The Zanzibar Archives
For real aficionados, the Zanzibar Archives (Nyaraka za Taifa
in Swahili) contain some fascinating material. This includes many books and manuscripts in Arabic dating from the 17th century, when the Omani sultans took control of Zanzibar; consular and protectorate records from the British colonial times; papers and documents relating to the various European expeditions that started from Zanzibar in the second half of the 19th century; plus a lot of contemporary material such as stamps, newspapers, maps and photographs.
If there is something of special interest, the staff on duty can help you search through the collections. If you just want to browse there is an exhibition room, where some selected items of interest are on display.
The archives are situated outside the main town, about 2km along Nyerere road from the Mnazi Moja Hospital, in an area called kilimani. To get there take a dala-dala
on route u and asked to be dropped at Nyaraka za Taifa, or at the prison. The dala-dala will stop at the bottom of Kinuamiguu Hill (the only hill on this road); turn left (north) off Nyerere road, then take the first road on the right.
More information is available from the head of the national archives, or have a look at the (not directly related) website (www.zanzibar-archives.com).
PO Box 116, Zanzibar; ø 024 230342; entrance free; open Mon–Fri 07.30–15.30, Sat 07.30–2.00.