10 Days in Zanzibar

August 10, 2014

Part 4: Nungwi to Stone Town (0.5 Days)

We arranged with our driver friend Salim to pick us up from the Ras Nungwi hotel, drop us off in Stone Town for a few hours and then pick us up for our evening flight to Nairobi. Had we used the hotel’s transportation rate, we would have paid double.

Prior to leaving Stone Town, we had arranged with the Dhow Palace hotel to store our stuff for a few hours while we wait for our flight as we had a good few hours to kill. They were so kind to us and even offered us to use their shower facilities. We wasted no time and headed for some shopping starting with the Darajani market. Since we spent some time window shopping on our first leg in Stone Town, we knew what we wanted to buy and knew how much to pay for it.

  • Darajani Market Zanzibar

Darajani market was quite an experience and definitely ‘a must’ for market lovers. Inside the market you’ll find countless stalls selling tropical fruit, spices, coffee, fish, scented soaps and much more. Be sure to head deep inside to the seafood section for a real treat (depends how you look at it).

Outside the market itself you’ll find more of the same stuff but also street food, garments shops (great silk from India), live fish auctions and shops that sell spices, soaps, and coffee wholesale – usually to local businesses and it’s here that you can get great deals.

When buying some silk garments, we asked the local shopkeeper where to buy good spices and coffee. He was so nice and actually took us to a wholesale shop called Mahanjumati Spice & Herbs where we got great value for great products and we were not ripped off at all.

  • Darajani Market Zanzibar

After doing our market shopping, we headed back to the hotel through Changa Bazaar and Hurumzi Street, the main tourist shopping area. Some stores are more upscale than others but overall, they mainly sell the same stuff. The interesting things to buy are wooden crafts and if you’re into tribal masks like I am, you’re in for a treat. Do shop around and get a feel for quality and price. Do feel comfortable bargaining as this is also expected but do try and make it a win-win situation.

Zanzibar Souvenir ShopA few exceptions worth mentioning. Head to Zanzibar Souvenir Shop on Hamamni Street and look for Amour Aziz. This place creates beautiful pieces of useful art from recycled Stone Town doors. You can find for example handcrafted jewelry boxes beautifully decorated with gold tin. There are also some great craft shops on Cathedral Street and in and around the Old Fort which are worth checking out.


Zanzibar Souvenir ShopWe capped off our visit to Zanzibar with and Indian lunch at the Silk Route Restaurant and spice coffee where else but in Stone Town Cafe. At the airport, you’ll be hinted by the porters to give them some money in return for your bags to be loaded onto the plane. Don’t try and be a wise guy and just have a couple of $1 bills prepared. This will ensure you ever get to see your bags again.

Our Zanzibar travels were over… for now, but the memories will last forever. The Spice Island did not disappoint and was an enchanting way to travel back in time while enjoying picture postcard views.

Any regrets?

Our only real regret was not buying a Bao, which is a traditional Swahili board game played on an impressive piece of decorated wood with 32 holes. Aside from a good way to kill a few hours, it also makes a very nice decoration.

? Got any questions? I love answering them! See you in the comments. 





    1. Hi Kate

      It was pretty random and the diving folks didn’t tell us the name. I remember there were a few empty stalls and locals, so I’m guessing there’s a market there on some days. I’m sorry I don’t remember more, as it was one of the prettiest beaches I’ve seen. If you really want to know, as the guys at One Ocean Diving for the name.

  1. Thank you for such great info. Just wondering about the best way to manage money while on the island? Did you carry a mixture of dollars and local currency? Travelling next month 🙂

    1. Hi Rebecca

      I had a few hundred dollars just in case but at the airport, I took out local currency. There’s also an ATM in Stone Town. If you won’t be heading to Stone Town, maybe take more USD with you as the ATM in the airport ‘could’ be out of service or not have enough cash. You can use your credit card in all the major hotels / dive centers, but that’s about it. Have a great time! So jealous!

  2. Hi,

    I am planning for a 7 day trip to zanzibar in march with my girlfriend. I wish to see the island as much as we can and last 3 days for diving ) can you help us with a itinerary and low cost/ decent hotel ideas please.

    please email me on chrish@asdubai.org

    Thank you so much

  3. Avichai, great info and well written. It has been very helpful in planning for our family’s summer trip to Zanzibar. תודה

    1. Shalom Hadas!
      Glad you found this useful and thank you for taking the time to comment. Have an awesome time with the family in paradise!

  4. Thank you for your great blog!
    I’m currently planning a trip for me and my partner is September. We have 5 full days on Zanzibar, 3 of which we will use to go on a PADI diving course, but I can’t make up my mind between Matemwe, Nungwi and Kendwa! I’m currently leaning towards Matemwe, but I’m a bit worried it might be too quiet for us? We have no interest in full moon parties and clubbing, but do like a bit of looking around shops and having a drink in a bar with ambience, so not sure if that is available in Matemwe? I’m worried Nungwi might be too far on the other side of the spectrum :s. Please let me know your ideas!

    1. Karibu Charlotte!

      That is indeed quite a dilemma. Matemwe does not have much of a nightlife scene at the time I visited nor were there village shops you could stroll to. It is a quiet place though there are 1-2 bars along the beach at some of the resorts (walking long distances on the beach at night is not recommended in unlit areas). In Nungwi, what you could do is sleep where I slept (Ras Nungwi). It is away from the busy Nungwi scene and the resorts can arrange taxis at night if you want a bit of action. During the day, you can actually walk to the village and back. Hope this helps. If you do happen to use booking.com to book your accommodations, consider doing so via this specific link and if you have more questions, shoot them my way >> https://goo.gl/VdQM9O

  5. “At the airport, you’ll be hinted by the porters to give them some money in return for your bags” Can you explain better this situation? How much money? Thanks

    1. Hi Sara

      This may or may not be the case but it did happen during my visit. Basically, the airport has no mechanical belt that takes the bag from the check in counter to the plane. There are porters at every counter and they take your bags to a loading area. When you finish the check in, they’ll approach you and ask for a tip. Be sure to have a few 1$ bills handy.

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