Kidichi Persian Baths
The Persian Baths at Kidichi lie to the northeast of Zanzibar Town, about 4km inland from the main coast road, in the island's main clove and coconut plantation area. The baths were built in 1850 for Sultan Said. He owned land in this part of the island, and he and his second wife, Binte Irich Mirza (also called Schesade, more often written Sherazade), would come here for hunting or to oversee the work being done on their plantations. The bath-house was constructed so that they could refresh themselves after the journey from town. Schesade was a granddaughter of the Shah of Persia, so the baths were built in the Persian style, with decorative stucco work. An underground furnace kept the water warm. A small resthouse was also built nearby, but none of this remains.
Today, you can enter the bath-house, and see the changing room, bathing pool and massage tables. Unfortunately, the bath-house has not been especially well maintained, and there is mould growing on much of the stucco. A colony of bats seems to have taken up residence here as well. At the top of the domed ceiling is a circle of small windows: these used to be stained glass, which cast patterns of coloured light over the white walls.
To reach Kidichi, continue up the main road northwards from Zanzibar Town to Bububu. At the police station, turn right onto a new tar road that leads through coconut palms and clove plantations, and past a long row of souvenir stalls selling spices and other goods. After about 4km the bath-house, a domed white building, is seen on the right, just a few metres off the dirt road. There are several more spice–souvenir stalls here, and in the surrounding area several houses where tour groups go for lunch.
Kizimbani Persian Baths
Near Kidichi, these baths were also built in the Persian style for Sultan Said, at about the same time as the baths at Kidichi which they resemble, though there is no interior decoration. The surrounding plantations originally belonged to Saleh bin Haramil, the Arab trader who imported the first cloves to Zanzibar, but they were confiscated by Sultan Said on the grounds that Saleh was a slave smuggler. Today the experimental station is the island's centre for agricultural research.
To reach the baths from Kidichi, continue eastwards along the tar road. After about 2km, at a crossroads, there are roads left (north) to Mfenesini and Selem, and right (south) to Mwendo and Mwera. Go straight on, along a dirt road, passing through plantations, to reach the Kizimbani Experimental Station headquarters. The baths are on the right of the track.