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Zanzibar Beaches & Zanzibar Stone Town
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Zanzibar Beaches & Zanzibar Stone Town

Snapshot

After an exhilarating safari on the mainland, why not treat yourselves to a heavenly beach holiday on the spice islands of Zanzibar? This tropical island paradise is the perfect way to wind down and reflect on your adventure. You’ll be treated like kings whilst you relax on white, palm-fringed beaches, snorkel in azure coral reefs and sample some of Stone Town’s vibrant Swahili culture. 

 

Best Time to Visit:

Year around, but June to October is hot with lots of sunshine and mild sea breezes.
 

Average Visitor Rating:

5 out of 5 'Pawprints' Based on 1 Review(s)
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Laid-back, Rustic Zanzibar

Zanzibar is a low-lying coral atoll just off the coast of Tanzania, measuring 80km x 35km. It is both vibrant and peaceful, with beaches that rival anywhere in the world. The laid-back Swahili culture envelops you as you set foot on the island - the aroma of spices on the warm breeze, traditional dhow boats bobbing on the sea, the smiling faces of the locals. Stone Town, the island’s capital, is in the south west of the island. It’s a buzzing, lively place - a matrix of winding, narrow streets with authentic markets and plenty of rustic charm. 

 

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Paradise Beaches, Vibrant Stone Town and Other Highlights

Paradise Beaches

You’ll find the main beaches along the north and south-east coastlines. A typical Zanzibar beach is the type you see in a paradise holiday brochure – softest white sands fringed with coconut palms, leading out to colourful coral reefs and a gin-clear turquoise sea. Some beaches are secluded, others are colonised with villages close by, so you are likely to see locals fishing and collecting seaweed. For total privacy, go to the east coast coves or one of Zanzibar’s private islands, such as Mnemba Island. Zanzibar archipelago is one of the world’s prime locations for diving and snorkelling – when you see the coral reefs for yourself, you’ll understand why.

 

Stone Town – A Slice of Swahili Culture

You will most likely arrive in Stone Town for the start of your holiday. This Swahili city, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is buzzing with life and steeped in history - a stark contrast to the tranquility of the beaches. Walk along the labyrinth of narrow streets lined with market stalls, mosques and ancient Sultan’s residences. Look out for the many antique wooden doors, intricately carved and decorated in gold. Market traders are selling their wares, from spices to jewels to artwork. Taarab music fills the streets. The sights, sounds and smells of Stone Town reflect its vibrancy and culture. It’s a wonderful place to spend a night or two. 

 

Zanzibar’s Mysterious History

Originally, Zanzibar was inhabited by Bantu speaking Africans. Persians arrived in the 10th Century. From as long ago as the 15th Century, Zanzibar traded with the Arab world. The Portuguese ruled Zanzibar for 200 years, until the island fell under Arab control again in 1698, led by the Sultanate of Oman. It was the Omanis that built Stone Town, once the centre of a prosperous slave, spice and ivory trade up and down Africa’s east coast. 25,000 slaves passed through Zanzibar each year. With the abolition of the slave trade in the 19th Century, Zanzibar became part of the British Empire until it regained independence in 1968. Today, Zanzibar is a free market with its own parliament and president, and part of the United Republic of Tanzania. You can see many ruins on the island – Omani palaces, Persian baths, underground slave chambers, hidden tombs, forts – it’s a fascinating and mysterious journey through time.

 

 

Activities

Diving & Snorkelling

If you are looking for diving, snorkelling or sunbathing, then you are spoilt for choice. Diving in the coral reef at Chumbe Island, Tanzania’s national marine park, is out of this world - 350 species of fish are thriving in this conservation area. Mnemba Island is a private marine park with another breathtaking coral reef and a sanctuary for green turtles. Misali Island is also a marine haven for diving and snorkelling, with idyllic deserted beaches. Zanzibar has well-organised PADI diving centres.

 

Other Activities

Go deep sea fishing using techniques mastered by local fishermen - this is not for the faint-hearted, you could catch blue marlin, sailfish or barracuda! For a more relaxing time on the ocean, try a traditional Dhow cruise around isolated islands and enchanting beaches. Swim with dolphins off the southern-most tip of Unguja. See giant tortoises on Prison Island. Kite surf in the shallow lagoons off Zanzibar’s east coast, one of the world’s top kite surfing locations. 

 

Tour the many ancient ruins that tell the story of Zanzibar’s heyday, when the Sultans traded in slaves and spices. No trip to Zanzibar is complete without visiting one of the many spice plantations, where you can taste delicious local dishes infused with fragrant spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and vanilla. Visit Pemba Island to see the world’s largest fruit bat - endemic to Zanzibar, the Pemba Flying Fox is a megabat with a wingspan of over 5.5 feet! Jozani Forest, a beautiful ancient rainforest, is definitely worth a tour if just to be entertained by the red colobus monkeys which thrive in the area. If you visit Stone Town in February, there’s an amazing music festival called the Sauti za Busara, with live African music playing non-stop for 4 days. 

 

 

Accommodation

Would you like a prime, ocean-front location with a spa, your own plunge pool, a private chef and even a butler? There are some incredible boutique hotels and exclusive hideaways on the archipelago, with state of the art facilities. If that all seems a bit extravagant, how about a beautiful eco-lodge on a spotless stretch of beach, or a comfortable en-suite bungalow, or a Makuti-thatched villa? There is a great deal of choice for all budgets. You won’t find any high-rise hotels or giant resorts on Zanzibar though – like its culture, the accommodation is more intimate with attention given to personal service.

 

 

Best Time to Visit

June to October is the dry season, when the climate is hot and humid with lots of sunshine and a refreshing sea breeze. January and February also have a good deal of sunshine, but a very high humidity level as the rainy season approaches. 

 

 

How to Get There

If you are planning a holiday in Zanzibar after a safari on the mainland, there are daily direct flights from many of Tanzania’s northern and southern safari destinations. From Dar es Salaam, it’s a short 30 minute flight to Zanzibar Airport. You can also take the ferry from Dar to Zanzibar – it takes about 1.5 hours, depending on the weather. 

 

 


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Reviews for Zanzibar Beaches & Zanzibar Stone Town

User Rating



What a magnificent island and beautiful place to visit. The people are friendly, accommodations awesome and beaches fantastic!



 
Cathy Dodd
3rd March 2015

What a magnificent island and beautiful place to visit. The people are friendly, accommodations awesome and beaches fantastic!



 
Stefan Bollier
3rd March 2015

Dear Cathy - it was a real pleasure to work with you and Steve. Many thanks for the review!



 
 

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