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Vacation in Zanzibar Best things to do and where to stay in Zanzibar Travel bucket list

About Zanzibar

If you are dreaming of long never-ending beaches with white sand and light blue water that is crystal clear, you will find it on this island which is only about 90 km long and 30 km wide.  Zanzibar is an archipelago and Zanzibar Island is also known as (Unguja locally).  Pemba Island is the other of the two biggest islands.

Zanzibar is famous for:

Its beaches, its spice plantations (therefore lovingly referred to as The Spice Island), the history of Stone Town, and the beautiful holiday resorts.

Are Zanzibar and Unguja the same thing?

Maybe Wikipedia describes it better:  “Unguja (also referred to as “Zanzibar Island” or simply “Zanzibar”, is the largest and most populated island of the Zanzibar archipelago, in Tanzania.”

Where to stay

Check it out! The LATEST PRICES AND GETAWAY DEALS, or go to BOOKING.COM for more of the best places to stay.

Stay in Kiwengwa

Beautiful beach & more than 50 Places to stay.

Stay in Michamvi

Jua Retreat - The Rock Restaurant is 3.2 km away.

Stay in Mtende

Eden Rock - Waking up with a view of the sea.

Popular resorts in Zanzibar

Above:  Zanzi Resort in Kendwa – Simply stunning (Photos:  booking.com)

Zanzibar, Africa, African continent

Cities and places to explore while in Zanzibar

  • Stone Town (Also known as Mji Mkongwe locally) is a vibrant town and World Heritage Site (the old part of Zanzibar City).  It is located on the western coast of Unguja, the main island.
  • Kendwa is a small fishing village and also a great spot for scuba diving.
  • Kizimkazi is a small village on the south side and the perfect place to go on a dolphin tour.
  • Jambiani, is also a fishing village with lots of small guesthouses
  • Paie is excellent for kiteboarding
  • Nungwi is a resort town in the north
Where to stay in Zansibar Best places to stay

Best time to visit

Being near to the equator, the islands are warm all year round.  However, you need to take note of the wet months, which are the Monsoon months: March, April, and May as well as November and December.  Therefore the best time to visit will be June to October (these are the cool and dry months) and again during January and February (when it is hot and dry), so these will also be good months to visit.

5 Reasons why you should visit Zanzibar

Zanzibar is a fantastic holiday destination, but if you are still looking for reasons why you should go to Zanzibar;  Here are a few:

Turquoise Tropical Beaches – If you’re looking for a tropical beach vacation with beautiful beaches, this destination will not disappoint.

Luxury accommodation options –  The archipelago of Zanzibar offers a choice of luxury accommodation options.

Private Island Escape – Looking for a romantic destination where you can stay on your own private island – or have a romantic dinner on a private island?  This is the place to go.

For a cultural experience – visit Stone Town (the capital of the island of Zanzibar which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Foodie Paradise – Experience the spice tours and cuisine of Zanzibar combined with beautiful views (see below some great places to visit).

Does the island have an International Airport?

Zanzibar’s main airport is Abeid Amani Karume International Airport.

Main industries of the islands

Spices (like cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper), Raffia, and Tourism

How expensive is Zanzibar

A List of The Best Things to Do in Zanzibar

  • As you will be on the “Spice Island”, why not do a Spice tour.  Being one of a few places in the world where saffron is produced, as well as spices like cardamom, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and many more. The tours normally include a trip to the beautiful plantations, which is really something to see.
  • Go on a guided tour to Stone Town, but do not buy a tour “on the street’. Make reservations upfront with tour companies that are trusted.  (See below some options.)
  • Dhow boats are available to take you on sunset cruises. It is beautiful.
  • Looking for beautiful beaches with warm water from the Indian Ocean, then go to Paie or Jambiani. These are popular tourist spots.
  • Kendwa Beach is a beautiful sandy beach where you can swim during both low and high tide.  Here you will also find lots of beach bars and restaurants where you can try a Dawa cocktail.  You will be sure to find a beach party here during your stay.  Especially during a full moon.
  • Try scuba diving and snorkeling in the crystal clear water with its beautiful reefs. Again we would advise that you use a tour guide.
  • We would recommend a “Swimming with Dolphins and snorkeling” private tour instead of a “Dolphin chasing tour. (See below) 
  • Visit Zanzibar butterfly center
  • Go on a Turtle Sanctuary tour
  • Enjoy a relaxing day at your resort. After all, if you are paying to stay in a nice resort, why not enjoy the pampering and service at your resort.  Take some rest and recuperation time.
  • Visit Cheetah’s Rock for a fantastic wildlife tour and time spent with cheetahs
  • Dinner at the Tea House restaurant or attend a Zanzibar Tea Ceremony.
  • Have lunch at The Rock restaurant in the ocean.
  • Try their famous homemade spice ice cream on Stone Island.  Flavors like ginger, boabab, hibiscus, masala, or avo…
The Tea House Restaurant
Tea House Restaurant

The Tea House Restaurant:

A rooftop restaurant with beautiful views and an exceptional experience.  The Emerson Zanzibar Tea Ceremony introduces guests to the Zanzibar culture. The Tea Ceremony is held in Roshani at Emerson on Hurumzi. It takes around 2 hours and can be started anytime between 11 am to 4 pm. You can make reservations at:

Email:  reception@emersononhurumzi.com 

Zanzibar
The Rock Restaurant

The Rock Restaurant: 

Be sure to book online well in advance, as they do have limited space and you don’t want to be disappointed.  Also due to the size limit, you can’t make reservations only for drinks, so use this opportunity to treat yourself and your travel companion/s and enjoy a meal in a truly unique setting.

Travel Tips: 

  • For souvenirs, Stone Town is the place to shop.  Here you will be able to find beautiful textiles, handmade jewelry, and many more.  But be careful of scams.
  • As Zanzibar is mainly a Muslim community it would be good to show some respect for their culture. Although you can wear anything you like at the beach resorts it is advised that you cover up when going into town.  Don’t drink in public and especially during Ramadan (the month of fasting) you should avoid eating and drinking in public during day time.
  • For the ladies, always have a long sarong available to cover when and where necessary.

Book activities

More accommodation options / places to stay

  • Award-Winning Chapwani Private Island Hotel Resort, Zanzibar won Africa’s Leading Private Island Resort Award in 2020.