My Zanzibar Honeymoon 4: Good Ol’ Stone Town

By Ramat Chukwumah

It is advisable to start off a tour of Stone Town in the morning before it becomes very hot as the tour entails walking throughout. It is conducted through the many alleys and pathways that make up Stone Town. The name Stone Town comes from the use of coral stone as the main construction material used in building houses.

*(Stone Town in Swahili is known as Mji Mkongwe which means “Old Town.” It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 2000).

Corals!

Our guide told us that it was even against the law to use cement blocks as the government wanted to promote the purchase of corals. You could easily get lost navigating the many passages.

Walking through Stone Town’s famous alleys and narrow streets…
Street artist doing his thing…

One moment we were passing rows of shops that sold Arabian styled female wear, the next we were popping out at the spice market. I particularly loved the spice market as I was able to purchase freshly ground Indian spices like Garam Masala and Tandoori Masala. They also sold native soaps like lemon grass soap.

Shopping…
Spices for sale. Zanzibar won’t be called Spice Island without spices…

The fish market at Darajani Market was not too far from the spice market, and we witnessed an auction. Usually, they auctioned off large fishes. Those of normal sizes were sold at fixed rates. They also had street vendors selling locally made juices. Fresh fruit juice is easily available on Zanzibar.

Squids and Octopuses at the fish market…
Animal skins and herbal ingredients on sale…

The tour took a sober turn when we visited the site of the Old Slave Market. We were shown tiny underground rooms were slaves where kept, and a slave monument.

One of the rooms that held slaves…
The Slave Monument…

The Anglican Cathedral of Christ Church is in the same premises and its altar was built on the same exact spot where the whipping post of the slave market was. Behind the altar was the tomb of Edward Steere, the Bishop who actually built the church.

The Anglican Christ Church Cathedral…
The circle is the spot where the pole of the whipping post stood…
The church’s altar…
Grave of Bishop Edward Steere behind the altar…

We were shown a cross that hung in the church and were told that it was carved out from the tree where David Livingstone (the Scottish missionary that fought for the abolishment of slavery) was initially buried.

Made from the wood of the tree under which Dr. David Livingstone died…

Other attractions during the tour include the Old Fort, House of Wonders and Forodhani Gardens.

The entrance of the Old Fort…
Inside the Old Fort…
With Hubby on a canon in front of the National Museum…

It was interesting to find out that the late Freddie Mercury, the former lead singer of the band, Queen was born in Stone Town. We were shown the exact flat that his family lived in and I imagined young Freddie Mercury listening to records in that flat.

Hubby and I in front of Freddie Mercury’s house…

Zanzibar truly is a wonderful place to visit, with its beautiful beaches, clear, blue waters, refreshing seasonal juices, delicious Indian cuisine and the greetings of Jambo (hello in Swahili) wherever you go.

*****

Ramat Oshiorenua Chukwumah is a multi-faceted lady who has spent some time backstage in the media and entertainment industry. You can follow her @nadinescakesng on IG.

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