Mbweni Ruins

Historic Site in Zanzibar Town

The upmarket suburb of Mbweni, 5km south of Zanzibar Town, was a Universities Mission to Central Africa (UMCA) base and settlement for former slaves in the 19th century. The ruins of St Mary’s School for Girls, built by missionaries for girls freed from slave ships, is now set amid the lush gardens of Mbweni Ruins Hotel. It's an evocative spot, but a long trek from Stone Town, so best combined with a visit to the hotel's restaurant or private beach.

Near Mbweni Ruins is St John's Anglican Church, another thought-provoking reminder of the colonial missionary era. The caretaker-guide is a direct descendant of a freed slave who became the UMCA's first African deacon (junior priest).