How To Make The Most Of Your Zanzibar Visit
Zanzibar isn’t your average tourist destination. It is a place characterized by historical tours, rich diversified cultures, and unforgettable fun memories. The features of this incredible town have the ability to captivate your senses and expand your mind. Whether as an addendum at the end of your safari adventure or something to do before embarking into the wild, the pristine sandy beaches and turquoise blue sea linking the Indian ocean, historical Stone town, the cultural heritage, and wildlife all add to the uniqueness of the town and make for a lifetime experience.
Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous archipelago located on the fringes of Tanzania. This ‘Spice Island’ is renowned for its historical and cultural heritage dating back to the 6th century. Zanzibar has two main Islands – Unguja (the bigger island) and Pemba in the Indian ocean. The capital city of Zanzibar is ‘Stone Town’. Located in Unguja, Stone Town is characterized by a maze of narrow streets lined by houses, shops, mosque, and bazaars.
UNESCO named Stone Town a World Heritage Site in 2000 due to its distinctive histo-cultural and architectural characteristics. Stone Town was derived from the Ubiquitous use of coral stones as the major construction materials giving the town a warm reddish color. This ancient spice island and slave trade capital has embraced tourism as its major export thanks to its amazing landscape and beaches.
Stone Town Tour
As a result of its unique heritage, Stone Town experiences an influx of curious tourists annually. The numerous activities available here would captivate you once you step off the ferry from Dar Es Salaam. Some of which include:
- Enjoy Delicious Cuisines at Forodhani Garden Food Market
The Forodhani garden food market is located right at the seafront. Here, you can enjoy the breeze while savoring tasty local Zanzibari cuisines.
The Old Fort is an amazing edifice along Stone Town promenade. It has been converted to a curio market and art gallery. You can relax here beneath the blue sky and enjoy some quiet time.
With help from local guides, you can easily arrange a tour of the prison island. The tour includes a boat ride to the island. Here you can see the giant tortoises and snorkeling gears so you can enjoy the clear water.
- Get Lost in the Mace of Stone Town
Though there is a map for Stone Town, its nearly useless. So, it’s fine to just take a few hours to hike and wander around this incredible town greeting the locals with a cheerful ‘mambo!’ as you wander.
Jozani Forest and Spice Tour
Jozani forest is part of Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park. The forest is a conservation area and home to Unguja endemic red colobus monkeys. The forest boasts a vast variety of wildlife dwelling in its evergreen thickets and mangroves. Here you can spot the Mama Mtondoo, an intriguing mahogany tree, which is believed to be over 200 years old.
Another mind blowing experience is the Spice Tour. Zanzibar is renowned as a lucrative spice destination since the Arabs traded and owned large spice plantations. You can take 4-6 hours to explore the Spice farms and exotic spices available. Till date, Zanzibar is famous for its clove, nutmeg, cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon, chili, and black pepper.
Top Beaches in Zanzibar
Zanzibar is famous for its exotic beaches and unique atmosphere. It’s home to some of the best beaches on the planet with a series of interesting water-based activities that ensure an amazing and unforgettable time. Some of top the beaches include:
Nungwi beach is regarded as one of the top beach resorts in Zanzibar. The beach is ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and sailing. You can also go on a sunset cruise on the traditional dhow sailing boat. You may be lucky to spot aquatic creatures like turtles, dolphins, and sharks.
Kendra beach is one of the most popular beaches in Zanzibar. Located just a few miles from Nungwi beach, it’s ideal for swimming, diving, snorkeling, etc. You can engage in lots of beach activities like beach soccer, and volleyball. Nungwi beach is known for its active nightlife and sunset parties.
This is an ideal beach for families with kids. Kiwengwa beach is characterized by a more relaxed atmosphere and fewer activities compared to other beaches.
Other Beaches worth mentioning
- Pongwe beach
- Jambiani beach
- Matemwe beach
- Kizimkazi beach
- Bwejuu beach
How to Get There
There are two main ways to get to Zanzibar from Dar Es Salaam. The first is by ferry, which takes about 3 hours to arrive and costs around $35 to $50. Upon arrival at the ferry terminal in Zanzibar, you will have to pass through immigration before proceeding with your tour.
If sea voyages are not for you, then the other option is to fly from Dar Es Salaam, which costs around $60. The Zanzibar International Airport is located just a few kilometers from the main city center of Stone Town. Once you arrive, you can then take a taxi and begin exploring the island.
There is also an option to fly from Arusha, though with a very small plane, as well as flights from several European cities, including Munich, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, and London, although they may not always be direct. Zanzibar tops the list among the best tourists attractions in Africa. The Island stands out in its unique way with many interesting destinations, wildlife spotting, and numerous beach resorts. Zanzibar is ideal for any kind of vacation whether with family, spouses or as a solo traveler.
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Written by: Branded Africa