Tanzania is well-known for the spectacular Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro crater and mount Kilimajaro. But! To get away from the crowds I choose to venture south instead and was surprised by what more the country has to offer!
This atmospheric and mystical town is the cultural and historical heart of Zanzibar.The fascinating maze of winding lanes leads past numerous houses and mosques, wonderful cafes and restaurants, shops and bazaars. I loved getting off the tourist trail and just get lost in the backstreets but added some landmarks, markets and museums in this itinerary if you like more focus ;)
Dress appropriately, 98% of the population is Muslim.See detail page
This is one of the less touristy beaches of the island (as you know, I am not a fan of the big crowds
😉). Do not expect banana boats and parachuting behind a speed boat here. Paje is good for a few days of sun-bathing and maybe you can follow a few kite-surfing lessons. And, there are enough bars and restaurants to keep you busy too ;)See detail page
To experience the best of Zanzibar’s food, head to the Night Market that happens each night in the Forodhani Gardens. Indulge in seafood, meat skewers, Zanzibar pizza (!), snacks, local beer, exotic fuits and desserts. The hawkers can be a bit pushy, but do not let that annoy you too much. The food is great!See detail page
This converted museum used to be the Sultan’s Seyyid Said’s palace and gives an interesting insight in the Zanzibari royal family in the 19th century. It contains a few valuable items Sultan's family left behind, deals with the international trade affairs of the Sultanate of Zanzibars and shows Sultans' furniture and various modern amenities that were introduced to Zanzibar under Sultan Barghash. It includes the living quarters of Sultan Khalifa II bin Harub, and his two wives, each of whom had very different tastes in furniture ;) The exibition is dusty and out-dated but nevertheless informative for an hour or so.
Do not miss the wonderful view from the balcony.See detail page
This massive, bastionned structure is the only major Arab castle still standing in East Africa. It’s quite impressive from the outside, much less from the inside. It had different uses from a prison to a tennis court and you can feel that they haven’t found the new ‘it’ yet. The current main feature is an open-air amphitheater. I had a lot of fun watching the finals of Zanzibar’s break dance competition, check for any scheduled local shows and events to enjoy the fortress in a non-touristy way.See detail page
The Darajani Bazaar is the main market in Stone Town and specializes in food (seafood, meat, fruits, grains, spices), but there are also shops selling a number of different goods, from touristy curios to consumer electronics. The covered meat and fish sections are worth checking out. The colours, the smells and the way the butchers go about their cutting are something completely different from the Western world ;)
Go early to see the wet market in full swing.See detail page
The Sultan built the House of Wonders to show off: it has marble floors and was the first building in Stone Town with electricity and the first in East Africa with an elevator. The front door was made wide enough so it could fit an elephant! It is still one of the grandest structures on Zanzibar, but awfully neglected and in disrepair. You can only admire the House of Wonders from the outside, it not safe to enter anymore.😢See detail page
Psssst! Did you know you can do a safari in Tanzania for under 100€/150$? Mikumi National Park offers you abundant wildlife for a steal.
Day one - Take a local bus from Dar-es-Salaam to Mikumi (6 hours) for 18.000Tsh/8$/6,50€ and stay in a local guesthouse for 30,000 Tsh/13$/11€. Find a tour group to join the next day.
Day two - Join your new best friends, pay the park fee 35$/30€ and the tour group 50$/40€. Take the bus back to Dar or elsewhere.
All prices are negotiable: food at the night market, bus rides, souvenirs.
1. The Rock, a restaurant on a rock near Paje. The service is so-so though :)
2. Haunting taraab music, at various restaurants and hotels on the island.
3.Urojo at the Night Market, a mix of potatoes, fritters, coconut chutney and lemon/mango sauce.