It’s been two years since I was in Africa and I miss it. The warm atmosphere, the infectious laughter on the streets, kids singing and dancing all throughout the day, the sweet taste of exotic fruits, the sun that gives you that healthy glow… I even miss the pungent smell of sweaty African armpits -or maybe not so much. It’s a place I call home in some respects, it’s a place that makes me feel good and that lifts my spirits despite all the problems the continent is facing. Since I was feeling so nostalgic, I decided to share some photo’s of one of my favourite cities/town in Africa: Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania.
Let’s take a stroll through the winding streets of the old town
You could consider the town to be a maze of houses, boutiques, dive centers, mosques, restaurants, bazars… The streets are narrow and the architecture is a unique blend of African, Arab, Persian, Indian and European elements that come together in a remarkable, almost mystical way. I must add that most of the buildings are almost in ruins on the outside. I chose to consider it part of the charm.
I must have taken over a hundred photo’s of doors. The detailing is just awe-inspiring. Should I ever design a house, I would have the door imported from Zanzibar. And no, not just because that sounds cool!
Another wonderful sight in Stone Town- and in the rest of the island- is the people. Kids are running around the streets, playing, laughing, batting their long lush eyelashes at you…
As for the adults, they are taking their time, doing their thing, living the island life… “Endesha Pole Pole”, swahili for ‘go slowly’.
A walk through town is never complete without a visit to the market. It’s my favorite place at any destination to roam about.
There are a couple of classic tourist attractions to visit i.e historical building and monuments, but it all felt a bit forced for me to visit. I did have a quick look at some of them, but I soon realised that I’m just not that kind of tourist/traveler. There was one monument however, that really spoke to me. The ‘slavery memorial’ is situated in the old slave market. Stone Town was THE place to be for spice and slave trade back in the days. The memorial not only reminds us of these practices but also shows us how the slaves were sold; standing in a ditch, connected with heavy chains. It’s hard to believe this was reality.
Back to getting lost in the narrow streets… Stone Town is relatively small which means that it never takes to long to find your way if you get tired of “being lost”. When the latter occurs, either turn to a local and ask for directions, you’re never more than 15minutes walk away from where you want to be. OR, an even better idea, take a coffee break. Production and consumption of coffee is an ancient Zanzibari tradition. Try a cup of ‘Liberica’, a rich and spicy blend found only on this island. I must say, this was one of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever had! Not to be missed!
If you’re ever in Zanzibar and want to try the Liberica, this is a lovely place where you can have a few sips.
When the sun starts to set in Stone Town, it’s not time to go home yet. Sit on the beach for sunset, then keep walking until you reach the ‘ Forodhani Gardens’, a lively food market/ open air restaurant that starts after sunset. All sorts of skewered treats from the sea are presented to you and grilled on demand. Finnish off with a glass of freshly made sugarcane juice with a squeeze of lemon. Pure bliss!
I spent four days is Stone Town, which is more than the average visitor, but I never got bored. I took things easy, walked a lot, ate and drank like Swahili queen. The whole island has made it to my ‘return-list’.