STONE TOWN, ZANZIBAR
UNESCO Heritage site, Stone Town, lies at the cultural core of the idyllic island of Zanzibar. Little has changed in Stone Town over the last 200 years, the town’s unique blend of Arabic and African cultural influences originate from the 19th century. Park Hyatt Zanzibar is located on the beachfront in the heart of Stone Town. Housed in Mambo Msiige, a magnificent building of great historical and cultural significance, steeped in history, grace and mystique, guests can truly immerse themselves in Stone Town life of days gone by, experience a typical Zanzibari mansion and revel in one of the island’s true architectural gems.
Zanzibar experiences warm tropical climate, with high temperatures and humidity all the year. The average temperature is 27 ºC. This mainly caused by ocean breezes during daytime and the continental wind in the night, it makes the condition more comfortable. There are two rainfall seasons, the heaviest in March to June and lesser rains is in September to November.
The majority of Zanzibar residents practice the Islamic faith which reflect also their life style and culture. Mosques are sacred places and usually no entry by non Muslims. During the holy month of Ramadhan Muslims are fasting from dawn to sun set and you may find difficult to find food during the day hours. However some specified restaurants are allowed to serve the tourists. There are also Christian churches and Hindu temples which offer regular services on Sunday and on special occasions.
Hospitality & Culture
Zanzibar cultures became more diverse in its range, more unique in its expression. Zanzibar is the birthplace of Swahili, a lingua franca forged from global dialects, upon which legends were carried, trade routes opened and a Sultan’s empire prospered. It is here that the Africa Culture blended with other cultures mainly Persian, Arabic and Indian to forms Swahili Culture. Today the romance, the splendor and legends of the past are still vibrantly alive, traditional sailing dhows, carved wooden and doors, chests, the scent of the clove and the smile of the hospitable people welcomes you to Zanzibar.
As you stroll through Stone Town, you will find several shops selling wood carvings, Zanzibari chests, clothes, spices, jewellery, paintings and antiques. Most of the gift shops are situated along Kenyatta Road in Shangani, and Gizenga Street behind the Old Fort. Tourists are advised not to buy any products related to protected species on the islands, such as sea shells and turtles. A holiday to Zanzibar would be incomplete without visiting these souvenir shops.
Stone Town Tour
Embark on an unforgettable experience with our local guides around the streets of Stone Town. This two-hour walking tour showcases the rich history of this magical island. It combines both history and culture and covers various aspects of both such as heritage buildings, old doors, dance, music and food.
Being one of the most popular excursions in Zanzibar, the spice tour in a must-do for most of the tourists who visit the island. Discover the vibrant spices of this magical island through a visit to a local spice farm, where you can be educated on the different spices grown, as well as taste and purchase them.
Jozani Forest Tour
This forest, located in the Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park, is one of the last remaining sanctuaries in the world of the Red Colobus monkey. Jozani has an excellent nature trail. You can also visit the Mangrove swamp and walk around the Mangrove forest for a lovely day spent in the midst of nature.
Forodhani Gardens, also known as Jubille Gardens, are situated along the main sea walk of Stone Town. They become truly alive at sunset when a nightly food market attracts locals and tourists alike to indulge in Zanzibari and Swahili delicacies. The atmosphere is vibrant and gives a fascinating insight into Zanzibari life.
The Old Dispensary, as its name would imply, served as an old dispensary in the first half of the 20th century. It is one of Stone Town's most finely decorated buildings, a symbol of the multicultural architecture and heritage of the town. There's also a small museum capturing the colorful history of Zanzibar.
No visit to Stone Town is complete without a visit to the Palace Museum, or Beit al-Sahel. Located on the seafront, the palace was built in the late 19th century to serve as a residence for the Sultan’s family. In 1994, it became a museum dedicated to showcasing the history and lives of the Zanzibari royal family.
The Old Fort
The Old Fort, also known as the Arab Fort, is the oldest building in Stone Town and a much-loved visitor attraction. It was built by the Omanis in the late 17th century to defend the island from the Portuguese. Within the fort is an inner courtyard that now serves as a cultural center with curio shops and local merchandise for sale.
Explore the azure Zanzibar seas and the Menai Bay conservation area, the ultimate tropical playground for underwater enthusiasts. Discover Zanzibar’s abundant sea life, marvel at tropical fish while snorkeling, perhaps even catching a glimpse of dolphins and enjoy a seafood picnic lunch on a small remote island.
Nakupenda Sandbank, named one of the best eight secret beaches in the world, is just a 25-minute boat ride away. With its crystal clear waters and white sandy beach, it is the perfect spot to enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch, play in the ocean and capture a stunning sunset.