Things to do in Zanzibar Tanzania

Zanzibar Tanzania consists of several islands lying off the coast of East Africa south of the Somali sea. The archipelago is also known as the Spice Islands. There are four main islands, three primary islands with human populations, a fourth coral island that serves as an essential breeding ground for seabirds, plus a number of smaller islets that surround them and an isolated tiny islet.

Most of the archipelago belongs to the Zanzibar semi-autonomous region of Tanzania, while Mafia Island and its associated islets are part of the Pwani Region on the mainland.

Zanzibar is among the biggest Islands in the East African coast comprises of two main Islands Unguja and Pemba, Unguja being the largest with about 1,464 sq km while Pemba is about 686 sq km The name Zanzibar is derived from Arabic words ‘Zinj el bar which means the Land of Black people. Unguja, Pemba and many other islets together are making the semi-autonomous part of the United Republic of Tanzania. Unguja Island is referred by many to be Zanzibar and in that case, all the time when travel to Unguja, we say we are going to Zanzibar. Stone Town is the capital of Zanzibar with its fascinating history.

Thinking of Zanzibar Island history and pictures of the very romantic past, white sails dhows in Indian ocean, swinging palms along the beautiful white sand beaches as the sun setting, ruin of the most historical buildings, women in black veils, the exotic spice plantations and the fascinating history of this Island, today, all these are reflecting in people’s culture and traditions.

Zanzibar island offers from the white tropical sand beaches, spices, history and culture pattern of this cosmopolitan Island.  As a ground handling we are in a position of arranging various activities in this historical Island ranging from Spice plantation tours, Dolphin tours to the Southern beaches at Kizimkazi, walking culture tour at Jambian village, A visit to Jozani forest home to the Red Colubus monkeys, known in Swahili as the ‘Kima Punju’, Prison Island trip with an engine wooded dhow this can be combined with either Spice tour or Stone Town tour. A visit of the old town of Zanzibar “The Stone town” with its narrow lines and old buildings from Beit el Ajaib which means The House of Wonders, to Sultan Palace and many many more including the site of The former slave market at darajani

Main islands:

  • Unguja Island, the largest, colloquially referred to as Zanzibar, has 896,721 inhabitants.
  • Pemba Island, the second largest at 406,808 inhabitants.
  • Latham Island (also called “Fungu Kizimkazi”), tiny and uninhabited.
  • Mafia Island, with 46,850 inhabitants.

Things to do in Zanzibar

Zanzibar offers plenty of exciting sightseeing opportunities. When you’ve had enough of soaking up the sun and enjoying the varied water sports, you can visit a spice farm to touch, smell and taste various spices, learn all about local village life and enjoy some spiced tea and seasonal fruits. You can also sail off on a traditional wooden dhow to enjoy snorkelling at various locations, including Kwale Island. Alternatively, head for gorgeous Pemba, 80km from Zanzibar, with its beautiful beaches, prolific birdlife, and excellent dive sites where you can view coral and abundant underwater marine life.

Exciting things to do in Zanzibar:

  • Explore Stone Town’s winding streets and marvel at the Arabic architecture en route to visit historic sights. 
  • Soak up the sun on the famous Nungwi Beach. 
  • Visit the Old Fort, Stone Town’s oldest building that dates back to the 17th Century. 
  • Go snorkelling in the Mnemba Atoll. 
  • Watch the sunset from the beach. 
  • Party up a storm at one of the Full Moon parties at Kendwa Beach. 
  • Discover the relaxed fishing village of Jambiani, one of the island’s best-kept secrets. 
  • Visit Jozani Forest, home to thousands of crabs who live under the mangroves, and see a variety of wildlife, including red colobus monkeys. 
  • Discover historic Prison Island, home to giant tortoises. 
  • Visit the night-time food market, Forodhani, to enjoy a traditional seafood dinner. 
  • Spend time in the Palace Museum, one of Stone Towns’ most historic buildings. 
  • Go kite surfing on the island of Paje.   

Another fun thing to do in Zanzibar is sampling traditional food in Stone Town’s numerous restaurants. Zanzibar’s cuisine is delicious – there’s even a famous restaurant here, called The Rock, located on top of a rock in the sea, which offers sensational seafood and equally spectacular views. With so much to do and see in Zanzibar we recommend spending at least 7 – 10 days on the archipelago. Browse our fantastic range of Zanzibar holiday packages available and let’s get your Spice Island holiday sorted!

What must I pack?

  • Lightweight clothing for summer, add layers during the cooler months. Don’t forget your beachwear! and shade Hut
  • Comfortable walking shoes, sandals. 
  • Sunscreen, lip balm, hat, swimsuits and sunglasses.  
  • Dress modestly when visiting religious sites. Long, loose pants and long-sleeved cotton shirts are best.
  • Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
  • Hand sanitizer and insect repellent.
  • Camera.
  • Travel adapter.   

What can I do to be a responsible traveler?

  • Support local artisans.  
  • Avoid single-use plastic. Zanzibar has officially banned plastic bags from the islands.   

Safety tips:

  • Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.  
  • Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports, money and valuables.  

What do I do in an emergency?   

  • Contact the Karibu Adventure 24-hour care line to assist.
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