Shoestring hotels in Zanzibar Town
(16 rooms) PO Box 1063, Malindi, Zanzibar; 024 223 7969; 0777
One of the newer additions to the assortment of affordable hotels in Malindi, just 100m from the port, this pleasant place offers good-value accommodation in airy clean rooms with net and fan. Facilities include a common lounge area and paperback book swap service. US$12 pp
Bottoms Up Guesthouse
Named after the attached disreputable bar, this place is hard to find in the narrow alleys between the Spice Inn and the House of Wonders, and was closed for renovation in late 2005. In its previous incarnation the facilities were basic, the bathrooms were dilapidated and the atmosphere at night was not pleasant, but it's possible that this will change when it re-opens in 2006 with rooms in the US$10–20 range. An enduring attraction is the roof terrace where guests used to relax, sunbathe and swap travel tales.
(18 rooms) PO Box 4279,
Zanzibar; 024 2232850; 024 2233144; 0777 491252; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although the surrounding area is a bit noisy, this no-frills place on Mkunazini St is popular with budget travellers for its friendly atmosphere and simple but clean rooms with net and fan. Facilities include TV and video lounge, book-swap service and sale of cold drinks. From the terrace upstairs you get great views of the Anglican Cathedral. Room with shared facilities US$8 pp; en-suite room US$10 pp.
(9 rooms) PO Box 3746, Zanzibar; 024 2235677; 024 2238426; 0777 413660/437132. This is a very friendly and goodvalue place, in the southern part of Stone Town between Soko Muhugo St and Vuga Rd, and many budget travellers have written to recommend it. Makame the manager knows what backpackers want, and offers very simple but clean bedrooms and bathrooms, hot water, and a big b/fast with as much tea and coffee as you like. There's a generator in case of power cuts, an organised safe-deposit system, luggage storage, a kitchen for self-catering (free) and travel information boards about Tanzania and other parts of east Africa. The staff can arrange cheap transfers to the coast, boat trips and tours,
and they also have bikes for hire. US$10 pp.
(9 rooms) PO Box 635, Zanzibar; 024 2233779; 0777 496571; email@example.com.
In a quiet and peaceful quarter of the Mkunazini area, near the Anglican Cathedral and opposite the Green Garden Restaurant, this straightforward little hotel has a range of rooms. It's a good budget place, which has been justifiably popular with backpackers for many years. The rooms are simple and bright but can get a bit hot, in spite of all having AC or a fan. The shared bathrooms are OK. Book in advance to arrange a pick-up from the port. Free tea and coffee available throughout the day, and the on-site internet café charges US$1/hr. US$15/20/30 sgl/dbl/tpl
(14 rooms) PO Box 3257,
Zanzibar; 024 223 0239; 0745 863817; firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the Kokoni area between Malindi St and Creek Rd, a short walk behind the BP petrol station, this is the former Hotel Karwan Sarai. It's a big old house and has a range of rooms; some are large and airy with old wooden shutters leading onto a small balcony overlooking the square, while others are small and dark with no view. Most rooms have en-suite bathroom, all have fans, and some also have TV, while the rooftop lounge has great views across Stone Town. It's a quiet place and good value, but veering towards the soulless. US$15/25 sgl/dbl (negotiable).
(8 rooms) 024 2232359.
In a handy position if you're coming by boat, near the port gates and next to the Ciné Afrique on Malawi Rd, the Malindi Lodge (not to be confused with the Malindi Guesthouse, see above in Budget section) is a good choice in this range. There are just 8 rooms, which are all very simple but clean, light and absolutely spotless. There are no fans, just noisy AC. The shared bathrooms are also basic but clean. This place has links with Sunset Bungalows in Kendwa in northern Zanzibar and can arrange bargain transport there and back. Room with shared facilities US$15 pp; en-suite room US$20/35 sgl/dbl.
(22 rooms) 024 2231918; 024 223 7925; email email@example.com.
Just up the street from the Haven Hotel, this is another friendly budget place, although their penchant for heavy brown furniture makes things a bit cramped. Phone in advance for a pick-up from the port (free), or from the airport (US$2.50). Sgl, dbl and tpl rooms are available, all with en-suite bathroom. US$10 pp.
(11 rooms) 024 2230463; 0748 740300.
In the Malindi area near the port, on Malawi Rd opposite the Passing Show Restaurant, this is a definite budget place, used mainly by locals and a few backpackers. Rooms are quite small and have a fridge, TV and AC (noisy), and bathroom (small and a bit tired), but seem fair value. US$18/25 sgl/dbl.
(11 rooms) PO Box 254, Zanzibar; 024 2233000; 0777 461451/0748 255525; 024 2230045; firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Kokoni St, between the Malindi and Kiponda areas, this long-standing hotel is just behind the Ijumaa Mosque, a short walk back from the seafront. A budget travellers' favourite for many years, and deservedly so, it gets it name from the very steep and narrow staircases (almost ladders) that lead to the upper floors. The rooms have netting, fan and hot water, yet vary in atmosphere: some are large and bright, others small and dark, so choose carefully. The staff are very friendly, and the rooftop restaurant does good cheap food. Overall, it's a good budget choice, offering a free pick-up from the airport or port as well as a book-swap service. US$15/25 sgl/dbl.
(12 rooms) 024 2233188;
Located at the back of the Anglican Cathedral, well ignposted off Tharia St, this basic guesthouse is a fair budget option. Rooms have seen better days but are adequate. This hotel is an agent for the Tazara train on the Tanzanian mainland, and you can buy tickets here. US$10 pp. Victoria House PO Box 4137, Zanzibar; 024 2232861. Near the People's Gardens, this place on Vuga St is old (in fact, back in the early 1980s it was just about the only budget option on the whole island) and is nothing special. Though located in a fairly modern but dilapidated building, it's in a nice position and the spacious rooms all come with fan or AC. Some rooms have shared bathrooms, others are en-suite. US$14 pp (negotiable).