Zanzibar Hotels

Zenji Hotel Zanzibar

Zenji is more than just a hotel. Zenji is a project that has been set up on Zanzibar in order to help the poorest locals make the greatest gains from the island’s expanding tourist industry. The hotel, located in he heart of Stone Town, is one example of the Zenji enterprise. All the hotel’s furniture is made by craftsmen on the island, food is bought locally and staff are all local. Staff benefit from training while working at the hotel. The hotel is on the first and second floors and the rooftop of a traditional Zanzibari building without a lift.

Accommodation at Zenji Hotel, Zanzibar

The hotel has only 9 rooms so early booking is most necessary! Each room is individually themed and priced. There are 7 rooms and two suites. Two of the rooms (Colours of Kanga and Treasure Chamber) share a bathroom. The rest enjoy private facilities. Most rooms have balconies (not Colours of Kanga or Sense of Jasmine) and are reasonably sized. Colours of Kanga has a double bed but due to its size is rightly advertised as a single room.

All rooms have both ceiling fans and air-conditioning. The rooms are basic but comfortable, most are of a good size and all are tastefully decorated in traditional Swahili style. WiFi is available in many parts of the building.

While the accommodation is very comfortable, the downside of the hotel’s exceptionally central location is that being near to the port it does get noisy at times. However, between the port, the early markets and the mosques, Stone Town is not the best place to stay for a good night’s sleep wherever you choose to rest your head.

Food, Drink and Service at Zenji Hotel, Zanzibar

The Zenji Zanzibar offers a bed and breakfast package. Breakfast is good and substantial. It is served on the hotel’s rooftop terrace which boasts a good view over raucously busy Stone Town. Breakfast includes handmade breads, jams and chutneys, chocolate cake, eggs cooked to order and fresh fruit as well as fruit juices, a selection of teas and western style coffees.

Below the hotel is the Zenji Café and Boutique. This is a craft-gift shop selling the wares of small local traders and serving teas coffees and desserts (ice cream and brownies) on its terrace.

Staff are very friendly and keen to help make your stay in Stone Town enjoyable. Welcome drinks and extra touches separate the Zenji from some of the other hotels in its category. Staff will help organise taxis for excursions and are very knowledgeable about the area. The hotel is very clean and well-cared for.

Things to do at Zenji Hotel, Zanzibar

As well as being located at the heart of Stone Town, with all the city’s various attractions within walking distance, the hotel offers a number of additional tours and excursions. These include a Cultural Night Tour (including a meal at a traditional local school), Swahili Cooking Workshop, Sunset Cruise, Spice Plantation Tours, Bicycle Tours, Private Palace Concerts at Princess Salame’s Palace including coffees or dinner (transport to Mtoni not included), Snorkelling, Prison Island, Chumbe Island Coral Park (day trip) and Safari Blue, Jozani Forest and Dolphin Trips. Tours and excursions do add up in cost so choose carefully. All are worth doing but not all are for everybody.

The hotel can help arrange car, motorcycle and bicycle hire as well as arranging hotel transfers.

It is important to remember that, though a UNESCO site, Stone Town is not a pristine city and suffers from extreme poverty in parts (projects like Zenji are working to combat this). Expect street sellers and beggars to approach you. During daylight hours this should not be considered threatening.

How to get to Zenji Hotel Zanzibar

The hotel is located near Stone Town’s port near the Waterfront on the Malawi road.

The hotel can arrange transfers within Zanzibar for the following (reasonable) set rates: Shared transfers-USD 10 pp, Private Transfers-USD 60 to East Coast, USD 70 to Michamvi and Breezes, USD 60 to West Coast, USD 60 to South Coast, Airport Pickup USD 15, Airport drop off USD 13.

Stone Town itself lies approximately 7 km from Zanzibar airport. The taxi takes approximately 15 minutes to reach the town. Ferry routes link Stone Town with Dar es Salaam daily and with Pemba less frequently. Passengers are warned to beware ticket touts when buying ferry tickets and advised to take the faster, more expensive ferry as travellers have raised safety concerns with the older slower stock of boats.

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