See How The Locals Live On a Colourful Jogging Tour of Stonetown

Stonetown sightseeing
Stonetown sights

Running in Stonetown

It is no secret that I love running. I am at my most miserable when struck by injury and denied regular exercise. Wine and food are no substitute for the head space and buzz I get from a run in fresh air, but sadly that’s how I indulge if I cannot get my running fix.

Running on holiday is the absolute bomb for me combining both my love of travel and my love of running. So, today I am going to share our experience of running in Stonetown, Zanzibar. This may seem like a bizarre topic to cover on a travel blog but bear with me…


I heard recently there is a new term for people who run while travelling. Danielle at the Thoughtcard had me chuckling with her ‘sightjogging’ comment which was part inspiration for this post. A run around Stonetown may be a hot, sweaty and chaotic experience, but it truly is a great way to get a glimpse of local life away from the tourist hotspots.

The Old town, Stonetown, Zanzibar
Narrow alleys in Stonetown, Zanzibar

Stonetown by foot

Thankfully, the main roads largely circumnavigate the old town of Stonetown so selecting a route is not difficult even though we are not yet familiar with the town. We choose to roughly follow the circuit and follow our nose. This is my usual approach to running overseas but be warned, this does need a reasonable sense of direction.

I am however, all for getting lost when running, providing that does not get me into hot water in dangerous territory. Simply exercise common sense and if something seems a little remote, or you are sensing negative vibes, it may be sensible to backtrack. Thankfully, I have never had to do this, but I am constantly alert when running overseas and do not run with music.

Stonetown running circuit

This run is a sightjogging dream. Sadly, my Garmin did not pick up a signal for the first part of our run so it looks to you as though we just abruptly stopped, but if you want to recreate it yourself, here you go!

jogging route in Zanzibar
jogging route in Stonetown Zanzibar

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Our running experience in Stonetown

Locals seem rather bemused by two white farangs, racing through the dusty streets at the crack of dawn. We are greeted by endless calls of ‘Jambo’ and ‘How are you, my friend’ floating on the breeze. The air is hot and humid, and I struggle to speak, resorting simply to a exuberant thumbs up signs. I sincerely hope this is not some rude gesture causing offense in Zanzibar!

We pass through tiny, dirty streets of ramshackle stalls selling household goods and brightly coloured clothing. I have the route mapped in my mind, and although Jason tries to suggest I am going in the wrong direction, I know different. We clatter through a fish market selling foul smelling produce, nimbly sidestepping vendors carrying baskets precariously on their heads. The roads do not quite resemble the wide thoroughfares depicted on the map, but we head in what we think is the right direction, careering around narrow pot-holed alleys before rejoining the main road.

Stonetown old town
The old town of Stonetown

Ancient trucks belch fumes, cyclists almost run into us and motorbikes jostle for position with our weary legs. We hear shouts of ‘yay, exercise’ as we jump over puddles, nimbly avoid reversing buses and oblivious locals intent on achieving their shopping goals.

We take a short cut through the grounds of the Zanzibar government house. Although I don’t see any signs prohibiting this, I half expect to hear bullets whizzing towards at us, our punishment for trespassing on this hallowed ground. Thankfully we make it through without incident. Other than crazy traffic and locals with no sense of spatial awareness, the biggest threat is from the dark grey rainclouds overhead.

Zanzibar weather

There’s a faint hint of drizzle in the air, which provides some welcome relief from the intensity of the heat. Before long, we somehow make it back to our hotel, the Doubletree Stonetown (click on the link to read our review). Just in time too, as raindrops as big as pebbles are unleashed no sooner have we staggered back into reception.

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How do you keep fit when travelling?

What do you do for exercise when travelling? I would love to hear from you if you have had similiar experiences.

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About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of Frommilestosmiles. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 90 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money-saving travel tips


  1. This is the first time I’ve heard of sightjogging, I do this minus the jogging, haha. I love exploring cities by foot (walking), there’s so much to see. But jogging is definitely one of the best ways to see a new city.

  2. Sightrunning was not something I’ve done before. I really think, after reading this post, that I should do it in my next travels!

  3. Sightjogging is a new one on me! I actually hate jogging but would definitely walk a route like this. Jogging you would see more & keep fit too but i prefer a more leisurely stroll! I would probably have fallen in the potholes anyway instead of leaping over them 🙂

  4. Danielle Desir

    I love how vocal the locals were encouraging you to run and exercise. I especially love the comment “Yay, exercise!” And I’m so glad to see that sight jogging is becoming more of a thing =)

  5. This is inspiring! I rationalize that I’m walking miles daily and that’s my exercise. I may get grumpy not having my camera but this could be a lot of fun.

  6. I have to admit, I’m not much of a jogger myself however I do like to explore new towns and cities I visit by foot, I can spend all day walking around taking in my new surroundings when I travel. I didn’t even know there was a thing called sightjogging, let alone tours for it.

  7. Had been on one of those early morning jogging tours in Taiwan. Your post kinda reminded me of that, though the two places dont have much in common. How I would love to laze on a beach in ZNZ after a morning jog like this!

  8. I try and do the walking tours of the new place I arrive at . That helps to keep fit.
    Jogging tracks too sound as a good option. Photography may not be possible though.

  9. Wow – you’re brave to be out running in strange places! I’m a runner also, and I’ve enjoyed “sightrunning” through parts of Paris, Tokyo, London and other big cities. Good for you that you keep the healthy habits going while on the road!

    • Oh wow, I remember a really long run I did in Tokyo as I was training for a half marathon. such a great way to see a new city

  10. Oh that’s a great term, sightjogging! I remember once having to pass through in the car somewhere we didn’t have time to visit and I grabbed a couple of photos through the window! Jogging seems way better as you are interacting with the city, able to cover a lot of ground and can stop whenever you like to enjoy what is there!

  11. Wow what a unique post! We first saw sightjogging or jogging tours in Boston and found it to be so incredible. What a perfect idea to exercise but still take breaks to take in the sites. Love it! Great post.

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