We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Get directions
Address: Mizingani Rd, Stone Town, Zanzibar City, Tanzania
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Stone Town and Prison Island Half-Day Tour from Zanzibar
Why book on Viator?
  • Tour highlights & full itinerary
  • Easy online booking
  • Lowest price guaranteed
More Information ›

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 485 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 37
  • 76
    Very good
  • 96
  • 63
  • 33
Sad neglected building

The tour guide explained the history of the building but you weren't allowed iin, even though the doors were open. In desperate need of renovation. Some of the homeless were... read more

2 of 5 bubblesReviewed 2 weeks ago
Barb L
via mobile

Similar Things to Do in Stone Town

Add Photo Write a Review

485 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
  • More
Showing 305: English reviews
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

The tour guide explained the history of the building but you weren't allowed iin, even though the doors were open. In desperate need of renovation. Some of the homeless were sleeping on the verandah, so at least they had a roof over their head.

1 Thank Barb L
Belgrade, Serbia
Level Contributor
1,122 reviews
951 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 748 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

This edifice is certainly the most imposing bldg of Zanzibar. It dominates the skyline and is easily seen from sea when returning from Prison island. It was the ceremonial palace of the second Omani sultan, son of the first one who built the palace which is now Palace museum (200 m ahead). It is called House of wonders because it... More 

1 Thank B1714D
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

It sounded very lavish for its day (1883) and amazing with interesting historic displays. "The grandest structure in Zanzibar" according to the latest Lonely Planet Tanzania. However, Lonely Planet also says it has been closed since 2012 until further notice. Because of neglect it is unsafe. It was certainly still closed when we there last month (Feb 2017)

Thank CarolynL23
Bratislava, Slovakia
Level Contributor
27 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

We just walked in and wanted to take a look around. But the tour guide Ali Joseph made such a difference - he told us so many interesting stories about Zanzibar history. He was one of the best guides we've ever had anywhere. We really enjoyed it!

Thank JMcDonnell
Multan, Pakistan
Level Contributor
179 reviews
172 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 February 2017

The House of Wonders, called Beit al-Ajaib in Arabic, is an old style magnificent and imposing building of 19th century, built around 1883 as ceremonial palace for Sultan Barghash bin Said, the second Sultan of Zanzibar (then called Zanjibar). It was called House of Wonders because it was the first building in East Africa to have electricity and an elevator.... More 

Thank Tassaduqhussain51
Maur, Switzerland
Level Contributor
120 reviews
66 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 February 2017

The building is very representative with its circaling balconies. It has a prominant posicion close to the shore. We visited only the exterior.

Thank Joachim O
Cape Town, South Africa
Level Contributor
22 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 February 2017

The House of Wonders is very badly dilapidated - it was raining the day we visited and the roof was leaking, creating big puddles of water inside the "museum" which is not being maintained at all! It was very sad to see how this historic building was being neglected. Our tour guide (the next day) also told us that parts... More 

1 Thank Mareli V
Copenhagen, Denmark
Level Contributor
521 reviews
287 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 203 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 January 2017

I wonder how it is still standing... Of the 3 wonders - electricity, water closets and an elevator only the electricity work these days, but back in the days it was the first of its kind in East Africa. Looking at it, I only see a building in need af remodeling.

1 Thank LPHDK
Liverpool, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
124 reviews
83 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 January 2017

Not allowed in or around the grounds our guide said. This House has a lot of history ( first electricity in Zanzibar). It's colonial style construction, on that scale, is in my travelling experience quite unique. It is certainly worth seeing from the outside. Like a lot of buildings in Zanzibar it needs urgent attention as the balconies are collapsing.

1 Thank goldsb
Level Contributor
30 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 January 2017 via mobile

Sorry didnt like this place. There's not much to see and the place is dusty and dirty. The entrance fee is way to much for what you get. I wouldnt recommend going

1 Thank Loes M

Travellers who viewed House of Wonders (Beit-el-Ajaib) also viewed

Stone Town, Zanzibar City
Stone Town, Zanzibar City
Stone Town, Zanzibar City

Been to House of Wonders (Beit-el-Ajaib)? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of House of Wonders (Beit-el-Ajaib) and other visitors
1 question
Ask a question

See all questions (1)

Questions? Get answers from House of Wonders (Beit-el-Ajaib) staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?