Hotels in Zanzibar Town

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Zanzibar Town Hotels

Straddling the sparkling blue waters of the Indian Ocean is Zanzibar Town, the beating heart of the idyllic island of Zanzibar. The unique blend of Swahili, Moorish, Arab, Persian, Indian, and European elements in its enchanting old town, Stone Town, has made it a World Heritage Site. Cobbled side streets overhung by Persian-style balconies open up into wide colonial boulevards, gardens, and sultans’ palaces. Lining the town’s 400-year-old fortifications are shops filled with ornate curios and traditional music emanates from the amphitheatre nearby. And never more than a street or two distant, providing an oasis of sun-kissed calm away from the hustle and bustle, is the white sand of Stonetown Beach.

Things to see

Start your day with the unmissable feast for the senses that is Darajani Bazaar, the town’s main market. Navigating its twisting alleys and covered halls, you will encounter mountains of the spices that give Zanzibar its alternative name, the Spice Islands, as well as everything from seafood to sandals. At the 19th century Anglican cathedral, built by anti-slavery campaigners, you can see the altar symbolically standing where the whipping post from Zanzibar’s largest slave market used to be, and in the grounds one of the world’s most iconic slave monuments, ‘Memory for the Slaves’ by Clara Sörnäs. Down at the seafront, discover the House of Wonders, a former sultan’s palace now the Zanzibar National Museum of History and Culture, and next-door is the 17th century Old Fort, home to an amphitheatre that stages live music and dance. When evening comes, taste authentic local cuisine at the Forodhani Gardens food market while watching the sun set over the ocean.

Hotels in Zanzibar Town

The town’s hotels are mainly located in beautiful Stone Town. Luxury hotels can be found directly adjacent to Stonetown Beach, offering swimming pools, spa facilities and restaurants and bars with ocean views. Those set further back from the sea can occupy historical or restored buildings and boast Persian-style balconies overlooking secluded gardens and courtyards. Conveniently, there is a choice of hotels near to the ferry terminal. All hotels are within walking distance of the main sites, and air-con, satellite TV, and free WiFi come as standard.

Where to stay

If sunbathing and spectacular ocean views is your top priority, try one of the hotels along Shangani Street directly adjacent to the beach. Should you ever wish to take a break from the pampered luxury they offer, the thriving heart of the town is just a short walk away up charming cobbled side streets. Behind Shangani Street, in Kenyatta Road or one of the quiet side streets leading off it, such as Gizenga or Baghani, mid-range and luxury hotels alike can boast a shaded, Persian-style grace with views over the rooftops to the sea.

How to get to Zanzibar Town

Abeid Amani Karume International Airport is only 5 kilometres away from Zanzibar Town and many hotels provide an airport shuttle on request. The airport is served mainly by flights from Dar es Salaam and other East African or Middle Eastern cities. Seasonally, it receives direct flights from some European cities. A ferry service runs between Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar Town, the terminal located in Stone Town. The beauty of Zanzibar Town is that everywhere is within walking distance, but, should you wish to take the weight off your feet, taxis, and minibus share taxis are readily available.