Zanzibar Holidays

Zanzibar Holidays

Things to do - general

 

Zanzibar holidays have been known to leave travellers with enchanting memories. Sun, sand, spice and vivid history are the essence of this charming destination.

Traditional dhows can be seen sailing to and from Pemba, Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Mombasa and even though foreigners are not welcome aboard, looking at these vessels is incredibly therapeutic.

This world’s oldest functioning Swahili city has more than 25 beaches some of which are so remote and serene that the only thing you’ll hear is the splashing of the turquoise waters.

Roads are mostly fringed with palm trees, banana and mangroves and fishing villages are often found.

Zanzibar is derived from the Persian word Zang bar which translates to ‘black coast’ which references the dark skin of the Zanzibari.

It was initially a base for African, Indian and Arabian traders who traded in slaves and spices. For centuries, it was fought over by the Portuguese, Omani, British and Persians.

Zanzibar was ruled by the Sultanate of Oman for years and as a result, the area is almost entirely inhabited by Muslims. It is therefore not a gay-friendly destination, so be cautious.

Spice growing forms a major part of Zanzibar’s economy and has been fondly referred to as Spice Island. Today, tourism has overshadowed spice trading as a main form of income but Zanzibar continues to enthral its visitors with its rustic charm.

Must see

  • Zanzibar red colobus monkey
  • Servaline genet
  • Zanzibar leopard
  • Bush pigs
  • Sykes monkeys
  • Aldabra tortoise
  • Ancient Stone Town
  • Magnificent beaches
  • Princess Salme Museum
  • Darajani Market
  • Maruhubi Palace
  • Mbweni Ruins
  • Dhow building at Nungwi
  • Prison Island
  • Native sea turtles at Mnarani Marine Turtle Conservation Pond
  • Spice plantations outside Zanzibar town
  • Jozani Forest
  • Ras Nungwi fishing village
  • Bottle-nosed dolphins at Kizimkazi fishing village
  • Kizimkazi mosque
  • Creeper entwined Shirazi ruins

 

Must do

  • Snorkeling at Chumbe Island
  • Scuba diving
  • Deep sea fishing
  • Kayaking
  • Sail in a traditional dhow
  • Get lost in Stone Town
  • Revel in a beach disco at Nungwi and Kendwa
  • Swim with dolphins at Fumba or Kizimkazi
  • Sample Indian and Swahili cuisine
  • Grab a mug of spicy chai on the side of the road
  • Visit Old Dispensary
  • Visit the House of Wonders
  • Visit the Hamamni Persian public baths
  • Have lunch at Forodhani Gardens
  • Watch a kaleidoscope of butterflies at Zanzibar Butterfly Centre
  • Take a spice plantation tour
  • Indulge in a soothing body scrub with local spices at Mvua African Rain Spa
  • Visit Fumba traditional village

 

Where to stay when at Zanzibar

  • Ocean Beach Resort
  • Uroa Bay Beach Hotel
  • White Sand Villas
  • Zanzibar Lodge
  • Zanzibar Serena
  • Fumba Beach Lodge
  • Twisted Palms Lodge
  • Bahari View Lodge
  • Mermaids Cove Beach Resort & Spa
  • Hideaway of Nungwi Resort & Spa
  • Matemwe Lodge
  • Blue Earth Beach Bungalow
  • Zeru Zeru Eco Local Wild Lodge
  • Zanzi Resort
  • Reef Beach Resort
  • Paradise Beach Resort

 

When to schedule Zanzibar holidays

Zanzibar’s long rainy season lasts from March to May. During this time, many hotels are closed and beach time is almost impossible thanks to the monsoons that hit the island.

Short rains occur from November to December but are less intense and always make way for clear skies. The island is busiest from July to October and from December to January.

Mid-January to March is fairly quiet although the heat is too much. The best time to schedule Zanzibar holidays would be late June to July and September to October.

You can get to Zanzibar Island by:

  • Sea:  You can take the high-speed ferry from Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam and vice versa (which takes 2 hours) and from Zanzibar to Pemba and vice versa. This trip takes 6 hours. All ferries arrive at the passenger ferry terminal gate on Mzingani road. Ferry tickets can be purchased at the passenger ferry terminal or through travel agents in Zanzibar town. There are also boats to choose from and every provider has different charges depending on the speed and make of their vessel. Modern and fast boats tend to be more expensive. High-speed boats take 2 hours.
  • Air:  This is the most feasible mode of transport to get to Zanzibar Island. Book a short hop flight from Dar es Salaam (There are daily flights to this destination). International flights are however less time consuming and more comfortable. A flight from Arusha will take about 75 minutes. If you’re travelling from Europe, you will probably fly via Nairobi or mainland Tanzania which might be very helpful if you’re planning to merge you Zanzibar holidays with a little safari.
  • Road: Self-drive within Zanzibar town is rare because most vehicles come with a driver even when you rent one. You will pay for the car, driver and fuel on a daily basis. Alternatively, you can get a 4 seater or 6 seater taxi to carry you and your fellow touring friends to destinations in Zanzibar such as Stone town, Nungwi and Paje. You can then share trip costs with other passengers.

What to pack for Zanzibar holidays

  • Beachwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Sandals
  • Flip flops
  • Sunscreen
  • Smart casual clothing for evenings
  • Camera
  • Shorts
  • Beach dresses
  • Anti-malarial drugs

If Spice Island is on your wish list, check out the Zanzibar Holidays available or call an agent to customize your trip.

 

Country Tanzania
Languages spokenEnglish, Swahili
Currency usedTanzanian Shillings
Area (km2)2,461
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