Zanzibar is a Tanzanian archipelago off the coast of East Africa. On its main island, Unguja, familiarly called Zanzibar, is Stone Town, a historic trade center with Swahili and Islamic influences. Its winding lanes present minarets, carved doorways and 19th-century landmarks such as the House of Wonders, a former sultan’s palace. The northern villages Nungwi and Kendwa have wide beaches lined with hotels.
There are some fabulous beaches on the islands of Zanzibar, and many choices for an ideal spot to sit back and watch the white dhow sails cruising the startling blue waters of the Indian Ocean. Whether it is for a Zanzibar holiday, honeymoon or some post-safari relaxation, whether you prefer the blissful privacy of a private island or the amenities of a larger hotel, and whatever your preferred activities (diving and snorkelling, eating, sleeping, playing tennis, reading on a lounger), there are good options for every traveler.
Things to do in Zanzibar
It is in Stone Town that myriad narrow streets wind their way through craft shops, art galleries, fabric stalls and quaint coffee shops. It is also the perfect place to explore on foot and getting lost within this maze of ancient streets will give rise to a number of cultural experiences that can appear much more local and authentic than the beach life up north. Explore more
Nungwi and Kendwa beaches
Nungwi is the third largest settlement in Zanzibar, with a population of about 5,500, found at the far north of the island. The smaller nearby Kendwa is on the west coast, overlooking the tiny Daloni island and the larger island of Tumbatu. Both are located about an hour's drive from Stone Town.
Nungwi is the most popular resort in the north where a long line of quality restaurants, bars and hotels provide ample entertainment and variety.
Snorkelling at Mnemba Atoll
Departing from one of Zanzibar's many Northern Beaches, you begin the morning by gliding across crystallised waters in a traditional Dhow sailing boat. Sailing is slow, but as a gentle breeze runs across the deck and you lay down beneath the shade of the mainsail, a distinct feeling of calm will ensure you do not want to reach anywhere fast.
An unexpected part of this trip will often take the form of interacting with the boat crew, which can be a real eye opener into the laid back attitude and charming personality of the local Zanzibarian. Expect a lot of laughing, but also understanding, as these guys know exactly when their guests want to rest in peace, sunbathe or even take a nap.
Traveling to Mnemba Atoll there is always the chance of spotting dolphins, and reaching the island itself, the colourful coral is no less than mesmerising. Zanzibar is home to many species of fish, with huge trevally, yellow snappers, barracuda, eels and many more.
Spice Plantation Tour
A Spice Tour is something that a lot of visitors decide to skip in favor with more beach time. But the Spice Islands are still overflowing with, erm, spice and a tour of a local plantation is a great way to see how Zanzibar became an important stop on the trade routes from the 18th century.
Spices still grown on the island include cloves, vanilla, green pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon. Most tours include lunch along with an opportunity to sample the produce. Plantations between Stone Town and the north beaches can be used as a good stopover point. Allow 1-2 hours for your visit.