrup. 

    I bought a mango, avacado and vegetable pizza and a bold of amazing soup for just a few €uro. Delicious.

    Then walked back to hotel for a shower, a hot sweaty night and up at 4:45sm for another shower and 5:15am breakfast and 6am departure next morning for ferry.

    Another satisfying day in Zanzibar

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  • Day317

    Tag 28 - 29: Stonetown, Zanzibar

    June 16, 2019 in Tanzania ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Üsi Reis hed üs vom Festland wäg uf die kulturell sehr anderi Insle Zanzibar brocht. Det herrscht ehn grössere Arabische Ihfluss. Das merkt mer sowohl am Ässe als au ah de Chleidig und de Architektur. Gschichtlich hed d Insle ehn trurig Vergangeheit wo sich viel um Sklaverei treit. Höt esch sie vorallem för de Gwörzhandel und die schöne Stränd bekannt.

    De 16ti Juni esch ehn lange reise Tag gsii. Ich ha das Gfühl vom Unterwägs sii mit Tucktucks, Schiff und z Fuess mega gnosse. Mer händ zwoi Boot, zwoi Tucktucks und zwoi chlini Spatziergäng brucht zum uf d Insle cho :)

    Det ahcho hämmer denn diräkt ehn Tour ih Gwörzgärte vo Zanzibar organisiert gha. Mer send zerst zu öbberem is Huus brocht worde zum es lokals Zmittag gnüsse. Ganz im arabische Stil simmer alli uf ehm Bode ghocked. Nacher simmer zu ehmene Gwürzgarte gfahre worde. Det hämmer ehn Füehrig chönne gnüsse und händ ah allne mögliche Gwürz früsch ab ehm Baum gschmöckt. Am Schluss händs üs no lustigi Hüet us Bananeblätter bastled, mer händ ehn jungi Kokusnuss und verschiednigi Frücht chönne probiere. Zrug im Hostel han ich chli Pause gmacht und bi denn am Obig mit es paarne vo de Gruppe ah Märt go ässe.

    Am nöchste Morge han ich mich für ehn Tour zu de Gefängnis Insle ihgschriebe. Mer sind mit ehmene chline Böötli use gfahre und händ det die riesige Schildchröt chönne bsueche. Nacher händs üs au no s ursprünglich plante Gefängnis zeigt und mer händ chönne go schnorchle. Bevor mer am Nomittag wiiter zum nöchste Hotel gfahre sind hämmer no Ziit gha för ehn Stadtfüehrig.
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  • Day30

    Stone Town - Ein Hauch von 1001 Nacht

    October 11, 2018 in Tanzania ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Immer dann, wenn man eigentlich denkt: Jetzt passt wirklich keiner mehr rein, hält das Daladala (dieses mal ein Pickup mit Sitzbänken hinten auf der offenen Ladefläche) an und es steigen weitere Menschen zu, die es faszinierenderweise schaffen, sich zwischen die eh schon eng aufeinanderklebenden Mitfahrer zu quetschen.
    Die Mittagssonne knallt vom wolkenlosen Himmel. Wir halten uns die Tshirts vors Gesicht, um nicht allzu viel von der aufgewirbelte Erde einzuatmen. Die Bank ist so schmal, dass man sich am Seitengestänge festklammern muss, um bei der holprigen Fahrt nicht herunter katapultiert zu werden. Da schätzt
    man doch direkt wieder, wenn sich beim nächsten Stopp eine Mama in den (unfassbar winzigen) Spalt neben einen quetscht und man schöööön von ihr am Platz „fixiert“ wird.

    Wir fühlen uns wie panierte (Massenhaltungs-)Ölsardinen, als wir in Stone Town ankommen.

    In den engen Gassen von Sansibars Hauptstadt tobt das pralle Leben. Emsige Betriebsamkeit bestimmt hier die Atmosphäre.
    Es hupt und quietscht. Menschen schreien und lachen. Gesänge der Muezzin scheppern aus den Lautsprechern. Hunde bellen. Roller schnattern und hupen. Kinder rennen. Katzen streifen einem um die Beine. Es riecht abwechselnd nach Fisch, Urin, Nelken, Zimt, Abgasen, Kaffee, frittiertem Fleisch, Frangipani und verbranntem Müll. Und es wimmelt vor fliegenden Händlern, die einem vehement etwas andrehen wollen.

    Ihre zum Teil starke Aufdringlichkeit ist ihnen nicht zu verübeln, wenn man bedenkt, wie extrem arm viele von ihnen sind. Tansania gehört zu den ärmsten Ländern der Welt, das durchschnittliche Jahreseinkommen liegt bei ca. 500€.
    Gerade in Ballungszentren wie Stone Town (oder auch Dar es salaam) trifft man an vielen Ecken auf diese Armut. Mir wird schwer ums Herz, als ich einen alten Mann mit stockdünnen Beinchen und Ärmchen in zerrupften Klamotten am Boden sitzen sehe. Ich gehe hin und schenke ihm unsere Bananen. Er schaut hoch, bedankt sich mit einem zahnlosen Lächeln und hat einen stolzen Ausdruck in seinen Augen, der mich zutiefst berührt.

    Da fällt mir auf, dass es genau das ist, was mich die letzten Wochen in Tansania so beeindruckt hat.
    So arm die Menschen hier sein mögen, so zerfetzt ihre Klamotten sind und so spärlich sie hausen - Ihren stolzen Blick, den würdevollen aufrechten Gang und ihr wunderschönes ehrliches Lächeln lassen sie sich nicht nehmen.
    Eine Lebenshaltung, die mich fasziniert und vor der ich größten Respekt habe.

    Die Altstadt Stone Towns besteht aus scheinbar wild aneinander gereihten Häusern aus Korallenstein, durch die unzählige kleine Gassen verlaufen.
    Besonders begeistern uns die filigranen Holzverzierungen an den für Stone Town so typischen Swahili-Türen.
    Wir lassen uns so richtig von dem quirligen Chaos aufsaugen, irren ziellos durch die Gassen und Felix fotografiert ungefähr alle Türen dieser Stadt.
    Aus den Häusern dringt arabische Taraab-Musik, überall kann man exotische Gewürze und orientalische Stoffe kaufen. Wir laufen an prachtvollen Sultanspalästen mit gewaltigen weißen Säulen vorbei und spüren tatsächlich den Hauch von 1001 Nacht. Fehlt nur noch, dass Aladin auf seinem Teppich vorbeifliegt.

    Sobald sich die Sonne dem Ozean entgegen neigt, sieht man die ersten eifrigen Sansibaris beim Kartoffel schälen in ihren Garküchen und in den überdimensionalen Woks beginnt das Fett zu brutzeln. Der Anblick der exotischen Leckerbissen lässt einem das Wasser im Mund zusammen laufen.
    Samosa, chapati (Fladenbrot), chipsi mayai (Pommesomelette), pilau (Gewürzreis), mishkaki (Fleischspieß), frisch gepresster Zuckerrohrsaft, gegrillter Tintenfisch, Sansibar-Pizza, Gewürztee und vieles mehr bekommt man auf den „Food-Markets“ für wenig Geld.
    Inklusive Lebensmittelvergiftung. Glücklicherweise knockt sie uns nur für einen Tag aus.
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  • Day169

    Von Jambiani zurück nach Stonetown

    March 17, 2019 in Tanzania ⋅ ⛅ 32 °C

    Während Davi seine Übungseinheit auf der Ukulele vollzog, haben Abdullah und ich uns nochmal in ein Strandcafé gesetzt, bevor es zurück nach Stonetown geht. Ich habe mich entschieden ihn zu begleiten, da es leider außer der Option teures Taxi keine preiswerte Möglichkeit gibt, direkt von Jambiani nach Matemwe zu reisen. Ist man allein unterwegs haut das also schon ganz schön rein. Also zurück nach Stonetown und morgen mit einem Dala Dala nach Matemwe. Gesagt getan. Allerdings haben wir uns statt der 2h Fahrt mit dem Dala Dala spontan für eine 45min Fahrt mit dem Taxi entschieden. Zu zweit geht das dann schon mal. Dennoch 10.000 Schilling für das Taxi statt 2.000 TSH für das Dala Dala sind schon eine gute Differenz.

    In Stonetown habe ich mich für die eine Nacht im gleichen Hostel einquartiert wie Abdullah und das komplette Frauenzimmer für mich allein. Es ist super nah zur Dala Dala Station, sodass ich morgen mit meinem Gepäck nicht wieder durch die halbe Stadt laufen muss und der Mitarbeiter im Hostel bot mir zudem noch seine Hilfe beim Finden des richtigen Dala Dalas am nächsten Tag an. Vielleicht zahle ich dann mal einen vernünftigen Preis? Nach einer kurzen Dusche suchten Abdullah und ich uns etwas zum Abendessen und landeten beim durchlaufen der engen Gassen bei einem netten Restaurant. Auf dem Weg dorthin gab es den preiswertesten Kaffee bei einem Straßenverkäufer, den ich je getrunken habe. 100 TSH = 0,04 € kostete der Becher mit Inhalt eines doppelten Espresso. Und ganz ohne Touriaufschlag!
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  • Day18

    Stone Town, Zanzibar Island

    July 30, 2017 in Tanzania ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    We left the group on the beach early for an extra day in the capital city. After an eventful taxi journey (which included a Police stop, confiscated insurance & a court appearance for our driver and the start of a scam - which was nipped in the bud straight away) we arrived in Stone Town. Originally a trading port for slaves and spices, it is a large area of tiny lanes and streets of houses, mosques and local meat, fish and spice markets. With no street names, it is a maze and is best approached with a sense of exploration and no real destination in mind. Most of it is a lot less touristy than many cities and time can be spent just watching the world go by with nobody bothering you. We bought some beautiful fresh warm bread rolls (3 pence each) and sat on someone's doorstep to take in everyday life. Later we found an old coffee shop which now serves amazing cake and coffee with a fantastic view from the roof garden.
    Fun fact: Freddie Mercury was born in Zanzibar.
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  • Day19

    Stone Town day 2, Zanzibar

    July 31, 2017 in Tanzania ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Dinner last night was street food from the night market in the Forodhami gardens on the promenade. Packed with locals it was a great spot for people watching, particularly the crazy kids sprinting and then jumping off the harbour wall. Most somersaulted and spun before belly flopping or face planting into the water. Definitely style over entry. No asking for money, just because they enjoy doing it.
    Stone Town is predominately Muslim, with 50 Mosques plus Islamic schools in a relatively small area. The dress is more conservative than many places we've been so far and as a consequence of the faith is quieter and friendlier- many people want to chat and ask questions (in other cities this is often a lead in to trying to sell something, go to their shop or ask for money).
    More wandering the streets including the meat, fish, vegetable and spice markets. Despite first appearances the meat/fish market doesn't smell and is very clean. This is the sort of place all the meat we eat in restaurants or buy for the truck comes from.
    The architecture is a bit 'faded glory' and would have looked spectacular when new, with influences from European colonial styles.
    Stone Town is definitely a place we've fallen for.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Stone Town, مدينة زنجبار الحجرية, Каменен град, Ŝtonurbo, Kivikaupunki, סטון טאון, ザンジバル島のストーン・タウン, სტოუნ-ტაუნი, 스톤타운, Stountaunas, Steinbyen på Zanzibar, Cidade de Pedra, Каменный город, Zanzibars stenstad, Mji Mkongwe, สโตนทาวน์, سٹون ٹاؤن, Thị trấn Đá Zanzibar, 桑给巴尔石头城

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