What to do in Zanzibar?
Are you preparing to visit Zanzibar? Are you already arrived and looking for best things to do in Zanzibar for your vacation and holiday? This guide will help you to find general things you can do and where to start.
Going Spice tour: Zanzibar is a huge supplier of exotic spices and throughout the island plantations offer fascinating tours giving you a chance to taste, see and smell many of the exotic fruits and spices. Zanzibar is also known as Spice Islands due to its historic production of different spices like Cloves, Cinnamon, Black Pepper, White Pepper, Nutmegs. You will have full information about how Zanzibar locals grow and use all different spices that are grown here in Zanzibar. So, visiting Spice farms is a must do thing when visiting Zanzibar Islands. This tour includes Spiced rice lunch with tropical fruits, also in case you want to buy spices you can buy well packed spices at the end of the tour.
Chill Out and Relax: Zanzibar is blessed with a coastline of picture perfect beaches. There are miles of white sand leading into shallow turquoise water lined with offshore reefs and dotted with small fishing villages sheltering under coconut palms. Why not just chill out and relax!
Dhow Cruise: At high tide all the dhows sail into the various beaches and harbors on Zanzibar and lively bartering for the day’s catch ensues. Cruising around the islands on a traditional dhow boat is one of the best ways to experience Zanzibar.
Going Safari Blue: Undoubtedly among the best snorkeling tour to do in Zanzibar. Tour start from Fumba beach village to Menai Bay Conservation Area. This place is rich with fascinating colorful sea creatures with untouched coral garden. Fumba beach village is located along the southern shores of Unguja Island (Zanzibar). It is about 25.2 km from Zanzibar Stone Town.This trip always starts at Fumba beach using Traditional Dhow and you can decide to do Private or Sharing, depending on your budget. The main activities in this trip are; Swimming & Snorkeling, Visiting Kwale Island, Sandbank relaxing, Seafood lunch, Tropical fruits, Singing and having fun with your friends & partners.
Spice Tour: Zanzibar Islands is a huge supplier of exotic spices and throughout the island plantations offer fascinating tours giving you a chance to taste, see and smell many of the exotic fruits and spices. Stone Town has been listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO since 2000. Going Stone Town tour is a best thing to do if you want to know more about Zanzibar peoples. And the best way to learn more about Stone town is to book a special Historical Stone town walking tour. In this tour, you will be able to do Shopping and visiting different historical and famous places like; The former Slave Trade Market, House Of Wonder, Freddie Mercury House, Palace, The Old Fort etc. You will also learn more about the Architectures, culture, religions of the people of Zanzibar and so on.
Snorkeling at Mnemba Island: Mnemba Island is a private island located at Matemwe beach (Zanzibar north). This is among the best places for Snorkeling and Swimming in Zanzibar. If you are lucky, you may also be able to swim with Dolphins during snorkeling, but it is not guaranteed because they are seasonal in this place.
Swimming With Wild Dolphins:
Are you dreaming of swimming with dolphins this Holiday? Zanzibar will be the right destination for your dream to come true. Zanzibar has more than five Dolphin species; Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin and Spinner Dolphins are the two common species you will see, Kizimkazi fishers village and Mnemba Island are the best and common place where tourists go swimming with wild dolphins. But remember that, it is not hundred percent guaranteed you can spot the Dolphins, because these are the wild Dolphins. However, going for Dolphin trip is not just about Dolphins, but you can also do snorkeling so it’s still worth going on a dolphin tour. Also, there are other different places where Dolphins can be found in Zanzibar like; Fumba Menai Bay, But remember these places are less common to see the dolphins compared to Kizimkazi and Mnemba Island in Matemwe.
Sunset Cruising with Dhow:This is an amazing thing you can do when visiting Zanzibar. This trip is considered as the best way to view the beauty of the sunset on the Island.You can do the sunset cruise at Stone town or at Nungwi and Kendwa beach north part of Unguja (Zanzibar) depending on where you will be interested.During the trip you will be enjoying the local music with special snacks and drinks prepared by the locals.
Visiting Prison Island:Prison Island is among the best small islands to visit in Zanzibar for Holiday. The Prison Island is also known as Changuu Island by the Locals, this is because the word “Changuu” is the common name of popular fishes around this island. This island is located north of the Stone town beach, about 5.6 km. It takes 30 minutes to arrive at the Island. This is the place where you can see and feed the Giant tortoise in Zanzibar. You can also do swimming or snorkeling.
Go to Nakupenda Sandbank: In this trip you will be experiencing the traditional local boats made by the woods toward Nakupenda Sandbank. This is also among the best places for Snorkeling, Sunbathing. On this trip, you will have fresh seafood prepared for lunch with tropical fruits like Banana, Water melone, Pineapple, Avocado etc.The word “Nakupenda” is swahili word which means “I love you” in English language. This is a shiny and luxurious Sandbank located a few minutes from Stone Town. Cooking class and Market Tour: This is the best experience for tourists who seek to learn more about Zanzibar’s cultures, or for foodies who want to cook spicy delicious meals from Zanzibar by themselves. On this tour, you will start with buying stuff at Darajani Market and then you will go to cook with a local chef. Blue Lagoon
Snorkeling in Michamvi: Michamvi is one among the best beaches in Zanzibar with a lot of adventurous activities for your vacation, Blue Lagoon snorkeling is one among those activities you can do here. This place offers the best snorkeling experience you can imagine because of the natural untouched coral garden with a variety of sea creatures with different shapes and colors. If you are dreaming of snorkeling with Starfishes, then the blue lagoon has to be on your list for Zanzibar. You can find the blue lagoon trip on our tours list, from there you will learn more and start organizing the tour with us. On this tour you will take a locally made boat with our guide, and it will include all snorkeling tools, fruits and drinking water, also after the tour you will be able to go having lunch at the Rock Restaurant.
Skydiving: Are you still checking if you can do Skydiving in Zanzibar? Hundred percent! Now you can do it here. If you are an adventurer and looking to do something very memorable for Zanzibar, then you can do Skydiving. Skydiving is a very extreme activity and it has a lot of benefits to a human like Stress relief, reducing fears, boosting confidence, improving general mental Health and so on.
Enjoy the atmosphere of Kae Sunset Beach:Visiting Kae Sunset Beach is the best thing you will never regret doing in Zanzibar. We highly recommend this beach for couples. It’s a very romantic and cool place to have dinner with your partner while having a breathtaking view of the sunset over Indian Ocean. Best time to visit Kae Sunset beach is from 17:00, first you can chill and experience the sunset, watching acrobats show and then later you can order a drink or have dinner.Foods here are absolutely amazing, fresh and professionally cooked with the ingredients from Zanzibar markets.
Henna Painting:If you love fashion, then Henna painting is one thing you should try in Zanzibar. Henna is a temporary dye, different from Tattoos. In our culture in Zanzibar, Henna is only for women, not men. Actually, we use henna for Festival purposes; like Eid days, or for weddings.
Swimming with Sea Turtles: Swimming with turtles is among the best things you may do in Nungwi beach Zanzibar for your Holiday. You don’t have to worry, swimming with turtles is safe. They are friendly, not harmful animals to humans. Baraka Natural Aquarium and Mnarani Marine Turtles Conservation Pond are the only two places where you can go swimming with sea turtles in Zanzibar. All these places are located at Nungwi village north part of the Unguja Island, about 62.9 km from the Stone Town. You can contact us here for an arrangement like Transport from your Hotel to these places.
Kiteboarding: The kiteboarding is very famous sport for tourists who are coming to Zanzibar during the summer, If you are interested in kiting, Paje and Jambiani beaches are the best places to do kiting in Zanzibar for your Holiday. You can kite whether you are a beginner or an experienced kite, we have so many kiting schools here.And if you are a beginner and you need an instructor, you can get an instructor of your language; English, Russian, Italian, German, Spanish, French, Polish.
Go full moon Party at Kendwa Rocks: The full moon party at Kendwa Rocks Hotel Zanzibar is among the best full moon party in the World. This party is organized every month, and actually on the weekend on Saturday at Kendwa beach. This is among the best beaches in Zanzibar Island which is located in the north part of Zanzibar (Unguja). In this party, you will be enjoying amazing acrobats, Swahili and Africa music, Delicious like seafood menus, drinks etc.
Horse Riding: Are you dreaming of riding Horse along the beach? You can do this here in Zanzibar. Horse riding is not a famous activity in Zanzibar, but it is available here. You can do horse riding on the north part of Zanzibar, Nungwi beach. There are four options; Beach rides, Swim rides, Sunset rides, and Country rides.
Free Walking on the Beach: This is an absolutely free thing you can do here in Zanzibar for your Holiday. Zanzibar is famous for its amazing super white, clean, sandy beaches. If you are planning to visit Zanzibar make sure you have a time walking on the beach, and if you are a solo traveler then this will be an opportunity for you to make new friends.
Dining at The Rock Restaurant:The Rock Restaurant is the unique restaurant found here in Zanzibar at michamvi Pingwe beach. This is the most photographed Restaurant in Zanzibar. When planning your trip to Zanzibar, you have probably already seen the photo of this Restaurant on social media. Delicious seafood menus are available; like Squid in Tandoori and Coconut Milk, Stewed Rock Lobster, Grilled Fish Fillets. And other tastes like Chocolate Salami, Tambi, Ravioli Filled with Aubergines, to mention.
Sleeping in Underwater Room: Are you dreaming of sleeping with fishes? You can do this in Zanzibar. The Manta Resort Hotel is the only place you can sleep in an underwater room. This famous Resort located in Pemba Island, but it is a bit expensive, they charge approximately $1,500 per night. Pemba Island is the second largest island in Zanzibar Archipelago. This is a main Island for production of Cloves and different Banana types in Zanzibar. Pemba Island offers untouched coral reefs for Snorkelers and Divers. If you will be staying in Pemba Island, then you can ask your Hotel to provide you a trip to Snorkeling and Diving.
Visiting Ngezi Forest in Pemba Island: There are so many things you can do in Zanzibar at Pemba Island, but visiting Ngezi forest is an unmissable experience.Ngezi Forest is the home of different species like Pemba Flying Fox Bats, Pemba Vervet Monkey, Zanzibar Red Colobus Monkey, etc.To visit Ngezi forest in Pemba Island, you must first land at Zanzibar Airport which is located in Unguja Island, then get the local flight to Pemba Island.
Visiting Kuza Cave at Jambiani: Are you planning to stay at Jambiani beach in Zanzibar? Kuza cave is located at Jambiani village, South West Unguja Island. The main activities at Kuza Cave are swimming in a natural pool, enjoying the music, and eating some local foods. It is not necessary to book in advance. You may also go there even though you are not staying at Jambiani beach, just contact us and we will pick you from your Hotel to kuza Cave (Go and Return).
Attending Zanzibar Festivals: Attending local festivals is the best way to learn the culture of any society. Here in Zanzibar, there are various Festivals you may attend when you are here for the Holiday. Here is the list of common festivals in Zanzibar with their dates;
- Zanzibar International Films Festival (July 4th to 12th)
- Sauti Za Busara (February 11th to 14th)
- Zanzibar Beach & Watersports Festival (December 4th to 7th)
- Mwaka Kogwa
Visiting Mangapwani Cave: The Mangapwani Cave is located in Mangapwani village 20 km from the Stone town. This cave was used as the Slave chember during the Slave trade, now it has become as a tourist attraction. The cave was discovered in the early 19th century as a slave boy who was in search of a goat that had fallen into the cavern. If you are interested more about the History of slave trade, then you should do Stone town and Mangapwani Cave tour.
Learn Some Swahili Words: Knowing some swahili words will help you start conversation with the locals. The word “Jambo” is frequently used when meeting with locals, this word means Hi!/ Hello/ How are you!/ Hey!Here are other 10 frequently used Swahili words;
- Poa Cool, I am good.
- Ndio Yes.
- Hapana No.
- Tafadhali Please.
- Asante Thank you
- Asante sana Thank you very much.
- Samahani Excuse me.
- Karibu You are welcome.
- Usiku mwema Good night.
- Nimechoka I am tired.
Go Game Fishing: Fishing is now considered as a stress relief activity! Zanzibar islands is among the best places you can do fishing in Africa continent, we have different game fishes like;Mahi Mahi (Dorado), Yellowfin Tuna, Wahoo, Dogtooth Tuna, Giant Trevally, Barracuda, King Mackerel etc. Actually, this is a private trip and it starts very early in the morning. You can do a half day or a full day trip.
Watching traditional Music in Stone Town:This is performed daily at the Dhow Countries Music Academy in Stone town. This is the only music school found in Zanzibar Islands. Here you will be able to see the talented young musicians from Zanzibar performing the traditional Zanzibar songs.The school is located near Mizingani SeaFront Hotel in Stone Town. You may also ask anyone in Stone town they will direct you to reach this place. The performance starts from 4pm to 9pm, and the entrance fee is 10,000 Tzs or $5.
Going a Wildlife Tour at Cheetah’s Rock:The Cheetah’s Rock is the only place where you will get wildlife experience while in Zanzibar. Wild animals like; Lions, Zebras, Tortoises, Monkeys, Cheetahs, Deer, Peacocks, Leopard etc. This tour is generally offered on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The tour starts from 2pm to 6pm.
Trying Zanzibar Local Foods:If you are travelling to Zanzibar, We highly recommend you try the local foods from the local restaurants. The best local dishes in Zanzibar are; Muhogo wa nazi, Ndizi za nazi, Wali wa maharage, Octopus soup, Ndizi za kukaanga, Zanzibar spiced pilau, Zanzibar biryan, Zanzibar pizza etc.Here are the best local restaurants in Stone Town where you can have the local foods;
- Lukman restaurant
- Passing Show Restaurant
- Emerson Spice Cafe
- Stone Town Cafe
Visiting the Anglican Cathedral in Stone Town:This is the forma slave market during the East Africa Slave trade. This is the place where all slaves brought to Zanzibar were sold. The Cathedral is located at Mkunazini street in Stone Town of Zanzibar. It was built in 1873 based on the vision of the Third Anglican Bishop of Zanzibar Edward Steere.If you are interested to learn more about the slave trade history, this is will be must place to visit.
Visiting the Freddie Mercury House:This is the birthplace of the Rock music legend universally known as Freddie Mercury, He was born in 1946 in Zanzibar Island and his name was Farrokh Bulsara. The Freddie Mercury House has now become the first museum dedicated to the legend Freddie Mercury in the world which is found in Stone Town Zanzibar.
Learn about Zanzibar Doors:Zanzibar Doors have become a famous attraction for tourists who visit Zanzibar. Zanzibar Doors mainly found in Stone Town which is now has become the UNESCO world heritage site,The beauty and the History of Zanzibar doors are very interesting for the tourists who might love to learn more about the History of Zanzibar.
Visiting the House of Wonder:The House of Wonder also known as Beit al Ajaib, is found in Stone Town, this house is considered as the tallest building in Stone town.The House of Wonder was built in 1883 by the second sultan of Zanzibar known as Barghash bin Said. This was the first building to have electricity in Zanzibar and the first building to have an elevator in East Africa, because of these reasons it was called as “House Of Wonder”
Go to any Rooftop Restaurant in Stone town:There are two main reasons to have your lunch or dinner at any rooftop restaurant in Stone Town; to get the best sunset view and if you want to see the whole Stone town view.Swahili House is the best rooftop Restaurant where you can see the view of Stone Town, and the African House Hotel is the best for the sunset view. But these are the two common, there are so many other rooftop restaurants you can find in Stone town. Like Emerson Spice Hotel, 6 Degrees, Maru Maru Hotel and so on.
Shopping at Darajani Market:Darajani market is the first, famous, largest market in Zanzibar Island, it is located in Stone Town. This is a popular market to buy spices, fruits, fabrics, and seafood in Zanzibar.The market was built in 1904 during the rule of Sultan Ali Bin Humud who was the eighth Sultan of Zanzibar (1902 – 1911). This market offers varieties of products originating in Zanzibar like seafoods, Vegetables, Spices, Clothes, Decorations etc.This is the best place for you to do shopping here in Zanzibar. In our Stone Town Walking Trip, We always take travelers to this market in order for them to do shopping and get some history of Darajani street as a whole.
Go Visiting Pungume Island:This is a less tourist traffic Island in Zanzibar, it is located 14.8 km from the Kizimkazi beach Village.The island is not famous like Prison Island near the stone town, or Mnemba in Matemwe beach. The pungume island is blessed with a huge, clean and bright beach. No plastics or any wastes caused by human activities, it is still a virgin island. The main activities you will do there are Swimming & Snorkelling, Seafood BBQ, Tropical fruits, relaxing on the beach, etc. Trip to Pungume Island is staring at Kizimkazi beach. You may ask us to arrange your visit this beautiful Island.
Go Jet Skiing:You can do jet skiing in different beach areas in Zanzibar Island, Nungwi beach, Kendwa beach, Matemwe, Stone town etc. If you are interested in jet ski driving, then you will find them at these beaches or you can ask us for any recommendations.
Visit Tazari Caves Nungwi:The Tazari Cave was discovered in 2013, it is located just about 60 km from the stone town and about 300m from the main road (Nungwi Road). Tazari Cave is now considered as the largest limestone cave in Zanzibar Island. The archeologists say it has existed and been used for billions of years.
Visiting the Sultan’s Palace museum:The palace museum is also known as Sultan’s Palace, located in Stone town Mizingani road, it is between the House of wonder and Dhow Countries Music Academy (DCMA). The Palace was built in the late 19th century for the purpose of serving as the residential house of the Sultan’s family of Zanzibar. Now it has become very attractive for tourists who are interested in Zanzibar History. The entrance fee with a guide is more than $5.
Trying the Tropical Fruits:Zanzibar is among the tropical Island located in Indian ocean, it offer varieties of tropical fruits like; Bananas, Pineapple, Water melone, Mangoes, Jackfruits, Breadfruits, Oranges, Avocado, Carambola, Guava, Passion fruits and so on.You can buy and eat anywhere in Zanzibar, not necessary to go to the market. You can see the street vendors on the roadside Shops when driving or walking.
Trying the Fresh Seafoods:If you are visiting Zanzibar islands, you must try out eating the delicious seafoods found here in Zanzibar;Lobsters, Prawns, Octopus, Crabs, Calamaris, Oysters and so many different types of Fishes like Tuna fish, King Fish, Dorado, Swordfish, Barracuda, Sailfish, Bonito, etc.There are an abundance of seafoods available in all Hotels and Restaurants menus, you may get nearly all the delicious you dream.
Take a Village tour:This is the best thing you can do here in Zanzibar, on this trip you will be able to understand the real local life of people of Zanzibar especially in Villages. I highly recommend you do this trip if you are interested to know the local life of Zanzibar,On this trip you will be able to interact with locals and see how village women spend their day. You will have a very delicious lunch prepared by locals, you will also visit any local school near the village.
Go to Mangrove SUP Tour:Are you interested in Stand-Up Paddling for your holiday in Zanzibar?If you are interested, then I recommend you do very interesting paddling through the mangrove narrow streets found between Michamvi and Chwaka Bay. This is the conservation area where there are plenty of Mangroves, you will see different groups of small fishes and crabs along the tour, this is the guided tour, and friendly for beginner.
Go Watching Bullfighting in Pemba Island:This is the famous Sport in Pemba Island (The second largest island in Zanzibar), this sport has no specific date or places.But, actually it happens during any celebrations like New year day or after cloves harvesting and so on. And the famous villages where it takes place are Ole, Kojani, Chuale, Kangagani.If you will be staying in Pemba Island, just ask your hotel and they will organize the trip to watch this sport.
Staying on private Mnemba Island:This is a very Luxurious and romantic Island in Zanzibar, the island is located on the North East Coast of Unguja Island. Super clean, white, and bright beach Island. The best beach for swimming, snorkeling and fishing, Diving.The price for this island is starting at $1270 per person per night. It is not cheap to stay on this island. If you are looking for a cheap place to stay, read this Guide to Cheap Places to Stay in Zanzibar.
Relaxing at Mtende Beach:This is becoming a popular place on the internet now about Zanzibar. Mtende beach offers a beautiful beach view for relaxation to all travelers; Solo travelers, Couples, Family and friends. This place is found in front of Eden Rock Zanzibar Hotel. If you are looking to stay near Mtende beach, then you should rent your room at Eden Rock Zanzibar.
Catamaran Sunset Cruise:If you are on a budget, and you want to do a sunset cruise, then you should try to find a Catamaran. There are different options at Nungwi and Kendwa beach. You can also find Catamaran at Paje and Jambiani beach south east coast. Catamaran is different from sunset Dhow cruise, because there are no snacks, fruits or drinks included.
Chumbe Island:There are a lot of things to do in Zanzibar for sure! Chumbe island is a must visit island if you love nature. This is a natural marine coral park Island located west of Unguja coast, this is among conservation areas in Zanzibar which give a paradise experience for swimmers and Snorkelers. But there are a lot more things you can do in Chumbe Island for your vacation like Forest walk, intertidal walk, Historical monuments, Relax on the beach.