Livingstone House

Livingstone House : This historic structure is currently the headquarters of the Zanzibar Tourist Corporation and is located on the northeast edge of the town. It was constructed for Sultan Majid circa 1860. (Sultan from 1856 to 1870). Many of the European explorers and missionaries who traveled to eastern and central Africa in the second half of the 19th century selected Zanzibar as their starting point at this time. Before embarking on his final voyage in 1866 by sailing to the mainland, David Livingstone—likely the most well-known explorer of all—stayed in this home.

While preparing for their respective voyages, other explorers, including Burton, Speke, Cameron, and Stanley, also stayed in this area. After being used by the island’s Indian community, the home was later purchased by the colonial government in 1947 for use as a laboratory for studying illnesses that affect clove trees. After the revolution and independence, it was transformed into the Zanzibar headquarters of the Tanzania Friendship Tourist Bureau, the predecessor to the ZTC of today.


The most well-known of all the European explorers who visited Africa in the 19th century was David Livingstone, and many of his expeditions began and finished in Zanzibar. In the Scottish settlement of Blantyre, close to Glasgow, he was born on March 19, 1813. At the age of 28, he traveled to South Africa as a missionary physician in 1841. He wed Mary Moffat, the daughter of a missionary, there. He crossed the Kalahari Desert during his early explorations of southern Africa, and in November 1855, he became the first European to view Mosi oa Tunya (also known as “the smoke that thunders”), which he later christened the Victoria Falls.

Between 1858 and 1864, Livingstone conducted his fourth major expedition around Lake Nyasa and the Lower Zambezi (present-day Lake Malawi). Dr. John Kirk, a fellow Scot who joined the expedition as a medical officer and naturalist, was with him. Livingstone spent a week in Zanzibar after the expedition, in April 1864, before departing for Britain. In January 1866, Livingstone returned to Zanzibar after being requested by the Royal Geographical Society to investigate the region between Lake Nyasa and Lake Tanganyika in order to settle the debate about the Nile’s origin. On March 19, 1866, he set off towards the mainland and traveled past Lake Nyasa’s southernmost point.

The famous “Dr. Livingstone, I presume” episode occurred when Livingstone encountered writer Henry Stanley in Ujiji on Lake Tanganyika on November 10, 1871, following several years of exploration in the area during which little news of his adventures had reached the outside world. Livingstone was in excruciating pain at this meeting due to foot ulcers, fever, and dysentery and had just a few days’ worth of cotton to use to buy food. Yet, two weeks later, he had regained enough strength to embark on a brief expedition with Stanley. They investigated Lake Tanganyika’s northern beaches and discovered that the River Ruzizi flowed into the lake rather than out of it, ruling out the possibility that it was the source of the Nile.

Livingstone House
Livingstone House

On December 27, 1871, Livingstone and Stanley departed Ujiji and arrived in Kazeh, which is halfway to the coast, in February of the following year. Because Stanley was traveling alone and Livingstone was in good condition, he carried on and reached Zanzibar in May 1872. After remaining in Kazeh until August 1872, Livingstone embarked on a brief journey to explore Lake Tanganyika’s southern shoreline, Livingstone House

 When he continued his search for the Nile’s origin, he once again developed dysentery. On May 2, 1873, he passed away at the Chitambo settlement in Zambia, a few kilometers south of Lake Bangweulu. At the scene of his death, Susi and Chumah, two of his devoted friends, removed his heart and buried it under a tree. His body was brought to Zanzibar, dried in the sun for two weeks, and recognized by a shattered bone in the left arm that had formerly been crushed in a lion’s teeth.

Before being transported to London for burial, Livingstone’s remains stayed at the British consulate. On April 18, 1874, Stanley and Kirk served as pallbearers at his funeral in Westminster Abbey. A stone monument currently stands where the tree where Livingstone’s heart was interred ultimately came down. Yet another piece of the tree’s wood was turned into a cross, which is now displayed in Zanzibar Town‘s Anglican Cathedral.