Our taxi were waiting for us at the gate at the harbour. We were told by the missionaries at Riversyde, Iringa to try the Hiliki House Guesthouse. The manager named Moudy (pronounced Moody) made us feel very welcome although we had a huge shock when he told us the tariff. We negotiated with him and got our room for less than the usual price because we were staying a few nights. This was the first time in 10 weeks that we stayed in a house, slept on a real bed and most wonderful….have our own en-suite bathroom with HOT water, clean towels and someone else to make us breakfast The house is a renovated Arab mansion in a quiet area of Stone Town opposite the Victoria Gardens but within walking distance of everything in Stone Town. We are very much on schedule with our budget and felt we earned the luxury of treating ourselves on Zanzibar……so this was pure bliss.
The husband sitting at his favorite spot
We started exploring Stone Town witch is the old city and the cultural heart of Zanzibar. We walked the winding alleys and looked at the grand (long time ago) Arab houses with their beautiful brass studded carved wooden doors. Stone Town was declared recently a World Heritage site by Unesco. Zanzibar was one of the most important trading centers in the Indian ocean on its heyday more than 200 years ago. The buildings are in a bad state of repair because the building material used originally is coralline rock that easily erodes. Most of the Hotels in Stone Town are housed in renovated Arab houses. In the 19th century Stone Town was especially renowned for trading spices and slaves. David Livingstone also stayed there in 1866 while he was busy preparing for his final expedition into East Africa. In 1896 the sudden rebellion of the Zanzibari Omanis against the British Rule led to the Anglo-Zanzibar war witch is remembered as the shortest war of history. The Sultan surrendered after 45 minutes bombardment of Stone Town by the Navy.
The British Consulate
The Old Fort built by the Omani Arabs after expelling the Portuguese in 1699
We had our first dinner at the Forodhani Gardens. At sunset it becomes crowded because tourists and locals gather in a popular street market in the main square to have dinner eating Swahili and Zanzibari cuisine as seafood, samoosas, cassava, chapiti and the one I loved most Mkate wa ufuta, a thick local version of naan bread. We enjoyed the food but had to take the consequences with our stomachs that protested loud and clear after the second day of Zanzibar food
It was quite an adventure to walk through the labyrinth of alleyways in the dark back to our house!