Life in Stone Town - Insights into a Traditional Society

Life in Stone Town - Insights into a Traditional Society

The atmospheric Stone Town evokes at every twist and turn (and there are lots of them!) Zanzibar's colorful history and the diverse cultural backgrounds of its inhabitants. Over centuries, they amalgamated to form the distinctive SwahiliSwahili culture is the culture of the Swahili people who are living on the East African coast and the offshore islands. It is the product of the complex history of East Africa that has been shaped for centuries by Middle Eastern, European and Asian influences.
It began to take form around the 10th century, as a consequence of  Persian and Arab traders creating settlements on the East African coast and islands and mixing with the local Bantu people. The emerging city-states were predominantly Muslim, cosmopolitan and economically very successful.
The culture that emerged from the interaction between Arabic, Persian and Bantu traditions was further enriched with influences from the Far East as a consequence of long-distance trading across the Indian Ocean. In the 19th century, Indian immigrants arrived in significant numbers to settle as traders and skilled workers, and European influences entered the mix once again.
The Swahili culture has a Bantu core that has been modified by all of those foreign influences. This shows in many aspects of life, for example in the language, architecture, music and cuisine.

 When you wander around the narrow streets, you get glimpses of everyday life in this close-knit community – but wouldn't you sometimes like to really understand what it is you are looking at?

How are the roles of men and women defined in the Zanzibari society? How is domestic and social life organized? What about the education of the children and the care of the old and disabled? How do people celebrate or mourn here?

If these or other questions about the inner workings of the Zanzibari community spark your interest, then our unique “Life in Stone Town Tour” is perfect for you!

Our guides are born and raised in Stone Town and will be happy to give you insights into everyday life in Zanzibar. You can watch craftsmen at work, have an Arabic style coffee or tea ("chai") with the friendly locals, and learn about the routines and challenges of life inside the Zanzibari community and the traditions that shape it to this day.

After the walking tour that will be individually tailored to meet your interests, you are invited to visit a family home and join them for a delicious home-cooked meal!

(The meal is optional, and prebooking is required.)