Bedroom areaKitchen

Entire home/apt

4 guests


3 beds

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About this listing

I am looking for tenants for the months of July, August and September 2017. After that the flat will be occupied.

The space

The flat for rental is part of a nineteenth-century Omani mansion situated right in the heart of Zanzibar Stone Town, Tanzania, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since the year 2000. Nowadays, these old Omani houses are inhabited by many local families who share a space which was once the home of wealthy traders. Living in this flat allows, among other things, close contact with these Swahili families.

The building sits between Kiponda and Malindi areas, a five-minute walk from the seafront, the ferry harbour and the fish market. It is a traditional Omani mansion with very thick walls of coral rag and lime mortar and quite a number of magnificent carved wooden doors in the interior, the ‘Zanzibar doors’ which have become more or less synonym with Swahili culture.

The flat has been renovated and exhibits its original ceiling made of mangrove poles, elaborate windows with latticed metal and Zanzibar louvers and walls with beautiful Arab style niches. It comprises two main rooms: a conventional double bedroom (NOT FOR RENTAL) and a second much larger room which includes a double bed, sitting and dining area. It has also a bathroom with hot shower, a fully-equipped kitchen (with electric cooker, oven, fridge and kettle), air con in the kitchen (which reaches other rooms with the doors open), ceiling fans in every room and washing machine. Cookware, tableware, bed linen and mosquito nets are also supplied.

I should point out that the Omani house inside which my flat is located is one of the many buildings allocated to destitute Swahili families after the 1964 Revolution. These families cook and do many of their everyday activities in the common hall of the building. As a result, this common area looks rather dingy and certainly not the neat hallway a Westerner may be used to. I find that staying in this flat, however, gives a foreigner the rare opportunity to witness and feel the everyday life of Swahili people.

Other things to note

In Zanzibar it is not possible to pay electricity monthly so, despite the fact that I always leave electricity for guests, when they use it they have to add more by purchasing units in the electricity board office just near the house (the place will be indicated to you on arrival).

The space
Accommodates: 4
Bathrooms: 1
Bedrooms: Studio
Beds: 3
Room type: Entire home/apt


Extra people: 15 / night after 2 guests
Weekly Discount: 10%
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Sleeping arrangements
Common spaces
1 double bed, 2 single beds

House Rules
Not suitable for pets
No parties or events



Cancel up to 5 days before your trip and get a full refund. Cancel within 5 days of your trip and the first night is non-refundable, but 50% of the cost for the remaining nights will be refunded.

14 nights minimum stay

8 Reviews

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Jake User Profile
March 2016
All in all, a pretty nice place in Stone Town. Large combined bedroom/sitting room, small but functional kitchen, and a clean bathroom. Only real downside: running the air conditioner costs extra for electricity, and was incredibly expensive. AC also only really reaches the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom aren't really affected by it. As I was staying in the peak of hot season, it was pretty warm at times. Water only went out once in the whole month I stayed here, and it was a pretty easy fix to get it running again. As a host, Manuela was incredibly helpful. Even though she was out of the country when I arrived, she was quick to coordinate a friend to show me around, get me the key, all that business. Don't be afraid to call her if you need anything! She seems to really care about the experience of her guests. Final thought: Be careful of the floor. It's coated with some type of red wax, and will permanently stain just about anything it comes into contact with longer than a few minutes. Bags, backpacks, books, electronic cords, clothing... A lot of my stuff has awkward reddish streaks on it now.
Manuela User Profile
Response from Manuela:
Thank you so much for your feedback, Jake! For future guests: it helps to close the window shutters during the afternoon for the room to keep cooler. The AC does reach the big room (I have tried in the hot season) but it needs to run a good half an hour for one to feel the coolness. There are, however, fans in every room, WC included.
March 2016

Stephanie User Profile
May 2015
The reservation was canceled 67 days before arrival. This is an automated posting.

Mayke User Profile
February 2015
It is a nice appartment if you only use it as a place to sleep since the furniture is not really inviting for a relaxing evening. The entrance of the building looks terrible but I guess you can look behind that. The location is very good since everything is within walking distance. The kitchen is well equiped and the bathroom is fine. The apartment is located on the third floor and it is very very warm inside, but I guess many places will have that problem in Stonetown.
Manuela User Profile
Response from Manuela:
The very relevant remark about the looks of the building entrance makes me realize that I should add a paragraph to the description of the flat on the listing. It will run as follows: My flat is inside a building allocated to destitute Swahili families after the 1964 Revolution. These families cook and do many of their everyday activities in the common hall and staircase of the building. As a result, this common area looks rather dingy and certainly not the neat hallway a Westerner may be used to. I find that staying in this flat, however, gives a foreigner the rare opportunity to witness and feel the life of Swahili people.
February 2015

Olaf User Profile
August 2014
it's definitely a great place - a bit of an oasis of calm (if you exclude the imam & cocks in the morning) & beauty in the hustling & bustling stone town. minor organisation details however where a bit unpleasant: you have to pay (rather 'buy') electricity without anybody explaining you how and how much & it took me 4 days to get hold of the key for the front door. and there where a couple of days i had no water. - but that was mainly because i couldn't get hold of the person who then explained me how to use the pump in the building. but never mind, that was solved within some days. as for the cockroaches of the previous commentary: i didn't see a single one. (i actually lived almost insect-free, including mosquitos - if it was not for some small ants in the bath room. so altogether: no doubt i would stay there again!
Manuela User Profile
Response from Manuela:
Thank you very much for your useful commentary. I have now added to the listing description that guests will have to buy electricity units once they spend the amount that is put on the meter by us. Thanks for calling my attention to the fact that this piece of information was missing on the advertisement. As for the shortness of explanations when keys are delivered to guests: I have already called the attention of my partner who is receiving guests in Stone town while I have been away due to health problems. Manuela.
August 2014

Ryan User Profile
July 2014
This apartment is quite nice, especially for the price. The best things about it its location, the neighbors, and the large and well-lit bedroom. I'm only giving 4/5 stars because of two things: First, you have to pay for electricity. It wasn't a big deal and isn't very expensive, but I would have liked to know that up front. Second, I killed 14 cockroaches on my first night in the place. After that, I only saw two over the next 5 weeks. I have no idea what happened before I arrived, but it made for a particularly unpleasant first day. Lest I leave things on an unfairly negative note: I would stay here again. The space itself is quite nice and again, the other people in the building are wonderful.
Manuela User Profile
Response from Manuela:
Thanks, Ryan, for your commentary. I will add to the listing the payment of electricity, as you rightly suggest. In Zanzibar it is not possible to pay electricity monthly, so despite the fact that I always leave electricity for guests when they use it they have to add more. Terribly sorry about the cockroaches. The apartment is always well cleaned and aired before rental but maybe, by mistake, the lid of the hole near the fridge was misplaced and allowed cockroaches in. I know it is our responsibility to make sure that it is well fixed but that is probably what happened :( Thanks for pointing it out to me, anyway.
July 2014

Seth User Profile
May 2014
I had a relaxing, stress free & productive time here. The apt. is perfectly located, a short distance from the ferry, the park, various markets, bars & restaurants. The accomodations were really good and having access to a kitchen was a blessing. The neighbors and their kids were also helpful & friendly.

Jawar User Profile
September 2013
The appartment of Manuela was very comfortable, clean and well located. You can experienced the local life far from the tourists mass. The neighbors were very nice and very friendly. Although it's a bit noisy and the building a bit dirty, as every building in Stone Town.

This host has 40 reviews for other properties.

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Zanzibar Town, TanzaniaJoined in October 2011
Manuela User Profile

I am Portuguese and I am in Zanzibar doing anthropological research. I also teach at the State University of Zanzibar, in Stone Town.

Languages: English, Español, Français, Português
Exact location information is provided after a booking is confirmed.

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