The Spice Markets of Zanzibar: Exploring “The Souk”

Zanzibar Souk Marketplace

The main souk in Zanzibar’s Stonetown is a buffet for the senses. Check out these photos from the Zanzibar souk marketplace!

The Arabic term “souk” generally refers to the commercial district of a city. In Stonetown, the souk is where you can buy just about anything. Merchants sell produce, flora and fauna from all over the island of Zanzibar. There are huge stacks of fruits Next to them you will find the vegetables. Behind them are some headless fish. Further along you find the goats. Alongside the goats are the chickens. Over to the right you see a table of dried sea creatures with tentacles.

Wandering through the souk is a wild ride. Especially for those of us who know well-lit supermarkets with neat rows of cans. Conversely, you quickly discover that in the souk there is a buying lane. In addition, there is a “keep moving” lane. Once you’re in the moving lane, there’s really no way to stop until you jump off. At least, not until you are at the next fruit, veggie or meat stand. The souk is colorful. It’s humid. It’s dark, noisy and smells like fish. Red meat hangs in front of you and a butcher asks you how much lamb you want to buy.

Bop to the Head in the Zanzibar Souk Marketplace

I went in for a closer look at some Jackfruit. The Jackfruit is the largest tree-borne fruit in the world. In fact, some Jackfruit can weigh up to 80 lbs. I frequently heard that Jackfruit smells really bad. Kind of like rotting meat. As I leaned over, I muttered something under my breath about dead animals. Instantly a sharp blow came in from the left. Realizing the seller just whacked in the head with a newspaper, I looked up, dazed. “No smell!”, I was told.

The souk is a lot of things. Here are a few of them!

 

Chiles, peppers and peas from the market in Stonetown, Zanzibar Souk Marketplace.

Zanzibar Souk Marketplace photo of seafood.

Fruit photography from Zanzibar Souk Marketplace

The meat market in Stonetown, Zanzibar Souk Marketplace.

Chickens at the souk market in Tanzania, Zanzibar Souk Marketplace.

Zanzibar Souk Marketplace photo of chickens.

Zanzibar Souk Marketplace vegetables.

Zanzibar Souk Marketplace photo of seafood.

Zanzibar Souk Marketplace

Zanzibar Souk Marketplace fruits.

Zanzibar Souk Marketplace seafood.

Zanzibar Souk Marketplace spices.

 

Keep exploring Zanzibar with the posts below!

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