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Zanzibar Island

Zanzibar Island is known as Africa’s tropical paradise, offering the world’s most beautiful beaches. Here, you find miles and miles of white sandy beaches dotted with palm trees, surrounded by the clear azure water of the Indian Ocean. Zanzibar is part of the Zanzibar Archipelago together with Pemba Island and many other smaller islands.  Zanzibar Island offers a laidback beach life, but also a large variety of activities, a colorful culture and a deep history. You can go on a spice tour or explore the amazing coral reefs and swim among tropical reef fish.  Zanzibar Island has all the ingredients to make a memorable holiday. See below for our personal top three accommodations as well as our top Zanzibar Island itineraries.

This is how you stay!

Zanzibar island has several beaches and resorts in all four cardinal directions. But our personal preference is the east coast of Zanzibar, mainly because of its gorgeous and serene beaches, the many activities it offers and the various multi-cuisine restaurants, satisfying even the most picky taste palette. According to our travel experts, this side of the island offers you the overall best Zanzibarian experience. Since there are countless of resorts and lodges, we have narrowed our three personal favorites down to three price categories.
For the Silver category, we recommend Fun Beach hotel – 42 rooms with pool or beach view and modern amenities for maximum comfort. For our Gold category, we refer you to Next Paradise – an ocean facing boutique resort with 25 elegantly furnished rooms and excellent dining. The rooms come in several categories with each its own special features.
And last but not least, for our Platinum category (drumroll….. ) – Qambani Luxury Resort. This resort offers the most beautiful and decadent stay in Zanzibar with impeccable service within its six, uniquely themed villas. The refined and graceful strokes in the interior designs and artworks makes each villa tell its own story and still give it a home-away-from-home-feel. Qambani is luxury and comfort at its best!

A rich culture and history

The Zanzibar islands are named the Spice Islands, because of their rich history in spice trade and the many spice plantations. The historic Stone Town is an amazing mix of cultures. Food lovers and culture enthusiasts can visit interesting places, such as the Sultan’s Palace, the House of Wonders and the Darajani or Forodhani food markets. The opportunities are truly endless here!

Video about Zanzibar Island

This is what Zanzibar Island is all about!

  • Crystal white sandy beaches with palm trees
  • Azure blue Indian Ocean
  • Beautiful coral reefs
  • Breathtaking sceneries
  • Culture and history in Stone Town
  • Friendly people
  • Good service
  • Delicious food

Excursions and activities Zanzibar

  • Spice tour: walk with a guide through spice plantations where pepper, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and fruit grows.
  • Kitesurfing: at the beaches Paje, Kiwengwa en Nungwi.
  • Mountainbike excursion
  • Stone Town excursion: stroll through the narrow streets of this lively town and visit some local markets and the former slave market.
  • Prison Island excursion: take a 30 minute boat trip to this island, which once was a place where slaves were detained. Nowadays it is  a nature reserve for giant tortoises and a place to see the ruins of the former prison.
  • Safari Blue: during this excursion you visit 3 islands where you can swim, snorkel and have a nice BBQ.
  • Visit Jozani forest: a great jungle walk through the last indigenous forest on Zanzibar with lots of monkeys, like the rare red colobus monkeys.
  • Snorkeling and scuba diving at one of the many great reefs.
  • Cultural tour: this excursion gives you an insight in the way of life of the local people.
  • Mnemba Island tour: snorkeling trip to the most popular snorkeling spot in Zanzibar.

Travel time to Zanzibar

A flight from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar takes only 20 minutes. You can also combine Zanzibar with a safari on the mainland. The distance from Arusha (safari capital) to Zanzibar is about 420 kilometres.

  • Arusha to Zanzibar: € 285 (one way)
  • Dar Es Salaam to Zanzibar: € 90 (one way)
  • Kilimanjaro to Zanzibar: € 350 (one way)

Zanzibar facts

  • Total surface 1554 km2 (965 mi)
  • 85 km (53 mi) long and 20-30 km (12-19 mi) wide
  • Zanzibar lies 35 km (22 mi) off the coast
  • Population 1,3 million
  • Language: Swahili & English
  • Currency: Tanzanian Shilling

Travel tips from our experts about Zanzibar

Zanzibar is not only exceptionally beautiful but there is also a lot to do on the island, from cultural experiences to scuba diving and sailing trips. Some people just like to stay for a few days, for others 3 weeks is not long enough.

Our advice

How long to stay in in Zanzibar? At least 5 days

Which hotel? Blue Reef Sport & Fishing lodges in Jambiani. We think Jambiani is the most beautiful beach in Zanzibar. There is also a small village nearby with many restaurants where you can eat.

Best time for kitesurfing in Zanzibar

Zanzibar if a perfect location for those looking for great kitesurfing. The best time for kitesurfing is:

  • December till mid-March
  • June till October