Zanzibar Island is also known as a spice Island with the two major Islands of Unguja and Pemba. The capital is Zanzibar city located on Unguja Island with the historical site of Stone town which is the world heritage site. Zanzibar is located 25 – 50 kilometers off the coast of the mainland.
The island lies about 60 kilometers northeast of Dar es salaam. It has an international airport where flights from different parts of the world land including the domestic and international ones. There is a ferry which operates from Dar es salaam to Zanzibar with a duration of almost 2hours.
During the Arab invasions, different buildings were constructed and remained unchanged up to date. These buildings attract tourists to learn the history of particular buildings and sites. Such buildings include the Portuguese fort, sultan’s palace, the house of wonders, the Portuguese fort and gardens, the Turkish baths of the old city and the merchant’s houses. It also offers some plantations such as cloves, vanilla, cinnamon and other spices which give visitors the chance to walk day-long and observe how these spices are cultivated and prepared. Later on, you can taste different spices during the tour.
It also offers some of the best beaches in the world with white sands. On the south coast of Zanzibar lies the Menai Bay Conservation Area, a sea turtle protection area for mammals which come to breed on the Island. Also, the Jozani forest which is famous due to its rare red colobus monkeys found on the southeast coast.
It has a number of dive locations which are fantastic such as Nungwi beach which is found in the northeast of the Island where you spot turtles, dolphins, shrimps, leaf fish, and frogfish. Fumba beach is the island with a marine-protected area and commercialized due to fewer divers hence support the marine life of many different animals such as fish life and coral reefs. The beach is not as crowded as other beaches because it is not nice.
Kizimkazi a small village offering marine tours to a protected area especially dolphin tours.
Stone town offers most of the town tour to different attractions especially culture tours and it is the center of Zanzibar town. Diving is also done around the stone town with beautiful coral gardens.
Paje, Bwejuu and Jambian are located on the southeast coast of the Island with dive sites and the lagoon and cement wall where you can see anchors of the ship which lost its cargo of cement since the 1930s.
The best time to visit Zanzibar Island for diving purposes is March where the weather is cooler with occasional rains. April and May is a rainy season with more rains from November to mid-December and the remaining months are the busy days in this busy island.
It is the second-largest Island and less developed Island with more hills and plantations where it offers cloves and receives fewer tourists. It lies about 90 kilometers northeast of Zanzibar and it offers excellent diving spots.
There are also flights between Pemba Island (Pemba airport) and Zanzibar Island (Zanzibar International Airport) flying twice a day and taking about 30 minutes each way. There are also ferries running between Zanzibar and Pemba.
The best time to go Pemba is July and October since its the dry season but in April and May, there are heavy rains so it is not a good time to visit Pemba and most of the lodges and hotels are closed during this rainy season.
Some of the accommodations in Pemba Island include Pemba lodge, Constance Aiyana, Ocean panorama, Misali beach, Swahili Divers & Gecko Nature lodge.
It has great diving and snorkeling spots and it is 150 km south of Zanzibar and 115 km south of Dar es salaam. It is a place where you can see sailfish, tuna, leaf fish, reef fish as well as pelagic fish. It is an about 30minutes flight from the Island and Dar es salaam and it is the least developed Island between the three with a low number of diver operators and accommodations.
The best time to visit this Island is July to October where it will be a dry season with cooler weather because the remaining months such as January and February are hot and dry seasons while in March to June are the rainy season months with most rains on April and May.
Hotels in Mafia Island include Mafia Kivulini Lodge, Mafia Island Lodge, Juani beach bungalows, Butiama beach, Mgeni homestay, Meremeta lodged, Kinasi lodge, Big Blu Mafia Island diving resort, and seafront mafia lodge.
Culture of Zanzibar
Zanzibar people are a mixture of Arabs, Persians, and Africans with different backgrounds and mostly covered by Muslims with some Hindu and other regions but a large part is covered by the Islamic religion. In order to respect the culture of the people in Zanzibar, the girls have to wear a long dress or skirt to cover the legs and men have to cover their legs due to the high percentage of the religion available on the Island.
Community and Nature
Most of nature Zanzibar tours are organized in close cooperation with the community especially the local people of a particular place as they are aware of the area because they spent their life throughout. They also have the knowledge of conservation, the environment and the species found in the particular area.
Zanzibar has hotels varying due to their size and services they offer. Some are budget lodges while others are very fancy lodges which are categorized into luxury lodges.
Hotels mostly booked in Zanzibar city include the listed accommodations below;
- Al-Minar Hotel
- Dhow palace hotel
- Golden tulip stone town boutique
- Tembo house hotel
- Mizingani seafront hotel
- Forodhani park hotel
- Golden Tulip Zanzibar resort
- Antonio garden hotel
- Park Hyatt Zanzibar
- Royal Cliff Zanzibar
Budget Hotels in Zanzibar
- Zanzibar Coffee House
- Royal Cliff Zanzibar
- Forodhani Park Hyatt Hotel
- House of Spices
- Zenji Hotel
- Stone Town View Inn
- Balcony House
- Golden Tulip Zanzibar Resort
- Kisiwa House
- Mizingani Sea Front Hotel
Luxury Hotels in Zanzibar City
- Zanzibar Serena Hotel – It is located on the seafront of ancient stone town, it offers 5-star accommodation with an Indian ocean view, an outdoor pool with sun loungers, café, and free private parking.
- Sea Cliff Resort & Spa – Each room in this hotel contains an en-suite bathroom fitted with a shower, it also offers a private balcony with a view.
- Madinat Al Bahr Business & Spa Hotel – Features an outdoor swimming pool, fitness center and it is located 6km from the peace memorial museum, it is within 8km of the Zanzibar curio shop and from stone town is 6.5km. It offers an indoor pool and a 5-star accommodation, there is a car hire availability also you can play billiards.
- Zanzi Resort – Located on the shore of Indian ocean15km from stone town and a 30minutes drive from Zanzibar International Airport. Oceanfront villas have a private patio with a pool, a lush tropical garden and a gazebo draped in mosquito nets. The bungalow is located to the garden with access to the main swimming pool a guest can be helped in planning day trips and excursions.
- Park Hyatt Zanzibar – It offers an outdoor pool and seafront view, free WiFi access, and Spa. All rooms have flat-screen cable TV, minibar, tea and coffee making facilities, private bathrooms with a bathtub, free toiletries, hairdryer, and a bidet.
- Royal Cliff Zanzibar – It has an outdoor swimming pool, a garden, a fitness center, and a shared lounge. It has a restaurant, a 24-hour front desk, and free WiFi. It provides a concierge service and currency exchange for guests. Top satisfied, nice room design, delicious food, and nice weather.
- Hotel Verde Zanzibar – It provides an express check-in and check-out system, an outdoor swimming pool, non – smoking rooms a garden, free WiFi, children’s playground, kids’ club organizing tours for guests and a concierge service. It is located in Zanzibar city with a peace memorial museum reachable about 5kilometers.
Zanzibar Traditional Packages
Traditional Package Tour: Traditional package tour involves visiting different locations where visitors can see daily activities of Zanzibar such as cooking by using traditional tools and pounding using a mortar and pestle, diving, e.t.c.
Wedding & Honeymoon: The Island is one of the most romantic Islands in the world which offers the perfect setting of an unforgettable wedding or honeymoon. Variety of venues are perfect and idyllic for weddings and honeymoon where professional services are given to respective people.
Meeting, Incentive, Conference, and Events: Zanzibar is more than just a beach holiday destination. It has created a perfect meeting, incentive, conference and event places where guests can take full advantage of what all the archipelago has to offer. Zanzibar has more options than you can ever imagine for holding incentives, meetings events and conferences such as lodges, hotels, and beaches of top class.
Different events have been held in Zanzibar such as Zanzibar International Film festival held in July 2018, Zanzibar culture festival held In July 2018, Mwakakogwa in July 2018, Sauti za Busara in February 2018 and the Zanzibar sea turtle release held in February 2018 also Makunduchi Local Food Festival held in August 2018. All these events leave tourists with knowledge of Africa and of distant lands that imprinted Zanzibar’s world.
Means of Transport
Different means of transport can be used to reach Zanzibar such as water transport using ferry and air transport using flights. Zanzibar has an international airport where flights from different parts of the world land. The airport is known as the Zanzibar International Airport. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your respective hotel by a particular Tour operator that you are booked with.
Welcome to Zanzibar the archipelago with the UNESCO world heritage site (stone town) with beautiful beaches, accommodations and the spice Island.
Plan your tour now!!!