Zanzibar is located off the coast of Tanzania in East Africa, surrounded by the Indian Ocean, Zanzibar offers an idyllic setting for pure relaxation. And, in case you get bored, it also boasts several unique cultural and adventure experiences. Zanzibar is also isn’t just one island but is the largest of the Zanzibar Archipelago, which consists of several islands. The four main islands are Unguja Island (which is Zanzibar), Pemba Island, Latham Island, and Mafia Island.
Tourist attractions and activities in Zanzibar
Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park
This 50 square kilometer National Park, the only one found on Zanzibar, is located towards the middle of the Island (about a 30-minute drive from Stone Town, en route to Paje).
The Park is most famous for being home to about 1,000 Kirk’s Red Colobus Monkeys. Endemic to Zanzibar, and classified as endangered, this species has a distinctive stripe on its shoulder and pink markings on its lips and nose.
Other inhabitants of the Park include the Sykes Monkey, Bushbabies, duikers, 50 species of butterfly, and 40 species of bird. Legend has it that the Zanzibar Leopard can still be found in the Park, though the last reported sighting was over 15 years ago.
The Park is found on low-lying land, creating a swampy/tropical environment predominantly populated by large trees, ferns, and mangroves to the Park’s southern end. Aside from observing the wildlife, visitors can follow a forest nature trail, take the boardwalk through the mangroves,
Spice plantations in Zanzibar
Another attraction of Zanzibar is the opportunity to see how the spices we use daily are grown and prepared. It is full of plantations that we can visit with a guide. It is worth going to at least one of them to feel the unusual aromas and see what unripe or raw spices look like, which we usually see in the kitchen in a dried and ground form. Sightseeing is usually combined with tasting or at least the possibility of touching and smelling selected plants.
Freddie Mercury Museum
It is worth knowing that in Zanzibar, another attraction is also the Freddie Mercury Museum, devoted to this world-famous artist. It is worth knowing that he was born in this place, in Stone Town as Farrokh Bulsara. Although he was reportedly not very emotionally connected with this place, he left a lot of traces here, and his house is now an interesting place in Zanzibar, which is eagerly visited by tourists. In addition to the museum, there is also a gift shop related to the artist. This is a real treat for fans of his music, and not only.
Peace Memorial Museum in Zanzibar
Zanzibar’s attraction, the Peace Memorial Museum, deserves a visit, if only for its external appearance. Built-in honor of the inhabitants of World War I, the building is surrounded by greenery. It is characterized by beautiful, exotic architecture and white walls, which, combined with the well-kept garden, make an amazing impression.
Zanzibar Butterfly Center
Another Zanzibar tourist attraction is an inconspicuous place, which, however, is worth seeing! It is a type of butterfly house where, for a small price, we can admire butterflies in a closed, roofed hall. They fly around us, we can also see and even hold chameleons. The ticket is inexpensive and a visit to the Zanzibar Butterfly Center is a great introduction to the Jozani National Park.
The word “Nakupenda” is a Swahili word that means “I love you” in the English language. This is a shiny and luxurious Sandbank located a few minutes from Stone Town.
On this trip, you will be experiencing the traditional local boats made by the woods toward Nakupenda Sank bank. This is also among the best places for Snorkeling, Sunbathing.
On this trip, you will have fresh seafood prepared for lunch with tropical fruits like Banana, Watermelon, Pineapple, Avocado, etc.
Nungwi and Kendwa beaches
Nungwi is the third largest settlement in Zanzibar, with a population of about 5,500, found in 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.
Its attractions and meet the locals steeped in history and overflowing with charm, Stone Town is the iconic capital of Zanzibar.
Stone town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the cultural Center of Zanzibar. The town is found on the main island of Unguja and gets its name from the 19th-century buildings whose architecture was influenced by European, Arabic, Indian and Swahili settlers. Because of its Arab and European background, Stone Town has a history that is well documented. Taking a tour of the town is a great opportunity to understand the history of the island’s inhabitants spanning different eras. The town is located at the very heart of Zanzibar and was once an important stopover for both general merchandise and slave traders moving to and from the mainland. Stone Town has is characterized by very narrow streets, bazaars, ancient architecture, and several mosques. It is also the perfect place to explore on foot and getting lost within this maze of ancient streets can give rise to several authentic cultural experiences.
The House of Wonders
The majestic Home of Wonders is also best for exploring. This is a spectacular masterpiece of architecture which was initially the palace of Zanzibar’s sultan and is now home to the National Museum of Culture.
Highlights of the collection include a large traditional Swahili boat (mtepe) in the central courtyard and two 16th century bronze cannons captured from the Portuguese.
Slave Chambers and Old Fort
It is also possible to take a short tour of the slave chambers (between the Anglican Cathedral and St Monica’s Hostel), which are a haunting, but necessary reminder, of the tragic history of Stone Town.
The fact about it is, until the abolition of slavery, Zanzibar was one of east Africa’s main slave-trading ports. In the first half of the 19th century, as many as 50,000 slaves passed through Zanzibar’s slave markets each year.
Last but not least, take an evening away from the restaurants and enjoy the ambiance of the famous Night market in Forodhani Gardens on the seafront: with every type of seafood you can imagine, all cooked to perfection, you can be sure to sample some of the finest cuisines in Zanzibar, in the most memorable setting possible.
Prison Island, also known as Changuu Island was left untouched until it was inhabited by the Arabs in the 1860s. The island was used as a temporary shelter for slaves who were considered rebellious or with the potential to lead revolts. The slaves were kept there before being sold abroad. The Island was also used to quarantine those who got sick during yellow fever epidemics. When Zanzibar became a British protectorate, the Island was bought from the Arabs and a real prison was built. The prison was never used on completion and has now been turned into a beautiful resort. In 1919, four giant Aldabra tortoises were introduced to the island as a gift from a British Governor in Seychelles. By the 1950s their numbers had increased to the hundreds. Trafficking in later years reduced their numbers considerably but has recovered ever since the government built a large enclosure to keep them safe. Some of the Tortoises are believed to be over 100 years old. After spending time petting and touching the tortoises, you can go swimming on the beach and admire the amazing landscape and birdlife including the amazing peacock. To reach the island from Stone town, you will need to hire a boat and embark on a journey that takes 30 minutes.
The beach has hip cafes, burger joints, kite surfing companies, bars, and hostels, making it one of the great places to visit in Zanzibar. We spent a few days relaxing in the inviting turquoise waters, which is the perfect thing to do for those looking for free things to do in Zanzibar.
Paje is good for kitesurf. There are an endless amount of schools and rental shops all dying to take you out on the water and show you the ropes of kitesurfing.
Zanzibar is often referred to as “Spice Island” for its centuries of clove, nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon production and is one of the top five things to do in Zanzibar. Most of these spice tours depart from Stone Town and take you to a large spice farm to see, touch, and taste the many flavors of Zanzibar. Zanzibar is also known as Spice Islands due to the production of different spices like Cloves, Cinnamon, Black Pepper, White Pepper, and Nutmegs. You will have full information about how we grow and use all the different spices that we grow here in Zanzibar.
The most exclusive of all the resorts on Zanzibar is, without a doubt Kilindi Zanzibar. The resort is near Kendwa on the Northwestern part of the island and is one of the top Zanzibar hotels on the beach. Its large grounds give plenty of privacy to its 15 villas that pop up from a lush hillside.
Park Hyatt Zanzibar
The Park Hyatt Zanzibar is an exquisite hotel delivered in a way only capable of a Park Hyatt and is easily one of the top 10 hotels in Zanzibar.
Essque Zalu Zanzibar
Essque Zalu is one of the best beach resorts in Zanzibar. This Zanzibar hotel is not for the faint of heart, at Essque Zalu bigger is better.
Snorkeling At Mnemba Island
Mnemba Island is a private island located at Matemwe beach (Zanzibar north). This is among the best places for Snorkeling and Swimming in Zanzibar. If you are lucky, you may also be able to swim with Dolphins but it is not guaranteed because they are seasonal in this place.
Swimming with dolphins.
Zanzibar has more than five Dolphin species; Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin and Spinner Dolphins are the two common species you will see, Kizimkazi fishers village and Mnemba Island are the best and most common places where tourists go swimming with wild dolphins. But remember that, it is not a hundred percent guaranteed you can spot the Dolphins, because these are the wild Dolphins. However, going on a Dolphin trip is not just about Dolphins, but you can also do snorkeling so it’s still worth going on a dolphin tour.
Also, there are other different places where Dolphins can be found in Zanzibar like; Fumba Menai Bay, But remember these places are less common to see the dolphins compared to Kizimkazi and Mnemba Island in Matemwe.
Sunset cruising with dhow.
You can do the sunset cruise at Stone town or Nungwi and Kendwa beach north part of Unguja (Zanzibar) depending on where you will be interested. During the trip, you will be enjoying the local music with special snacks and drinks prepared by the locals.
If you love fashion, then Henna painting is one thing you should try in Zanzibar. Henna is a temporary dye, different from Tattoos. In our culture in Zanzibar, Henna is only for women, not
For both beginners and pro divers, there are ample Diving schools. Zanzibar is well known for the quality of its reefs and plenty of different beautiful species found here; Octopus, Blue Spotted Ray, Flying Gurnard, Weedy, Lionfish, Stone Fish, Cuttlefish, Frogfish, Humpback Whales, Turtles, Sperm Whales, etc.
Horse riding, Horse riding is not a famous activity in Zanzibar, but it is available here. You can do horse riding in the north part of Zanzibar, Nungwi beach. There are four options; Beach rides, Swim rides, Sunset rides, and Country rides.
Free walking on the beaches.
This is a free thing you can do here in Zanzibar for your Holiday. Zanzibar is famous for its amazing super white, clean, sandy beaches. If you are planning to visit Zanzibar make sure you have time to walk on the beach, and if you are a solo traveler then this will be an opportunity for you to make new friends.
Dinning at the rock restaurant
The Rock Restaurant is the unique restaurant found here in Zanzibar at michamvi Pingwe beach. This is the most photographed restaurant in Zanzibar. When planning your trip to Zanzibar, you have probably already seen the photo of this Restaurant on social media.
Delicious seafood menus are available; like Squid in Tandoori and Coconut Milk, Stewed Rock Lobster, Grilled Fish Fillets. And other tastes like Chocolate Salami, Tambi, and Ravioli Filled with Aubergines, to mention.
Sleeping in the underwater room
The Manta Resort Hotel is the only place you can sleep in an underwater room. This famous resort is located on Pemba Island, but it is a bit expensive, they charge approximately $1500 per night. Pemba Island is the second-largest island in the Zanzibar Archipelago. This is the main Island for the production of Cloves and different Banana types in Zanzibar.
Pemba Island offers untouched coral reefs for Snorkelers and Divers. If you will be staying on Pemba Island, then you can ask your Hotel to provide you with a trip Snorkeling and Diving
Cuza cave in Jambiani.
Kuza cave lies at Jambiani village, South West Unguja Island. The main activities at Kuza Cave are swimming in a natural pool, enjoying the music, and eating some local foods. The entrance price for the Cuza Cave is $10 per person. It is not necessary to book in advance.
Traditional music at the stone town.
This is performed daily at the Dhow Countries Music Academy in Stone Town. This is the only music school found in Zanzibar Islands. Here you will be able to see the talented young musicians from Zanzibar performing traditional Zanzibar songs.