6 Zanzibar restaurants you should try out in 2023

Zanzibar and her sunsets

We travel for different reasons and one of these reasons are for the experience, food wise. Some people have selective taste buds while others choose to be adventurous and expose their mouths to much. It’s okay to be traditional but when you feel daring to do exotic foods, try out these eateries that will make you appreciate these foods.

One of the most captivating and serene African islands you will fall in love with is Zanzibar. There is lots you are gonna see but definitely lots to eat too. If you love dining out like I do, why not try out one of these:

1) Mangi Beach Bar and restaurant (in Nungwi)

The outside of Mangi Beach Bar and Restaurant

I wanted to know a bit more of Zanzibar than just its popular center which is Stone Town. I chose to do a day in the north of the Island. Having met some cool people that also wanted to head there, I tagged along. We had transport and just put some fuel and off we went. From Stone Town, it took us like one hour to get to the north of the Island. Have you ever been determined to have a meal with a view? Someone did alert me how the northern parts of Zanzibar particularly Nungwi are home to turquoise waters and I wanted to experience this. We started off at about 9 O’clock and got there at close to 11.

You are gonna love this restaurant for its views and outdoors (provided it’s not pouring). I particularly liked the pine trees am guessing I didn’t mistake for coconut trees. The other thing you may like is how there is provision for you to enjoy your own space or chill with others. This is not a restaurant you should go to on a date and dress to kill…. in heels…nop. There is beach sand and I think you now know what your dress code should be, should you find yourself on a special date. I loved their wide selection on their menu but my focus was more on my favorite mashed potatoes with chicken stir fry. Yummy…Their pizza is actually delicious.

2) Wild Dove Cafe (in Nungwi)

Now some restaurants in Zanzibar are well known and have a large following. For Wild Dove Cafe in Nungwi, I can’t say that is the case. It is an upcoming restaurant that I see making it big should they continue with the meals I found. The place itself is nothing too fancy and you find it near Highland Bungalows in Nungwi.

You will like this place for the fair prices. It is found just in the dusty small roads of Nungwi so I guess no charging high prices here for things like views. I must say I had at least two to three good meals here and this was enough times to recommend others to give it a try. Their menu had burger, in curry, grilled and fried selection. There was pasta and noodle selection as well. That wasn’t all. They also made sure to cater for those that do desserts.

3) Zenjis Food Lover’s Joint (in Stone Town)

This restaurant is one of the most popular ones on the island. I particularly liked the location. Sometimes we don’t want to go so far in the outskirts to have that meal with a view. It’s okay to be within reach.

The maze streets of Stone Town

This restaurant is found in the heart of Stone Town. As you enjoy walking through the maze streets of Stone Town trying to find your way around, you will find this restaurant. I had a meal here that has made me recommend this restaurant to others. The setting of the restaurant is more like outdoor with a gazebo and well arranged tables.

Zenji Food Lover’s Joint Restaurant

I had company and opted to try seafood. I am a sucker for well done spicy, fluffy mashed potatoes. Knowing very well I come from a landlocked country and seafood is sold but not the one fresh from the ocean, I ordered some prawns. They were one of the most fresh prawns I have ever tasted.

The food, I must say, was well prepared and we were surrounded by helpful staff willing to give help at our request. Whenever you are in Stone Town, do try out this restaurant.

4) Lukmaan (in Stone Town)

Another restaurant I heard people talk much about was Lukmaan restaurant found in the heart of Stone Town. It is highly rated and boasts the best local, dining experience award in previous years. I enjoyed two meals there. This place was packed both times I went there which can only mean that many find it a perfect dine in pick.

I wanted to try out seafood because it is actually expensive back home! I particularly loved their succulent prawns that were slapped with some salad. The restaurant has wide variety on the menu: Arabic food, fish, all sorts of seafood and pizza. The price range of food on their menu is from about 50 cents for the naan to about $15.

5) New Monsoon Restaurant

Walking around in Stone Town, I did find a restaurant just close to where I lodged. The New Monsoon Restaurant it was. It was beautiful inside out. You can dine from the outside or inside but with the scotching heat of the Island, I chose to sit outside. The view you have sitting outside is that of people walking down the paved roads. In the evening, you could catch a glimpse of street markets and ocean view. Forgive me for my love for mashed potatoes but I was at it again. The chicken mishkaki went perfectly with it. They made sure the salad was fresh and colourful. I tried looking for something to wash this food down and Indian Whiskey was just perfect.

New Monsoon Restaurant (Outside)

Should you be in Stone Town, Zanzibar for whatever reasons, do stop by because this place prides itself with the ability to offer multi cuisine, Indian and Indo Chinese food created at high standards.

6) The Silk Route (in Stone Town)

I felt like Indian food and because this place was just a stone throw away from where I lodged, trying it out was easy and it actually felt like visiting India! What I liked first about this restaurant was the view when on the next floor. You could see parts of the ocean and the busy town of Stone Town and am guessing it’s more heavenly in the evenings! The theme colors inside were orange, brown and cream.

The beauty about having someone to dine with was cost sharing which leads to having what we desired to have like….wait for it…lobster!!! It was my first experience and I didn’t regret it a single bit. It came with potato wedges and a salad. The second time around, I got rice and some beef stew which was medium hot spiced. Tasty! This restaurant has a wide selection on their menu and if you have a 15 cents to $20 on you, you could walk out of this place with a smile.

Hostels.Not such a crazy idea…

❤️This post is based on personal experiences in places I personally visited and my own gallery😉❤️

“The MOJO Hotel | Sea Point Hotel, Cape Town” https://themojohotel.com

Sometimes the opinions of others could make you miss out on the things you could experience. I know for sure I have heard a friend of mine say, “I would never do hostels.” Uhmm…..I didn’t bother to hear much because I knew whatever would be said would impact me negatively and was meant to discourage me from trying it out.

I must say sometimes the comments of others do affect our decisions and sometimes they shouldn’t. Plus, if you allowed people to control you like that, then you may never enjoy your own adventures.

Travelling on a regular basis for an African may not come that easy especially if you do it because you really fancy it. And since I obviously didn’t ditch my friend, I was curious (just a bit) to find out why those strong statements against hostels . For starters, she was very honest about how we Africans have a difficult life and why subject ourselves to more difficulties of staying in such places? ”And besides, Faith, I would rather wait for my company to pay for the cost of my travel so I get to stay in the coolest of places because that’s not the life I have known….luxe.” I heard her loud and clear. What about that travel person who is so passion driven to see lots of places such that as they are at it, they are already planning their next move? Would you wait for a sponsored trip? I get it. Her bone of contention was that Africans are already poor so why make travel a misery by staying in misery? Did she really say that? lol!

That’s what I asked my friend

My friend will probably wait forever to have adventure or should try her luck in the next life but she needs to know the good and the bad before sounding so judgy.

ADVANTAGES

  1. Cutting on costs and seeing lots for less

The advantage of staying in a hostel is the fact that you can cut on costs and could actually see more places that way than waiting to win the lotto to ever see the coolest of cool places on this place we call earth! If I ever got the opportunity to do let’s say, Mauritius …….for starters, I have done my mini research and concluded it’s slightly more of a pricey island compared to Madagascar. Why on earth will I miss the opportunity to see beautiful Mauritius because my budget included stays in luxe resorts or many star hotels?

I will gladly include hostels so I even enjoy the island for a longer time. My experience in hostels when it comes to cutting costs is that I have also taken time researching which hostels have a ‘homely touch’. Yes, some hostels just offer basics but others are quite comfortable to be at like Shoki Shoki House of Zanzibar. All the advice I would give here is that you take your time online searching for them before your trip than do the, “I will cross the bridge when I get there.” Plan your hostel stay the way you would a five star hotel which gets me to the other advantage of hostels which is:

2) Making friends easily

Seriously like some of the places I have found it so easy to make friends coming from all four corners of the world (wait, does the world have corners?)is in a hostel. A hotel will have that peace and quiet, we get it, but part of the thrill that comes from some travel lovers is about who we meet.

I am happy to mention that some of the like minded people I have met, I did in a hostel. In the community I come from, I would say very few find travel appealing or worse still, they don’t even wanna talk about it but in a hostel, rest assured that my favourite topics are all over. It’s here that you can learn more about other countries other than yours from the horses’ mouths and from all the beautifully different people around the hostel which brings me to the next advantage which is:

3) Enjoying group tours

Yes, we are self proclaimed solo travellers but we do love some good company while at it. And going back to my friend who is blunt about hostels, she should know that I have done some coolest trips because of joint efforts with other hostel mates and if I have to wait to be super rich (be able to book a whole cruise ship) lol! The lovely moments I have had in hostels will just ‘zoom!’ pass me by.

Instead of doing Spice Tour solo……
I found ‘K’ at a hostel and we shared costs😉

Bottom line is even as a solo traveller, we are aware of the people around us too. And this spending of time with people reminds me of some disadvantages that cause people like my friend to speak ill of hostels:

DISADVANTAGES

  1. Shut up!

Noise levels at times can be quite annoying. I am a light sleeper and pretty sure I have an internal alarm clock in my head that reminds me I have to shut down and this usually happens early hours of the night like just before 9 pm and at around mid night I have no sleep at all and honestly with this kind of sleep pattern, I really don’t do well around people who are loud at about the time I need to sleep.I wake up feeling grumpy. Am afraid my friend was gonna be right had she rubbed this point in but she didn’t.

Some clients you will find here are party animals and because these hostels are kind of made to repel boredom just embrace the few times its gonna get loud.The other thing to note is, as you are enjoying your sleep at whatever time, someone flew into the country at an odd time and will check in your room at the time you are enjoying being in dreamland! This won’t be so much of a problem if the place is not :

2) Cluttered

Guests would not be subjected to so much noise if not for the way most of them are cluttered up.Thumbs up to those hostels that have owners that consider the claustrophobic traveller and not just display the need to make money by having so much going on or too many beds in one room! Hostel owners shouldn’t just allow clutter and it’s for this reason that there is :

3) Not much tidiness

Hostel owners usually have rules about keeping amenities clean especially after using them. I doubt this rule is followed religiously by most of the clients but that traveller who feels there is clutter in this place after all, will keep the trend.This may not be the case for every hostel as they have dependable cleaning services but even with them, in a hostel there is need for you to clean up after using stuff because they offer self services and if you are a clean freak…..these places may not be for you.

4) Finder’s keepers, loser’s weepers

Not everyone that stays in these hostels is sober or has your best interests at heart. Just because you met fellow travellers and had a good time is no reason for them not to dip their hands in your stuff.Not that I have experienced it but it’s a place am so self conscious about where I put my stuff just in case.I have heard funny stories of how other travellers checked in and because they stayed there for long, there was not much pushing for payments from the owners for the remaining days, besides, this client paid for the other days right? The client eventually took advantage of the thoughtfuless of the owners and just left without paying for other nights! Some have also just helped themselves with other people’s stuff and this is not cool.

https://www.etbackpackers.com

So if these other bad thoughts were running through my friend’s mind, no wonder her negativity but to that adventurous soul willing to try these places out…..hostels are not such a crazy idea after all.

Ahh…so that’s the Old Fort of Zanzibar

The older it gets,the more touristic value it seems to have

The Old Fort of Zanzibar is a beautiful historical feature found in Stone Town, Zanzibar.This feature also goes by the name The Arab Fort.If you ask me….this old fine piece of work is actually a ‘ tourist puller’.One of the much talked about touristic places in Zanzibar.

The inside of the Fort

This feature was built by Omari Arabs in 1699.It was used as a prison.It is now used for film festivals though in the 20th century it was used as a depot.This piece of touristic work is now being used as a centre for cultural activities like curio shops.

On the left are curio shops ….sorry not clear 😜

The Fort is essentially a square of high brown walls with merlons,protecting an inner courtyard.In the courtyard there are some remnants of earlier buildings including those of a Portuguese church and another Omani fortification.

This place is now used for entertainment like live dance and music shows held mostly in the afternoons and evenings.

This group was here for what appeared to be workouts 🤔

Fly or ferry to Zanzibar Island?

Don’t you ❤️ Zanzibar?

“The destination is what you should focus on and not the journey….” WRONG! Enjoying the ride is part of adventure.Having been to Tanzania four times but to Zanzibar twice ….I must confess flying to the island was a lovely experience and happened so fast. But taking a ferry was an experience I wanna share.

For those who love ‘microwave’ experiences and how everything should be fast, fast, fast😁

Taking a ferry to Zanzibar as a solo traveller was a pleasure.For starters, I had to book for the ferry online but this worked more like a reservation because I wasn’t charged in advance.There should be one or two companies with ferries to and from the island but I am recommending you use Azam Marine just because I loved the first experience: https://azammarine.com

The ferry starts from Dar es salaam like indicated on the online reservation that comes to your mail when you use Azam Marine website and it also reflects if that particular time is free or there is availability.

Dar es salaam near the port

Be sure to stick around for “boarding time!” alert but before that do visit  the Azam Marine offices and show them your online reservation and try appearing there at least two hours or so before departure then they will hand you your ticket after your payment.

No two ways about it….if you aren’t a local, it’s $35 for you
Ferry ticket

In an event that you appeared way too early, they could actually even book you for an earlier time than you initially reserved.Note that during peak seasons you should avoid arriving late or you may lose the spot to an early bird.

The ferry on the inside
The ferry on the outside

It took about close to two hours enjoying the view, light waves, company of others…..lots of pictures to take even of other ferries going their way.

Heading to the island 💦
“Karibu Zanzibar”

You know you have arrived when you see that sign post meaning “Welcome to Zanzibar”. It was a solo trip made easy because I read articles like these before the trip and met helpful people too.

Freddie Mercury Museum, Zanzibar’s very own

Me at the museum

For those that love history, appreciate it and actually make time for it, Freddie Mercury Museum is a must see.It is located in the heart of Stone Town in Zanzibar.It officially opened in 2019 and commemorates the beloved rock music legend, Freddie Mercury.

The man himself, Freddie.

So who was this Freddie Mercury?He was a British singer and songwriter who achieved worldwide fame as the lead vocalist of a rock band.He was ……..wait for it…….born in Stone Town, Zanzibar!

If you are that tourist with history thirst, you do need to bucket list this.

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