5 don’t-miss things to do on the Zanzibar coast
1. Spend the day in Stone Town – Stone Town is surely Zanzibar’s heartbeat. Step into this UNESCO heritage site and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back into time. Twisting alleyways and ancient buildings in Arabic architectural forms greet you. The coffee from a local vendor keeps you warm as you lose yourself in this one of a kind space. The markets are enticing and you might be able to pick up souvenirs to remember your trip to this country.
2. Palace Museum – staying in Stone Town, you must make a visit here. Better known as the Sultan’s Palace, the museum is by far the most historic building and one that cannot be missed while in Zanzibar. Located right on the waterfront, with a magnificent view of the ocean, the Palace was truly a residence for royalty; in this case for the Sultan and his family. Post the 1964 revolution, the palace became a Government building and in true democratic fashion, was renamed ‘The People’s Palace.’ Today it is a popular tourist destination and houses the relics of the family that once called it home.
3. Spice Tour – Zanzibar is synonymous with spice. It was a vital cog in the spice trade from the olden days. What better way to learn more about this trade than to go on a leisurely tour of the spice farms? Choose your kind of tour and an experienced guide will take you through the farms and processes that give the world the most fragrant of spices- nutmeg, pepper, cinnamon and cloves, among many others. It’s not just a walking tour but an actual understanding of what makes the spice trade still so essential, that counts. Visitors learn all about the nuances of these precious commodities. Many tours end with a delicious meal using the very same spices that the tourists have learnt about.
4. Jozani Forest – The only indigenous forest in Zanzibar, Jozani is 2,512 hectares of something unique. It’s a swamp forest, located in the interior of Chwaka Bay. Frequent flooding in the area has created and supports a forest with the most spectacular trees and ferns. The forest can be reached easily- bus and taxi are commonly preferred. The forest is vital because it’s one of the few safe places for the endangered red colobus monkey. Palms, mangroves, butterflies and birds are all part of the forest and you can lose yourself in this green gorgeousness.
5. Forodhani Gardens – home to the famous night market, Forodhani Gardens is a great place to sample local living and food. Each evening, vendors put up a dazzling display of food, most of them unknown to the non-Zanzibari palate. While meat and seafood, fruit and maize abound, you can also taste the interesting Zanzibar pizza. Imagine a pancake stuffed to the gills with pretty much everything and you’ll have a sense of what this pizza is about. From plain ones with cheese, eggs, tomatoes and onions to sweet pizza with chocolate and bananas, you’re likely to find something to enjoy. Sugarcane juice and other drinks can also be found here.