Zanzibar is a group of islands located off the east coast of Tanzania. Zanzibar’s history is steeped in trade, slavery, and colonialism, and it was once a hub of the spice trade.

Zanzibar’s culture is a vibrant mix of African, Arab, and Indian influences. Tourists can experience this through the island’s music, dance, and cuisine. Visitors can try local delicacies like Zanzibari pizza, seafood, and spices like cloves and cinnamon.

If you’re planning a trip to Zanzibar, it’s important to be aware of the local customs and traditions and the best times to visit.

The Top Things to See and Do in Zanzibar

Here is an overview of some of the must-see attractions of Zanzibar.

Stone Town

Stone Town is located on the western coast of Zanzibar. This historic center is renowned for its narrow alleys, bustling bazaars, and magnificent architecture that seamlessly blends African, Arab, Indian, and European styles.

The town is also home to several notable landmarks, including the Old Fort, the House of Wonders, and the Palace Museum, each of which offers a glimpse into Zanzibar’s rich cultural heritage. Visitors can explore the winding streets and vibrant markets, sampling delicious street food and browsing artisanal crafts.

Nungwi Beach

Nungwi Beach, located on the northern tip of Zanzibar, is a must-visit destination for any tourist seeking sun, sand, and sea. The beach boasts crystal clear waters and soft white sand, making it the perfect place to relax and soak up the tropical sun. Visitors can take part in a range of water activities, including snorkeling, diving, and deep-sea fishing, with opportunities to see vibrant marine life such as dolphins, sea turtles, and colorful fish.

Nungwi is also home to a lively nightlife scene, with beach bars and clubs offering live music and entertainment. Whether swimming in the warm waters, strolling along the picturesque shore, or dancing the night away, Nungwi Beach is a paradise for all types of tourists.

Jozani Forest Reserve

Jozani Forest Reserve is located in the center of Zanzibar. This lush tropical forest is home to a variety of unique flora and fauna, including the rare and endangered Zanzibar Red Colobus Monkey, which can only be found on the island.

Visitors can take guided tours to see these playful primates up close, as well as other wildlife such as bushbabies and duikers. The forest also features a boardwalk trail that winds through the mangroves, providing a peaceful and scenic walk. Additionally, Jozani Forest Reserve offers educational programs about the conservation efforts to protect the area’s diverse ecosystems.

Spice tour

Known as the «Spice Island,» Zanzibar has a rich history of producing and exporting spices such as cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper. Visitors can take guided tours through the island’s lush plantations, learning about the cultivation and processing of these aromatic ingredients.

Along the way, they can taste fresh spices and fruits, learning about their culinary and medicinal uses. The tour also offers a glimpse into the local culture and traditions of the island, as well as the impact of the spice trade on Zanzibar’s history and economy. A spice tour is a fascinating way to immerse oneself in the sights, smells, and tastes of Zanzibar’s vibrant and aromatic heritage.

Prison Island

Prison Island was originally used as a detention center for slaves, and later as a quarantine station for people with deadly diseases. Today, visitors can explore the island’s dark history by visiting the ruins of the prison and other historical structures.

The island is also home to a population of giant tortoises, some of which are over 100 years old, and visitors can interact with them up close. The clear waters surrounding the island offer great opportunities for snorkeling, with the chance to spot colorful coral and tropical fish. In addition to its historical and natural attractions, Prison Island is also known for its stunning beach, where visitors can relax and soak up the sun.

Kendwa Beach

Kendwa Beach is located on the northwestern coast of the island. Kendwa boasts a wide stretch of white sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters that are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing.

The beach is known for its spectacular sunsets, which are among the most beautiful in Zanzibar. In addition to its natural beauty, Kendwa also has a lively nightlife scene, with beach bars and clubs offering live music and entertainment. Visitors can also take part in water activities such as diving, snorkeling, and fishing.

Mnemba Atoll

Mnemba Atoll is located off the northeastern coast of Zanzibar. This small coral island is surrounded by pristine waters that are home to a diverse array of marine creatures, including colorful fish, sea turtles, and dolphins.

Visitors can take guided snorkeling or diving tours to explore the atoll’s rich marine ecosystems, with opportunities to see rare species such as humpback whales and whale sharks. The island is a protected marine reserve, ensuring the conservation of its fragile coral reefs and ecosystems.

Forodhani Night Market

Forodhani Night Market is located in the heart of Stone Town. The market offers a wide range of delicious dishes, including fresh seafood, Zanzibari pizza, and grilled meats, as well as sweet treats like sugarcane juice and Zanzibari ice cream.

The lively atmosphere is filled with the sounds of music and the chatter of locals and tourists alike, creating a unique and unforgettable experience. The market is also a great place to buy souvenirs, with vendors selling handmade crafts, clothing, and jewelry.

Chumbe Island Coral Park

Chumbe Island Coral Park features a stunning coral reef ecosystem that is home to a wide variety of marine life, including over 400 species of fish and turtles. Visitors can take guided snorkeling or diving tours to explore the reef and learn about the conservation efforts to protect it.

The island is also home to a rare and endangered species of the coconut crab, which can be seen up close on guided walks. The park offers a range of educational programs about sustainability and conservation, as well as comfortable eco-bungalows for overnight stays.

Paje Beach

Paje Beac is located on the southeastern coast of Zanzibar. The beach is known for its stunning turquoise waters, soft white sand, and picturesque palm trees. Visitors can take part in a range of water activities, including snorkeling, kite surfing, and scuba diving.

The beach is particularly popular with kite surfers, with favorable wind conditions creating a perfect setting for the sport. Paje also offers a range of restaurants and bars serving fresh seafood and tropical cocktails.

Whether you are interested in history, culture, or natural wonders, Zanzibar has something for everyone.

Traveling to Zanzibar: important information for tourists

Use that important information for travelers visiting Zanzibar and enjoy!

Visa Requirements. Most visitors to Zanzibar will require a visa, which can be obtained on arrival at the airport or at the border crossing. The visa fee is $50 USD for most nationalities, and the visa is valid for 90 days.

Currency and Exchange Rates. The currency used in Zanzibar is the Tanzanian shilling (TZS). The exchange rate is approximately 1 USD to 2,500 TZS.

Language Spoken. The official languages of Tanzania are Swahili and English. Many people in Zanzibar also speak Arabic and other local dialects.

Climate. Zanzibar has a tropical climate, with temperatures ranging from 25°C to 32°C (77°F to 90°F) throughout the year. The rainy season is from March to May and November to December, while the dry season is from June to October and January to February.

Health and Safety. Visitors should drink bottled water, avoid street food, and take measures to avoid mosquito bites. It is also recommended to have comprehensive travel insurance.

Emergency Contact Numbers. In case of emergency, visitors can dial 112 for police, fire, and ambulance. Tourists must have contact information for the nearest embassy or consulate in case of any issues with travel documents or other emergencies.

By keeping these important factors in mind, travelers can enjoy a safe and enjoyable visit to the beautiful island of Zanzibar.