Jambiani Low Tide
Jambiani is a small coastal village with a beautiful white sand beach and a handful of guesthouses, hotels, and resorts. It is situated just south of the larger villages of Bwejuu and Paje on the South East coast of Zanzibar Island, just over 50km by road from Zanzibar Town and the island’s airport.
Jambiani is a real Swahili village – quiet, traditional and largely unspoilt. Most of the residents are still fishermen, seaweed farmers and smallholders with small farms or shambas a little inland from the coast where they keep goats and other livestock, grow fruit and raise some crops.
There is reasonably good local shopping in Jambiani – and Paje village, just 6 km away, has two well-stocked supermarkets and a Superduka selling wines, beers and spirits. Jumaa the house manager can organise all kinds of fresh fish and seafood to be delivered to the house. Along the beach to north and south are several recommended beach bars and restaurants.
Blue Oyster Hotel Jambiani
The Sea View Lodge next door to Kwacha House has a bar and restaurant, internet, spa and small boutique. A few metres further on The Seahorse is run by Zube who is a rotund and friendly chap and a jolly good cook. Sale & Pepe offers a delicious fusion of classic Italian dishes with a Swahili twist. The Blue Oyster Hotel has a good lunch and supper menu and is also a PADI dive centre and can organise snorkelling trips to the excellent coral reef close to the beach.
Paje Kite Surfing
Nearby Paje is also famous worldwide as a kite surfing destination, and all kinds of other water sports and activities are available along the nearby beaches. Jumaa the house manager also runs trips and excursions around Zanzibar – he offers the full range of activities on the island from Stone Town tours, to Jozani Forest colobus monkey trips, outings to the Sea Turtle Sanctuary and Butterfly Farm, Spice Tours, Caves and Ruins trips – and more.
Zanzibar Town Seafront
If you can tear yourself away from the relaxing pleasures of Jambiani, no trip to Zanzibar is complete without a visit to Zanzibar’s historic and culturally fascinating old Stone Town. Former capital of the Zanzibar Sultanate, and flourishing centre of the spice trade and slave trade in the 19th century, when Tanganyika and Zanzibar joined together to form the United Republic of Tanzania in 1963, Zanzibar kept a semi-autonomous status, with Zanzibar Town as its seat of government.
The heart of Stone Town consists of a maze of narrow streets and alleys lined by houses, shops, bazaars and mosques. Its architecture has a number of distinctive features – the result of an intermingling of Arab, Persian, Indian, European, and African influences. Typical Zanzibar buildings have long stone baraza benches along their outside walls, enclosed verandas and balconies with tin roofs and elaborately-carved wooden front doors.
Key historic buildings include The House of Wonders (or Beit-al-Ajaib) the former Sultan’s Palace built in 1893, now a museum. The adjacent Old Fort was built in the 17th century by the Omanis – its internal courtyard is now a cultural centre. The newly-restored Old Dispensary was built by a wealthy Indian trader to serve as a charity hospital for the poor. It is one of the town’s most finely- decorated buildings, with large carved wooden balconies, stained-glass windows and neoclassical stucco adornments.
Anglican Cathedral and Slave Monument
The Anglican Cathedral was built at the end of the 19th century by Edward Steere, third bishop of Zanzibar. It was constructed on the former site of the island’s main slave market, and a monument to the slaves and museum on the history of slavery sits beside the church. The Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. Joseph, based on Marseilles Cathedral, was built by French missionaries between 1893 and 1897. Its facade, with two high spires, is one of the best-known Stone Town landmarks.
Zanzibar Town Rooftops
Fordham Gardens is a small park on the seafront, recently restored by the Aga Khan Trust. Every evening the gardens host a popular, tourist-oriented market selling grilled seafood and other Zanzibari recipes which attracts both tourists and locals. There is excellent shopping and eating in Stone Town and the huge and vibrant Darajani Market, which sells everything from colourful kangas to spices and fresh seafood is a must-see.
House of Wonders and Forodhani Gardens