Discover iconic Zanzibar
Zanzibar is an island steeped in culture and history – a destination which brought adventurers, seafarers and traders from far and wide. The Zanzibar archipelago is set in the Indian Ocean and made up of the larger islands of Pemba and Unguja (also called Zanzibar Island). Zanzibar is also known as the ‘Spice Island’ due to the delicious variety of spices grown on the island’s many plantations.
Stone Town, a World Heritage Site, boasts a labyrinth of winding alleys, bustling marketplaces, beautifully carved wooden doors, breathtaking mosques and grand Arab residences. Another must-see attraction on Zanzibar includes the Jozani Forest Reserve – home to the rare Kirk’s red colobus monkey and Aders’ duiker. Off the north-eastern coast of Zanzibar is Mnemba Island – an idyllic private island featuring luxurious accommodation, breathtaking scenery and rich marine diversity.
The largest of all the islands in the archipelago, Zanzibar Island (Unguja) is 80 kilometres long and 30 kilometres wide. It is covered in coconut plantations, spice farms and lush vegetation.
There are pretty roads through avenues of mangoes and the forest at Jozani where endemic Kirk’s red colobus can be seen. Everywhere you go you’ll find small farming villages where chicken and children run all over the roads and you are welcomed with smiles.
The coastline has picture-perfect beaches which at high tide look really idyllic but do be aware that Zanzibar is a very tidal island and swimming at low tide isn’t always possible, however most properties have lovely pools to cool off in whilst the tide is out. The coral reefs are accessible by boat trips for snorkelling and diving and offer an abundance of marine life and turtles. At the back of the beaches small fishing villages shade under coconut palms. Little huts are sunk in snowdrifts of sand, fat ducks waddle about, fishing nets hang from crooked wooden racks and seaweed is spread out to dry. At high tide all the dhows sail in and lively bartering for the day’s catch ensues.
The properties use on Zanzibar are all very comfortable, and some quite quirky, but do be aware that the level of service and the standard of accommodation can be a little lower than expected. This is particularly noticeable if you have been on safari before heading to the beach as the service there is much more personal and prompt. The Zanzibari are lovely people and will attend to your needs but they are also very laid back and things may take a bit longer than you are used to!
Excursions and activities Zanzibar
- Spice tour: walk with a guide through spice plantations where pepper, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and fruit grows.
- Kitesurfing: at the beaches Paje, Kiwengwa en Nungwi.
- Mountain bike excursion
- Stone Town excursion: stroll through the narrow streets of this lively town and visit some local markets and the former slave market.
- Prisoner Island excursion: take a 30 min. boat trip to this island, which once was a place where slaves were detained. Nowadays it is a nature reserve for giant tortoises and a place to see the ruins of the former prison.
- Safari Blue: during this excursion you visit 3 islands where you can swim, snorkel and have a nice BBQ.
- Visit Jozani forest: a great jungle walk through the last indigenous forest on Zanzibar with lots of monkeys, like the rare red colobus monkeys.
- Snorkeling and scuba diving at one of the many great reefs.
- Cultural tour: this excursion gives you an insight in the way of life of the local people.
- Mnemba Island tour: snorkeling trip to the most popular snorkeling spot in Zanzibar.