You and your besties are always on the lookout for new adventures? Then get ready for big smiles and eyes, because Tanzania has just that for you… plus a stunning flora and fauna… plus a mesmerizing culture… plus music, dance and party. If you’re adventurous, you can climb the famous Kilimanjaro, dive into the unique […]
Top 10 Things To Do In Zanzibar
When going on any holiday, you want to get the most out of your experiences, whether excursions, tours, or just a relaxing day at the spa or the poolside.
You might assume the territory of Zanzibar is relatively small, but on this island, you’ll be surprised to know that there is an abundance of things to see and do.
As you explore Zanzibar, you’ll soon discover that every corner of this island, from its picturesque towns to its breathtaking shores, holds a treasure trove of experiences you won’t want to miss.
We’ll share our top 10 best things to do in Zanzibar if you want to have a truly unforgettable experience. These activities are not only enjoyable but also offer an authentic immersion in the beauty of this stunning island. Keep reading to uncover the secrets to an unforgettable Zanzibar adventure.
The 10 Best Things To Do In Zanzibar
Jozani Forest Tour
We start off this list with a captivating private tour of the exquisite Jozani-Chwaka Bay National Park. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to observe Colobus monkeys as they gracefully navigate the forest reserve, while gaining insight into the unique evolution of the island’s wildlife, isolated from the mainland.
You’ll also walk by towering eucalyptus and mahogany trees and see the vast array of birds like Mangrove kingfishers, Forest Batis, African paradise flycatchers, and a host of others.
The mangrove walk takes you above the swamp, where you might be able to catch a glimpse of some Indian Ocean tropical fish flitting between the roots, so get that camera ready!
Stone Town And Spice Tour
This is a tour that you don’t want to miss, as you can experience an all-day tour that takes you through a world heritage site and contains many fine buildings that reflect a culture that has elements of Africa, the Arab region, India, and Europe.
While exploring these charming streets, you’ll also have the chance to marvel at the cathedral, visit the historic slave markets, explore the Sultan Palace, step into the ancient Arabic fort, and admire the iconic Zanzibar doors.
Afterward, consider a visit to the Jambo spice farm, where you can immerse yourself in the aromatic world of Zanzibar’s spices. Here, you can not only observe the various spices but also support the local community by purchasing handmade items.
Nungwi Village Tour
If you’re interested in seeing some of the conservation efforts, especially with hawksbill and green turtles, where you can get up close and feed them, and you can follow this by learning how the locals earn their living, as you can see from their fishing and farming.
With this tour, you also get the chance to visit local boatmakers and see how they can be made from scratch, so you can have a change of pace and end your tour with a Swahili-style lunch.
If you’re looking for the best things to do in Zanzibar, this excursion can be a great way to get involved with the culture. Expect to have a full itinerary as you take a trip around the village.
For those seeking some enchanting wildlife encounters, consider embarking on a morning boat cruise. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to get up close and personal with delightful bottlenose dolphins. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can even take it a step further and enjoy a swim with these friendly dolphins at Menai Bay.
You’ll have a fantastic opportunity to see them in their natural habitat, which can be fun for all members of your group, and if on tour, the guide can give you some insights into these marvelous creatures.
Nearby, you could also take up an island snorkeling tour, where you can see the colorful fish and diverse ecosystems of these lovely tropical oceans. An animal tour is among the top things to do in Zanzibar, and it’s an experience you won’t soon forget!
Kuza Cave Tour
If you’re in the mood for a popular tourist experience, you can’t miss the renowned rock restaurant, perched on a dramatic outcrop jutting out into the sea. After this captivating visit, you’ll have the opportunity to swim and explore the nearby cave.
This excursion not only allows you to discover Zanzibar’s hidden treasures but also offers the insights of a knowledgeable guide who will enrich your immersion in the island’s culture and history. It’s a fantastic way to uncover the local gems of Zanzibar!
Inside an ancient limestone cave, you’ll find crystal-clear mineral water pool that you can dip into and come out feeling refreshed and invigorated for the rest of your trip.
Going to Cheetah’s Rock is one of the best things to do in Zanzibar, Tanzania. It’s a unique place where you can interact with cheetahs, lemurs, monkeys, gazelles, and even tigers, where you can feed and see them in a more personal way inside this rescue and conservation center.
You can also speak to the center’s guides, who can explain further the work they do and the story behind each animal, making the experience very personal and informative.
This really is one of those special experiences as you get to be around these majestic animals, and it may even make you think differently about them.
Paje Or Jambiani Beach
If you’re not really into tours or excursions, why not go for something simple and pack up for the beach?
Here, you’ll find some of Zanzibar’s most beautiful beaches, with clean white sand and turquoise water that is bound to leave you in awe.
Have a wander through the low tides, or simply kick back on a towel and let the serene environment take your breath away. This beach is also a great option if you have kids and are looking for a place they can roam free.
Another noteworthy landmark awaits your exploration: a sanctuary teeming with wildlife, including a converted prison. This captivating spot is just a quick 30-minute boat ride from Stone Town’s harbor.
The true stars of this destination are the Aldabra tortoises, freely roaming the island and awaiting your interaction. You can feed and interact with them, which is undoubtedly a highlight of the visit!
If you’re feeling curious, you can have a guide provide you with insights into the fascinating history of the area.
The tour to Prison Island can be a great way to pass the time or act as a stop for your tour or for those nature and wildlife enthusiasts who want an easy way to engage with it. With the diversity of experiences it offers, you’ll never quite know what delightful surprises await you there.
Sauti Za Busara
If you’re keen to immerse yourself in the vibrant musical traditions of Africa, the Old Fort hosts a special event that you won’t want to miss. This cultural celebration includes fringe events scattered throughout Stone Town, complete with a lively carnival street parade. Typically, this festival takes place in February each year.
Here, you’ll discover a diverse range of voices, from up-and-coming artists to seasoned professionals, all sharing music deeply rooted in cultural identity. It’s an opportunity to enrich your experience in a truly immersive and engaging way. If you’re looking for top things to do in Zanzibar, definitely consider this one!
The Safari Blue Cruise
You can find this experience in Fumba village, and once on board, you’ll have chances to snorkel, try dhow sailing, visit sandbank stops, or go to a mangrove lagoon, all the while having a seafood buffet with all the best fruit that is grown and picked in the local areas.
The boat will take you around Kwale Island, and there are a few spots where you can see dolphins. You can stop off on the island and take in the ambience that this inclusive area brings, so there is always an opportunity to discover something new.
What If I Don’t Want A Guided Tour?
As good as these options are, we understand that not everyone likes these types of experiences and wants a more freeing trip that doesn’t tie you down to an itinerary. Maybe you want to explore the island in your own time? Whatever the case, you can still experience Tanzania to the fullest!
You can easily hire a rental car and take to the roads as you see Zanzibar and its various places of interest as you travel, including the Zanzibar Butterfly Center, the Jozani sea turtle and tortoise sanctuary, or maybe the Maungani park and garden.
If you drive alongside the east coast, you’ll also find many hotels, forests, clearwater caves, and even a sporting lodge if you go south, so as you can see, you have many options on what you can do and see.
Be aware, though, that some centers, museums, or restaurants might require a booking or a fee to be able to access them, so perhaps you might want to have a rough list of places that you’d like to visit that day.
Now you have a good itinerary and have your days planned out, you might want to consider the time of year you travel there as the time from April to May is the rainy season, and the rest of the year is fine, but occasional showers can make the air humid.
The location of the island is in the malarial belt, which could be a cause for concern when not in the coastal areas. But current vaccinations and mosquito nets can lower the chances of you getting malaria, and if in doubt, consult with your practitioner.
You also want to make sure that you’re courteous to the people by following any local customs and sensibilities, and even though the people are quite tolerant, it won’t hurt to get off to a good start with the people you meet.
Being courteous and kind to the environment and animals around you is good manners and allows you to learn more about the culture as well.
Guided tours might seem the easiest way to see the majestic parts of the country, but there’s no denying that you can have many memorable and thrilling experiences on whatever excursion you decide to take. And – let’s admit it – if you’re looking for the best things to do in Zanzibar, Tanzania, you’ll have a plethora of options to choose from!
You’ll find that the experiences listed above suit a range of different interests and needs, but be aware that some of these tours might require a lot of walking. Keep that in mind and determine if this will affect you or your group.You can always try simpler, more accessible experiences.
If you can’t decide on the things to do in Zanzibar and which places to visit, contact us! We’ll help you plan your trip and ensure you have the best possible experience while in Tanzania.