Reasons to Visit
Zanzibar, an island located just off Dar es Salaam, 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
At high tide all the dhows sail in to the various beaches and harbours 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.
Mafia is the site of Tanzania’s first marine national park, covering 800 square kilometres and with over 460 species of fish and fantastic corals. There are a wide variety of dive and snorkel spots in the Archipelago with something to offer for all abilities.
There are some very busy beaches, backed by large resorts which we don’t use. We have driven all round the island and found quiet beaches with small boutique hotels and simple lodges. We’ll drive you across the island to these and you can relax in peace.
Flanked by the sea, Stone Town is exotic and steeped in Swahili history. Laden dhows sail in to the port, crumbling buildings cast shadows over labyrinthine streets and the smell of spices fills the air. Much of Stone Town was built in the 19th Century and remains unchanged to this day.
The most commonly found turtle in Zanzibar is the green turtle, followed by the hawksbill. Both nest in Zanzibar and Pemba is one of the best places to see them. There are several projects being run to help protect these endangered animals and their nesting sites.
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Africa and The Indian Ocean
Our country specialists have travelled the length and breadth of Zanzibar Archipelago - here are a few of their favourite things to do
The fifty islands of the Zanzibar Archipelago lie in aquamarine seas under a blazing equatorial sun.
They are hot, sultry, exotic and idyllic. There are tiny coral atolls with tumbling green creepers and turtles’ nests on the beach. Sugar white sandbanks are exposed at low tide, sloping gently to crystal clear waters and perfect for swimming among reefs teeming with life.
The Mafia Islands are covered in rainforest and almost totally undeveloped, with local life proceeding at a sedate pace by the warm water’s edge. On the large islands of Unguja (Zanzibar Island) and Pemba there is mile upon mile of white sand, flanked by tall coconut palms. The azure seas are littered with reefs, with pink sea anemones swaying in warm currents and butterflyfish, angelfish and parrotfish darting between the corals.
Zanzibar has more than just beaches though. Monsoon winds blowing from Persia, Arabia and India have led traders to these islands for over 2,000 years. In Zanzibar’s Stone Town, labyrinth alleys lead to sultans’ residences with thick stone walls and intricately carved doors studded with gold. Inland, there are crumbling palaces and spice plantations where piles of curling cinnamon bark and rich brown nutmegs lie in the sun. Villages shade under papaya trees and the air is filled with the smell of drying cloves. At sunset Zanzibar is spectacular as hundreds of silent dhows set sail for the night, their billowing white sails tinged pink in the sun.
With a warm breeze blowing this is the place to unwind, to relax and enjoy. Just a short flight from some of Tanzania’s wildest parks, Zanzibar is an ultimate finale for any safari.
Chumbe lies about 10km south of Zanzibar Town. With its pristine coral and other marine life, the island was been officially declared a nature reserve.
A few miles off the northeast coast of Zanzibar Island, Mnemba Island s a real Robinson Crusoe hideaway where you can watch green turtles nest. It is ideal for swimming, snorkelling, diving or just relaxing.
About 80 kilometres northeast of Zanzibar Island, Pemba is smaller, quieter and largely undeveloped. It has some of the best diving in East Africa.
Arguably the most beautiful archipelago in the Indian Ocean, the Mafia Islands are a haven for both fauna and flora. It is just forty minutes by air from Dar es Salaam.
Much of Stone Town was built in the 19th Century and remains unchanged to this day. There is no room for cars in these streets, so they’re perfect for exploring on foot.
11 3/4 hours (Zanzibar, via Nairobi)
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Further reading:Tours in Zanzibar ArchipelagoWhen to GoItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationAbout Zanzibar Archipelago
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