About this listing
NOTE: ONLY AVAILABLE DURING THE MONTH OF OCTOBER 2015. MINIMUM PERIOD OF RENTAL: 15 DAYS.
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 in the fall of 2009, exhibiting 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 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 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).
I kindly request guests:
(a) To repair or replace items which were damaged or broken during their stay;
(b) Not to stick or hang things on the walls. The walls are made of coral stone and the wall paint comes off easily.
(c) Many guests walk barefoot and then lie in bed with the feet on the walls. The floor is treated with red wax and the walls get very dirty. The only solution is to repaint them. I beg you to take care :)
About the Host, Manuela
I am Portuguese and I am in Zanzibar doing anthropological research. I also teach at the State University of Zanzibar, in Stone Town. I love the beach, snorkeling, etc, so I decided to go into this business with my friend Ahmed. Ahmed and I like to take very good care of our guests and arrange all sorts of visits and programs for them at very reasonable prices.