Built for Sultan Seyyid Said in 1828, Mtoni is the oldest palace on Zanzibar. It was home to sultan’s only legitimate wife, many secondary wives and hundreds of children. Located overlooking the sea, the palace was a beautiful building with a balconied exterior, a large garden courtyard complete with peacocks and gazelles, an observation turret and a mosque. Now only an artful ruin remains with grand, roofless halls and arabesque arches framing glimpses of tropical foliage and an azure sea.
On Tuesday and Friday, nearby Mtoni Marine hosts a magical candlelit buffet dinner in the roofless halls accompanied by haunting traditional music (Tsh45,000 per person).
To get here head north on the Bububu road, from where the ruins are signposted to the west.