Among the Horrors of the Slave Trade Market in Stonetown, Zanzibar, Tanzania

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The city of Stonetown, Zanzibar is a walled city of significant East African significance as a result of it’s involvement in the 19th Century Slave Trade throughout the region. It’s architecture offers a mix of Swahili, Arab, Indian and Persian elements. For this reason, it was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 2000. Our day would allow us to spend some time walking through the city to understand it’s historic elements.


This post is one chapter on our trip to the Republic of Tanzania and the Islands of the Seychelles. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and enhanced through World of Hyatt and Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Activity: Among the Horrors of the Slave Trade Market of Stonetown, Zanzibar, Tanzania


For the afternoon, we decided to talk a walking tour around Stonetown. We ended up booking a 3 hour walking tour through The Park Hyatt Zanzibar hotel for about $60 USD. We ended up getting a lot of value out of the walking tour and I’d recommend it for anyone coming through Stonetown. The first part of our tour was through the doors of Stonetown, Zanzibar. This part of our day highlights the second part of our walking tour.

Walking Over to the Slave Market in Stonetown, Zanzibar:

We walked over to the East African Slave Trade Exhibit (museum). It was a short walk from Jaws Corner.

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Visiting the East Africa Slave Trade Market:

The East Africa Slave Trade Market is the most significant tourist attraction in Stonetown, Zanzibar. It was $5 USD to enter for the museum. with a brief explanation of the slave trading industry that used to thrive here on the island.

The slave trade was initiated by the British and ended by the British. Overall the exhibition was quite well done. We had a few minutes reading about the history of the slave trade in Africa through richly detailed panels outlining their stories. There were some interesting and insightful pieces of history within the walls.

Viewing the Slave Trade Chambers:

The main event here was to see the two remaining slave chambers that are left underneath the mission. The tiny compartments (now fitted with old medicinal shelves) were only about 5 ft high.

It’s hard to imagine humanity resorting to storing the human race in such a manner.

On our exit from the slave chambers, we passed by some sculpture that was representative of the market. It was of slaves chained to the ground.

Within the same complex, we walked over through the Anglican Church. It was very pretty and serene, although it a bit of rougher shape than the usual English Anglican churches that I’ve been through during my travels. Even the stained glass had rock chips taken out of it if you look carefully.

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Visiting the Local’s Darjani Market:

After the Slave Trade Exhibit, the sun started to set signalling the end of the day. We headed over to the nearby Darjani market. It is the local market near the local transit connections.

I remain convinced that I would have been murdered here if it wasn’t for our guide (laughing). Surprisingly, thanks to having a guide, we were totally left alone by the merchants and customers wandering through there in company with our touristic protector. It was an authentic experience of a local African market where everything is on the barter system; at least for those from Occidental heritage.

We wandered over through to the fish stalls where there were all fresh fish being sold. One thing that was interesting was that there were no places to eat directly in the market for take aways. Even our guide asked us to hide our bottled water due to Ramadan.

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Watching the Beit el Ajalb House of Wonders:

With MrsWT73 happy to be out of the smells of the market, we it was a short walk over to the waterfront with the Beit el Ajalb (House of Wonders).

The Beit el Ajalb (House of Wonders) is an impressive house on the shoreline that had the first of almost every modern technology in Eastern Africa. It was the first house to have running water, TV and an elevator, among other things.

Sunset at the Forodhani Gardens:

We walked through the Forodhani Gardens on the water front. There were a few Portuguese cannons left on the island after the Portuguese were driven out of Zanzibar’s Stonetown.

The Old Fort of Zanzibar:

We headed back towards the hotel through the Old Fort. The Old Fort was built by the Omani’s to drive out the Portuguese. It was nicely attired for an event sponsoring the breaking of the fast.

With that being our last stop, we headed back to The Park Hyatt Zanzibar hotel for a bit of a rest before dinner.

My Thoughts on a Walking Tour through Stonetown:

The walking tour was well worth it. It was invaluable to have a guide in Stonetown; for the historic explanations and for the peace and quiet of being left alone by touts while you are walking throughout the area. I’d highly recommend it for your first time visit to Stonetown, Zanzibar.


If you’ve visited Stonetown, Zanzibar, did you find the sights insightful ?

2 Comments on “Among the Horrors of the Slave Trade Market in Stonetown, Zanzibar, Tanzania

  1. We visited the slave chamber too. I felt like I couldn’t breathe inside. Partly from the actual heat but mostly imagining 100s of people held in those tight, airless holes. The museum was well done for that reason I think. Maggie

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    • It’s a pretty sobering visit, given the world’s history. I’d place it alongside those visits to the German Concentration Camps that have been memorialized as museums and sites of remembrance. It’s easily worth taking the time to remember travelling through this part of the world.

      Thanks for reading Monkey’s Tale.

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