The majority of shops in Stone Town are located in the western part of the historical quarter, particularly along Kenyatta Road in Shangani and Gizenga Street behind the Old Fort. Wood carvings, Tinga Tinga paintings, and jewelry abound, with many of the shops appearing to have all purchased their contents from the same Dar es Salaam or Nairobi warehouse. There are exceptions, however. Zanzibar Curios, on Gizenga Street (near Old Fort), is a three-story treasure-trove of hidden gems (antique clocks and other objets steeped in Zanzibari history); make sure you set aside at least an hour to explore the innards of this shop and ask to see the higher floors. The other discovery, at least for ladies with a sandal fetish, is Doreen Mashika (tel. 078/636-9777; www.doreenmashika.com). Doreen's shoes -- perfectly proportioned, elegant, strappy beauties, often incorporating Masaai beadwork -- are not exactly cheap, but given that they are real one-off designer items, they are worth every cent. Zanzibari-born Mashika is slowly starting to export to international markets but is as yet a real find; don't miss her shop on Hurumzi Street. If you're shopping for kids, especially girls, it's worth popping into Upendo (meaning Love), a funny little shop located next to Coco de Mer, behind NBC Bank. It is a woman's cooperative, and all profits go toward paying salaries and maintaining the sewing school. And yes, the clothing is pretty cool, too (www.upendomeanslove.com). Lastly, if you've fallen in love with the Omani-influenced Zanzibari furniture so ubiquitous to all the hotels in Stone Town, pick up a few hard-wood pieces from Classic Furniture in Funguni (tel. 077/741-0695; near the Noodle Market) and arrange to have them shipped home.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.