Stone Town’s nightlife starts as the sun begins to set over the ocean, casting a pink glow on the waterfront at Forodhani Gardens. Food vendors trickle in, populating the square in front of the Old Fort with tables of local cuisine; seafood, fresh fruit, kebabs, ‘Zanzibar pizza’, falafel, cassava and green bananas; all beautifully arranged and lit with twinkling oil lanterns. Tunic clad chefs donning bright white toques proudly invite you to browse their offerings. Orders are heated on glowing coals and served with Tanzania’s finest peri peri sauce. Sugar cane juice is pressed in hand mills. Hand mills! It’s a feast for the eyes, I tell you.
Before I get too carried away, it would be false not to admit that the charm of the market is its real selling point. It’s a festive place indeed, and every night it teems with people in search of a snack on a stick or a good conversation in the cool evening air; but there’s definitely a trick to choosing your treat. Precooked seafood is not a great idea, really, but anything prepared on the spot is definitely worth a try. Even if you’re not there for your evening meal, Stone Town’s night market is the place to meet up with friends and enjoy the buzzing atmosphere of the beautiful harbour town.