Food lovers and culture vultures will love this chaotic market, fringing the old part of Stone Town and spilling out onto side streets from beneath a gable-fronted awning. Dried squid, barrows of fresh fruit, packets of spices and meat weighed out on big brass scales – this is where Zanzibaris come to get their food fix.
Visitors can take part in a traditional Swahili cooking class. A local teacher will meet you at Dharajani Market and lead you into the maze of live chickens and sacks heaving with spices. With the help of your teacher, decide on a traditional recipe (such as aromatic rice pilau, or kaimati – syrupy spiced dough balls).
Brave the barrage of hawkers and tick o a shopping list of ingredients before travelling by daladala (local open-air taxi) to your host’s home. Here you’ll sit on a straw mat around an open fire and learn how to cook and eat in traditional Swahili style.
DHARAJANI MARKET + SWAHILI COOKING CLASS Photo Gallery
Turn east from the garden to go down a road, barred to traffic, which leads to the High Street after passing under the railway and by the station (on the Edinburgh-Glasgow/Stirling lines). The station was modernised in 1985 and opened by the well-known local MP Tam Dalyell. There’s a colourful mural in the upper hall, worth seeing. Linlithgow had an ancient right to levy tolls, which it did on roads and then on the travel destination. The railway, however, refused to pay and despite various courts upholding the town, the House of Lords finally favoured no tolls for railways. The road comes out onto the High Street near the one-time High Port, beside the welcoming Star and Garter Hotel, a black and white confection rather like an English coaching inn. Dating back to 1760 it was gutted by fire in 2010 and restored. Head left along the High Street, a hotchpotch of styles and periods with an unfortunate flat-roofed view-stopper to the east. A weathered figure of St Michael with the town’s coat of arms stands on one of the many old wells, dated 1720 and inscribed ‘St Michael is kinde to straingers’. Across the High Street are several 16th- and 17th-century houses.
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