Zanzibar is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, just off of the coast of the mainland Tanzania. It consists of many small islands and two large ones, namely Unguja and Pemba. Unguja – the main island, informally referred to as Zanzibar – is the largest and most popular island of the archipelago, while Pemba is more remote and less visited by tourists.
The island has one of the most interesting and multi-cultural histories in Africa. Growing as a nation from an ancient trade-route between the Dark Continent and the mysterious lands of Arabia and Asia, Zanzibar boasts a fascinating mix of African and Muslim cultures. Hear the calls to prayer from ancient mosques while street vendors invite passing tourists into their colourful stalls, greeting them with a warm Swahili ‘Jambo, Karibu!’ (‘hello and welcome!’).
With tropical fruit growing wild, spice markets and bazaars on every cobbled alleyway, palm-fringed white-sand coastlines and ancient dhow sailing boats gliding on clear waters, the island truly is an explorer’s paradise. Whether you want to immerse yourself in local island culture or resign yourself to complete relaxation on a stunning beach, or both, Zanzibar has it all.
Why We Love Zanzibar
Zanzibar is the ideal destination for an exotic beach holiday, characterised by its magnificent white sand beaches, fringing coral reefs and warm turquoise ocean. The island also has a rich cultural heritage, which is mostly evident in the renowned Stone Town. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and an intriguing old city of narrow, winding alleyways and stone coral buildings, full of atmosphere and immensely beautiful. The weather is near perfect all year round, with sunny summers and warm winters, and the locals are as friendly as they come. The island also boasts a wide variety of exciting activities, excursions and attractions that add some fun and culture to a traditional beach holiday.
Our Top Destinations
The great thing about Zanzibar is that each of the towns offers something unique and special. Stone Town is, of course, at the top of our list. It’s the most vibrant and bustling town on the island, with an array of restaurants and bars, a busy stretch of beach, many stalls and bazaars selling traditional goods, and a variety of tours, attractions and excursions. Nungwi is another great destination. The busy town is a hub for tourists as it has one of the best beaches on the island, as well as a great selection activities. If you’re looking to go kite-surfing, Paje is the place to be. With hundreds of brightly coloured kites filling the sky, the town is renowned for its windy conditions which make kite-surfing the go-to activity in Paje. Uroa is quite easily forgotten when planning a trip to Zanzibar. Although there aren’t many attractions available nearby, Uroa is the ideal place to spend a few undisturbed days on the beach. For dolphin watching, there is no better place to be than Kizimkazi. Renowned for its extensive dolphin sightings, the town is the only place to embark on a Safari Blue where you get to swim with dolphins!
Zanzibar is easily accessible from the travel hub Dar es Salaam, making it the ideal start or end to an authentic Tanzania safari experience. Combine a trip to Zanzibar with a safari in the Serengeti or Ngorongoro Crater, or simply explore all that the island has to offer on a stand-alone beach holiday. The island is also ideal for South African tourists as the new, low-cost airline FastJet offers affordable daily flights from Johannesburg to Zanzibar direct.
Accommodation and Activities
The accommodation available in Zanzibar is sublime. As one of the World’s most romantic and exotic destinations, Zanzibar offers accommodation that ranges from luxury beachfront resorts to exclusive boutique hotels and elegant beach lodges.
Whilst staying in Zanzibar, spending lazy days on the pristine beaches is, of course, and absolute must-do. However, there is plenty more to do on the island. Learn about the locally grown spices on a Spice Tour in Stone Town, cycle through a village to a hidden beach in Nungwi or glimpse the native red colobus monkey as you walk through the Jozani Forest.
Moonshine Boutique Hotel: This owner-run guest house is ideally located right on Uroa’s quiet beach, making it the perfect place to unwind without any disruptions. With its many different room options, Moonshine can accommodate all types of guests, from single and couples to families and friends.
Zanzibar Coffee House: This stunning property has a fantastic location in the centre of Stone Town on a bustling alleyway, near to the street bazaars and the Old Slave Market. The ground floor serves as a lovely cafe selling cakes and coffees, and the bedrooms are well-appointed and comfortable.
A Spice Tour: Learn about how the various spices are grown and made – from cinnamon and nutmeg to saffron and cloves – whilst visiting a local Spice Farm. Enjoy a delicious, traditional meal after your tour and get the opportunity to purchase the locally-grown spices, teas and coffees.
Jozani Forest: Explore the beautiful Jozani Forest, where an array of wildlife calls the lush, green landscape their home. Spot colobus monkeys, forest crabs and the rare elephant shrew before taking a tour of the nearby mangroves.
Packages and Offers
We offer a large variety of Zanzibar packages, each one being unique, exciting and tried-and-tested by our consultants. Whether you’re looking for self-drive or escorted, mid-range or luxury, adventure or relaxation, our tailor-made packages offer something for all tastes and budgets.
Below are two of the many packages we offer:
8 Day Stone Town and Nungwi: From ZAR 12 000
Our 8 Day Package takes guests to the renowned Stone Town for 3 nights and the beach paradise of Nungwi for 4 nights.
Included: Accommodation on a B&B basis, all return transfers.
17 Day Zanzibar Scuba Diving: From ZAR 88 000
Our 17 Day Package takes guests to 5 different areas in Zanzibar and is tailored towards scuba-diving activities.
Included: Accommodation on a B&B or full-board basis, 11 days hire-car and 18 scuba-diving excursions.
With all of the magic that Zanzibar has to offer, we can’t think of any reason why you wouldn’t want to visit the Spice Island. From lazing in the hot sun on the beach, to opening your horizons to new adventures, Zanzibar is a true Southern African gem.
By Cassidy Pautz