Zanzibar WWII Bunkers, Mangapwani, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Zanzibar’s Abandoned WWII Bunkers in Mangapwani

Zanzibar’s Abandoned WWII Bunkers in Mangapwani was originally published in 2024

Nearly a decade had passed since the last time I was in Zanzibar when I was sat at my friend Bekah’s flat in London trying to come up with a plan B to our now-foiled Belarus plans. 

Queen came on the speaker (Bekah’s absolute favorite) which reminded me that Freddie Mercury was born in Stone Town. And you know where else is warm in November?

A few minutes after the mere suggestion, Zanzibar tickets were booked. Fast forward, and there we were arriving in Stone Town. 

Lucky for me (a known scatterbrain), Bekah is a meticulous planner who also shares a love for abandoned structures, bunkers, and other curiosities. Of course, this led her to not only find an abandoned resort in Zanzibar to explore but also some WWII bunkers.

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How to Get to Zanzibar’s WWII Bunkers in Mangapwani

Zanzibar WWII Bunkers, Mangapwani, Zanzibar, Tanzania

The WWII Bunkers in Zanzibar are located just outside of the town of Mangapwani which is roughly a 30 minute drive/25 kilometers from Stone Town. 

There are infrequent buses between Stone Town and Mangapwani for those trying to visit the WWII Bunkers on the cheap.

That said, the easiest way to visit them is by either renting a car or hiring a taxi.

We ended up going out there with Aiysha from In Zanzibar with Aiysha (WhatsApp- +255 716 199 415)- Zanzibar’s first licensed freelance female tour guide. We had gone on a few day trips with Aiysha already at that point as we wanted to support a female guide in Zanzibar and Aiysha was excited to visit the bunkers in Zanzibar as they were an unusual request. 

The WWII Bunkers in Zanzibar

Zanzibar WWII Bunkers, Mangapwani, Zanzibar, Tanzania

I’ve still yet to find any information about Zanzibar’s WWII Bunkers online or elsewhere for that matter. All I can assume is that they were likely built by the British during World War II.

The bunkers all seemed to be at or just below ground, excluding the watch tower (which I wouldn’t consider a bunker but is on the premises and a part of the complex).

One bunker, in particular, was very much being reclaimed by nature with grasses and plants sprouting from its roof and even banana trees growing along its perimeters and even seemingly out of its angular walls.

A long corridor-like bunker was in the midst of work being done by a man from Mangapwani who was smoothing concrete on its walls.

Yet another bunker, this one close to the water, had a slightly curved shape to its corridor which descended a few steps underground, making its windows at ground level.

Other things to do in Mangapwani 

Zanzibar WWII Bunkers, Mangapwani, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Mangapwani Underground Slave Chambers

Just outside of Mangapwani is the site of underground slave chambers that were secretly used after the abolition of slavery, likely one of the most famous sites in Mangapwani

Mangapwani Beach

Mangapwani Beach lies a few kilometers west of Mangapwani village with white sands and clear waters.

Zanzibar WWII Bunkers, Mangapwani, Zanzibar, Tanzania

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