Zanzibar is Tanzania’s largest island, located just off Africa’s eastern coast. The mainland and Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam, are only a short boat ride away.
Zanzibar, also known as Unguja in the local dialect, is the largest of several islands in a small archipelago that provides a varied and appealing escape from the rest of the country.
Zanzibar is as tropical as it gets, with beautiful stretches of pure, white sand beach to enjoy around the island, palm-fringed shorelines with spectacular views, and plenty of opportunities to encounter marine life and wildlife.
Zanzibar has long been an important trading hub on the East African coast. The island offers visitors an eclectic mix of culture, cuisine, and history that reflects the island’s long-established ties with Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.
The historical Stone Town is the most impressive settlement on the island, with museums and forts to explore and restaurants and cafes to dine at.
Away from the narrow streets of this small city, the island is home to small fishing villages and coastal communities where life is slow and easy. There is a lot to do on the island, but to help you plan your trip, we’ve put together a list of things to do in Zanzibar.
1. Stroll Around Stone Town
Stone Town is the historical soul of Zanzibar, and it is the historic heart of modern Zanzibar City, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Stone Town can be traced back hundreds of years, but most of the current structures date from the nineteenth century when the British used the city as the region.
The best thing to do in Stone Town is to walk through the maze of streets and buildings, discover hidden mosques and shops, explore the fort, and visit the House of Wonders, the island’s national museum.
Paje is yet another sleepy fishing village that has recently gained popularity among kitesurfers due to its windy coastline. It’s in lovely surroundings along the eastern shore, with a few rustic lodgings, restaurants, and breathtaking scenery.
3. Scuba Diving
Zanzibar’s waters are warm and calm, just south of the equator, and ideal for diving into the colourful coral reefs. Because of the country’s location, we strongly advise making this one of your must-do activities while visiting.
The Mnemba Island Atoll has some of the most well-known diving spots. Atolls are ring-shaped coral reefs that form an island surrounded by water or a lagoon. These areas are renowned for their aquatic diversity as well as their wildlife.
4. Prison Island
Prison Island, known as Changuu, is a small idyllic white-sand island just off Stone Town’s coast. It appears to be paradise, but it became a prison for many escaped slaves in the nineteenth century if captured. Today, the island is better known as the home of a large population of giant tortoises given to Zanzibar as a gift and have since thrived.
Jambiani, located on Zanzibar’s secluded eastern coast, is one of the island’s most authentic fishing villages. It’s located on a beautiful stretch of white sand beach and is an excellent place to spend the day relaxing and enjoying the tropical setting and the relaxed pace of life.
6. Spice Island Tour
When you arrive in Zanzibar, a spice tour is one of the first things you should sign up for. The island is famous for its spice production, and you will be able to visit a private estate and sample spices in their natural harvested state. These tours typically include a lovely local lunch and a local celebration.
7. Night Food Market
The best things to do in Zanzibar. Every night, a local food market takes place in the main square, down by the water.
Food stalls have been set up to serve a variety of specialities, including unique heritage dishes and offerings from the melting pot of countries that make up the island’s current population.
We had Syrian kebabs, Tanzanian crepes, island fruit bowls, and so much more. This event is a sensory overload that you should not miss while in Stone Town.
8. The Old Slave Market
If you want to learn about the darker side of the island’s history, go to Stone Town’s old slave market. The British took control of the island in the nineteenth century; this was one of the last slave markets in the world.
Today, it’s an intriguing and moving museum where you can learn more about Zanzibar’s sometimes conflicting history.
Nungwi is located on the far northern tip of Zanzibar and is home to Zanzibar’s best beach. It’s away from the city and a peaceful place to explore, but the sand is so good that resorts may take over one day.
The water is shallow here, and there are numerous opportunities for snorkelling and diving right off the beach.
10. Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park
This small area of protected rainforest, the island’s only national park, is pristine. Conservation efforts mean that it is home to many rare and endangered species, such as the red colobus monkey, a small, unusual primate.
There are a few hiking trails, and it is one of the best things to do in Zanzibar if seeing wildlife is on your bucket list.