Zanzibar City is the economic and government capital of the Zanzibar Archipelago. The city is divided into two sections, Stone Town and Ng’ambo. Ng’ambo is the newer area focused on economics and growth. Stone Town is the center of all tourism in the city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Unless you are visiting on business, you will likely not find a reason to visit Ng’ambo.
Due to the huge numbers of tourists visiting the area, prices have increased drastically in the past ten years. However, it is still possible to find reasonably priced accommodation. Though there are no hostels in the city, many smaller hotels offer single rooms with a shared bathroom for a discounted price. Be ready to climb winding staircases at almost all of the hotels in the city; the buildings are all tall and thin!
Because Stone Town is a labyrinth of small alleys and multi-story structures, you won’t need to pay for taxis; vehicles can’t get down most of the “roads” in this area. Almost everything is within walking distance and when you realize that you’re lost in the maze, there are plenty of young Tanzanians ready to offer their guide services for a reasonable fee.
There is an unlimited selection of food in all price ranges. Being right on the Indian Ocean, the seafood is delicious, but can be pricey even at some of the local restaurants so shop around before deciding where to dine. Every evening there is a food market set up at the waterfront which can be the best place to try some of the local seafood and delicacies.
Due to the Muslim culture of the Zanzibar Archipelago, some restaurants and hotels won’t serve or allow alcohol. If you want drinks with dinner, you won’t have a problem finding places that do serve or shops that sell it.