Nightlife in Stone Town

21 Oct

Like any holiday destination, Zanzibar is a bundle of fun when it comes to nightlife. Although it occupies a small portion of the island, there are a variety of things to do in Stone Town when the sun goes down.

things to do in Stone Town
Sunset and sundowners go hand in hand when it comes to holidays, and this is no exception in Stone Town.  Sipping on a cocktail, or mocktail, as the sun slips into the ocean is one of the most popular Zanzibar activities, any day of the week.

Many of the hotels in Zanzibar offer Happy Hour in the early evening, to fuel you as you set off to explore the different bars, nightclubs and restaurants.

Restaurants in Stone Town

To start the ball rolling, you can grab a bite to eat at the night-time food market in Stone Town, which dishes up grilled fish, meat and vegetables along with pesto balls, naan bread and fiery samosas. Alternatively, there are a number of fine Zanzibar restaurants about town that will do the job just as well in a more formal fashion. The Market Kitchen at Essque Zalu Zanzibar, is one such place, offering up a vast range of delectable cosmopolitan fare, in a stylish setting.

Zanzibar Restaurants
Bars in Stone Town

The Terrace Bar at the Africa House Hotel is an institution among tourists to the islands, and people have been meeting there for drinks since the Queen was in charge of Zanzibar.  Don’t miss out on the opportunity to try a hubbly bubbly, or shisha pipe, while you are there.

Mercury’s, named after Stone Town’s favourite son, Freddie Mercury, celebrates happy ‘hour’ from 5pm to 8pm every evening and is another hotspot for visitors to the island.

Essque Zalu Zanzibar features not one, but too vibrant bars: The Jetty and the Baobab Bar. Set against a backdrop of the Indian Ocean, The Jetty is one of the hotel’s most striking features, jutting dramatically out from the shoreline. Taste modern Arabic cuisine and sample the talents of the expert mixologist. The Baobab Bar is ideal for day-end sundowners and boasts delicious cocktails perfect for pairing with the setting sun.

Zanzibar Activities
Nightclubs in Stone Town

The Garage Club is your best option for unleashing your dancing talent on the unsuspecting nightlife of Stone Town, to an eclectic mix of hip-hop, house, reggae, and African and European pop, played at full volume until the wee hours.  With air-conditioning, reasonable entry fees and trendy black and white décor, the Garage Club sets the scene for many a memorable night on the town in Zanzibar.

To find out more about activities in Stone Town, or to book your trip to Zanzibar, simply contact Essque Zalu Zanzibar on +255 778 683 960 or

Interview with Chef Jussi Husa

14 Oct

Dining at Essque Zalu Zanzibar is an exceptional experience, with three distinctive restaurants to choose from. Each of these are led by renowned Executive Chef Jussi Husa.

Jussi Husa

Born and raised in Orebro, Sweden, Jussi moved to Zanzibar over 19 years ago, and joined the culinary team at Essque in 2011. He discovered his passion for food when he was just 14 years old, and has spent almost half a decade honing his skills and developing his reputation.

To provide some insight into the man behind the magic, we took a few minutes to sit down with him, delving into his tastes, past experiences, culinary ethos, and more.

Q: How long have you been cooking professionally?  
A: For 40 years. I started as a commis while still in school.

Q: Why did you decide to become a chef?
A: After I completed an attachment in a restaurant kitchen, I just knew that this was what I wanted to do.

Q: Where did you train to cook?
A: The basics in a restaurant school in my home town Orebro, then through practise in all places of work.

Zanzibar Restaurants
Q: How would you describe your style of cooking?
A: Traditionally Swedish, with a modern/Mediterranean touch.

Q: Do you have a favourite ingredient?
A: Not really, favourites come and go. There is always something new to experiment with.

Q: If you were to dine at Essque as a guest, what would you order and why?
A: I’d probably order Chef’s suggestion, or maybe something local.

Q: What you do on your days off?
A: I mostly stay at home, or go to the beach. I also enjoy hosting lunches at my house for friends and neighbours.

Q: What is your favourite food to eat?
A: Currently, Swedish sausages I brought with me from my home country, and tapas/mezze kind of food. Other times I enjoy sandwiches and pastas of all kinds. In Sweden, I always like the traditional Swedish cuisine.

Restaurants in Zanzibar
Q: What is your most interesting memory from your time working in restaurants?
A: There are a lot I suppose, but my first “kitchen” in Zanzibar had no electricity, no running water and no gas – we cooked on fire wood and kerosene stoves.

Q: Is there another chef that you most admire? Who and why?
A: There are many, I admire all chefs who are so committed to their work, and who make a wide range of fantastic new dishes. Anton Husa, my nephew, is one of them. He recently won the Best Young Chef competition in Sweden and will represent Sweden in the world finals this year.

Q: Is there a secret to running a successful restaurant?
A: Lot of hard work

Q: Any advice you would give to someone wanting to become a chef?  
A: Be committed, and enjoy what you do.

Essque Zalu Zanzibar Restaurant
To find out more about Chef Jussi Husa, or to book your stay at Essque Zalu Zanzibar, simply visit our website, email or phone +255 778 683 960, today.

Sauti Za Busara Festival 2015

16 Feb

Music communicates with all of us, regardless of age, gender, language, religion or politics. It teaches us to respect our differences and value diversity.’ – Yusuf Mahmoud, director of the Sauti Za Busara festival.

Image by: sci-culturist
One of several festivals in Zanzibar, Sauti za Busara, aka the Zanzibar Music Festival, unites music lovers from around the world in a three-day celebration of peace and cooperation.  The name means ‘sounds of wisdom’ and Sauti Za Busara, proudly lays claim to its reputation as the friendliest festival on the planet.

The event has a large following, and is the best attended of all Zanzibar festivals, with ticket sales increasing by 500% since the inaugural event in 2004.  This is a huge boost to Zanzibar tourism, with Zanzibar accommodation establishments enjoying record figures during this time every year.

Some of the highlights of the 2015 event include a ‘Best of the Best’ feature with all the audience favourites from past events, and an African Music Film festival, featuring music videos, documentaries and footage from live concerts. The festival market place will have a range of goods on sale from food, to fashion and CD’s to curios.

Image by: sci-culturist

Arts professionals from all over Africa, and beyond, will have the opportunity to compare notes at daily networking workshops during the event, and a variety of side-line activities will also be on the go, such as traditional drumming and dancing, dhow races, fashion shows, open-mic sessions, taarab orchestra shows and lots of after-parties.

There are over 200 performers booked for this year’s event, which takes place from 12 to 15 February in Stone Town, Zanzibar.  Although the focus is firmly on Tanzanian talent, there are acts from all over Africa including Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Mozambique and Madagascar.

Tanzanian performers are eligible to participate in the ‘Songs for Peace’ competition taking place on the Thursday and Sunday during the festival and stand a chance of winning fantastic cash prizes. To be eligible for this fixture, the band must compose and perform a song, including Swahili lyrics, around the theme ‘Peace and Unity’.

Image by: Jordan Sitkin
You can view a list of the acts and book tickets on the official website, or stay connected via Facebook and twitter for all the latest news on what to do in Zanzibar during the festival.

Have you visited this event before?

Valentine’s Special at Essque Zalu Zanzibar

9 Feb

Essque Zalu Zanzibar are pulling out all the stops for the ‘Month of Love’ with a “Soul to Soul Valentine’s Weekend” from the 13th till the 15th of February 2015.

Zanzibar Hotel

You and your loved one will be treated to a two-night stay at this luxury Zanzibar hotel, complete with a romantic line-up of gourmet meals and exciting activities, for just US $ 1100 per couple, per room.

Friday 13, 2015

The weekend-of-love kicks off with a Market Kitchen Dinner, where you will feast upon delectable cuisine, whilst being serenaded by a live band. Next up, you and your significant other can sit back, relax, and watch the Rocky Horror Picture Show – under the stars.

Saturday 14, 2015

On Valentine’s Day, guests will start the day off on a luxurious note – spoiled with a lavish champagne breakfast in bed. The mood of relaxation continues with a Velvet Seduction couples treatment at the spa during the day, followed by cocktails on the Jetty at sunset.

Zanzibar Sunset

The day’s highlight is the scrumptious “7 Sins Dinner” accompanied by the soulful tunes of Mad Ice – an incredible East-African Afro-Soul artist.

Experiencing the “Soul to Soul Valentine’s Weekend” at Essque Zalu Zanzibar will provide you and your loved one with an unforgettable romantic getaway. If you wish to stay on following the weekend, additional nights will be charged at US$ 375 on a half-board basis.

To secure your place at this luxury, Zanzibar hotel over Valentine’s Day, contact +255 778 683960, or simply email


Essque Zalu Zanzibar to Join Per AQUUM Portfolio in 2015

5 Feb

On December 19, 2014, Minor Hotel Group (MHG) – Thailand-based hotel owner, operator and investor – announced the addition of a resort in Zanzibar: our very own Essque Zalu Zanzibar. Having recently taken over the management contract, the property will join the luxury boutique hotel brand Per AQUUM portfolio by the end of 2015.                                                                                                                               Zanzibar Hotel
At present, Essque Zalu Zanzibar is owned by Maisha Ltd, under majority shareholding of Musstir, one of Oman’s leading property development and investment firms. The partnership represents a true meeting of great minds, as the boutique hotel team shares Per AQUUM’s passion for defying expectations and delivering luxury of an exclusive nature.

Dillip Rajakarier, Chief Executive Officer of Minor Hotel Group, commented:

“We have stated that our goal is to add at least five properties to Per AQUUM’s portfolio within the next five years, mirroring Minor Hotel Group’s current footprint, so this new management contract demonstrates that we are delivering on our promise to offer even more choice to our loyal guests and valued trade partners.”

Providing historical context, in July 2013, MHG entered into a joint venture strategic partnership with Universal Enterprises PTY LTD for luxury brand Per AQUUM. Adding these five additional properties is part of MHG and Universal’s aim to develop and invest in the brand, extending their footprint across Asia, the Indian Ocean, Africa and the Middle East.

Zanzibar Luxury Accommodation
Per AQUUM’s portfolio currently includes three award-winning properties – Huvafen Fushi and NIYAMA in the Maldives, and Desert Palm in Dubai. The brand is renowned for its unique hotels, and modern, environmentally responsible designs.

Speaking about Essque, Cyril Piaia, Chief Executive Officer of Musstir, said:

“Essque Zalu Zanzibar has already established a reputation worldwide as one of the leading luxury boutique hotels in the region so we are extremely selective about our partners. Per AQUUM is a natural fit as we share the same values and the team has a proven track record of successfully managing luxury boutique hotels.

He finished off by saying: “we are looking forward to the end of next year when Essque Zalu Zanzibar will be added to Per AQUUM’s portfolio, especially given the calibre of the other properties in the Maldives and the UAE.”

Taking Advantage of Cheap Off-Season Travel Rates to Zanzibar

23 Jan

Think Zanzibar and images of spice markets, palm-fringed beaches, and white-sailed dhows on a turquoise sea dreamily come to mind – and the reality does not disappoint.

Offering a vibrant mix of Middle Eastern and African culture, exotic scents, and exquisite cuisine, the Zanzibar Archipelago is a breath-taking spot to escape from the world, and this month, with the least amount of rainfall, amazing off-season travels deals and affordable accommodation, is the perfect time to visit.

Zanzibar Beaches

Located in the Indian Ocean, 15 miles off the coast of Tanzania, gin-clear, turquoise-blue waters cover a myriad marine life; shallow, ivory sandbars are perfect for wading in the warm waters; and a network of small, nearly deserted islands offer secluded retreats.

January is a fantastic time to visit these idyllic islands as the crazy holiday rush is over so you’ll have the beaches to yourself. Likewise, the weather is balmy and beautiful, and the water clear and warm. It’s also a good time to find some great off-season specials on flights and accommodation, so be sure to check in with us for the latest deals.

Diving in Zanzibar

The long, footprint-free stretches of palm-lined sands promise a luxurious beach holiday, of long sunny days on a hammock with a book, while the surrounding waters offer some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world. Luxurious accommodation can be found all over the island, ranging from romantic guesthouses overlooking beautiful bays to five-star resorts and hotels with private beaches and at this time of the year, you are bound to find great deals and special rates on accommodation.

Experience scintillating spice tours, taste exotic local dishes, and explore the network of alleyways that wind past Arabic-style houses with brass-studded wooden doors in the World Heritage Site of Stone Town. Visit the colourful back-street markets of Zanzibar City’s old quarter and watch elderly men playing bao, while women pause to chat in their in their flowing bui-bui. Absorb the laid-back way of life on this island paradise that moves to the rhythm of the tides and the winds of the monsoon.

Travel to Zanzibar

Offering an enchanting blend of luxurious beach life and age-old culture, travelling to Zanzibar is a sensory experience par excellence and one not to be missed!

Celebrate Zanzibar Revolution Day

12 Jan

Think Zanzibar and long white beaches flanked by swaying green palms and azure waters gently lapping the shore come to mind – images of pure tranquillity. However, this tiny island nation has had its fair share of tumultuous history, including the infamous Zanzibar Revolution Day, which saw a revolutionary uprising of her people.giampiero Ridella
Celebrated every 12th of January, Zanzibar Revolution Day is held to commemorate the day the people of Zanzibar overthrew their Sultanate administration. In 1963, Zanzibar Island was granted independence from Britain. However in July of the same year, the Sultanate government held parliamentary elections which resulted in the Arab minority retaining power and making Zanzibar an overseas territory of Oman, despite winning 54% of the votes.

This political dupery provoked and angered the African majority of the island and to solve the problem, the Afro Shirazi Party (ASP) joined forces with the Umma Party to fight back. On 12th January 1964, the ASP, led by John Okello, mobilised around 600 revolutionaries to Zanzibar town and overthrew the Sultanate government on a day that will be forever remembered as Zanzibar’s Revolutionary Day.

Zanzibarians celebrate this all-important day on their calendar with splendor and vigor. Gun salutes and ship horns fill the air from the Forodhani Waterfront and the Maisara Grounds, with celebrations continuing well into the night and joining the locals in these festivities is an experience not to be missed!      Giuseppe Moscato
Zanzibar’s rich history incorporates a myriad of cultures, which transport you back in time, ranging from ancient Persia and Oman’s caliphs and sultans, to the heavily laden scents of India. Uniquely East African flavours assault the senses, from the network of alleyways that wind past Arabic-style houses with brass-studded wooden doors and the tall, traditionally garbed Maasai striding across the beaches to the colourful back-street markets of Zanzibar City’s old quarter filled with Swahili and Indian traders in long salwar kameezes and embroidered skullcaps.

Located in the Indian Ocean, 15 miles off the coast of Tanzania and comprising two large islands fringed by many more, the Zanzibar Archipelago vies with the Serengeti as Tanzania’s most precious natural asset, able to mesmerise the most jaded traveller into pensive contemplation. For an ultra-luxurious, unforgettable stay in Zanzibar, visit Essque Zalu Zanzibar on the northeast coast of the island.