The Best and Exhilarating Things to Do in Zanzibar, Tanzania
Only a handful of places around the world can bring on visuals of pristine white and powdery sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and tropical palms, a paradise-like spot such as Zanzibar, off the eastern shore of Africa in Tanzania. Zanzibar is known for its rich heritage as well as cultural essence, which gives travel aficionados a completely different feel. Zanzibar offers a unique cultural experience together with the serene surroundings for pure bliss and relaxation with your family or friends.
Whether you would like to unwind on the stunning beaches or hang around the African archipelago, Zanzibar has loads to offer. Here are some of the exciting things to do there:
Soak up the Sun at Nungwi Beach
Nungwi is a hamlet seated on Zanzibar’s North West end, which is a coveted tourist destination but not overcrowded with travelers. You can head for the Nungwi Beach, the best one in Zanzibar, because the tide here does not set out too distant. It is one of the popular beaches to soak up the sun, where you can dip your toes in the turquoise waters without the luxury of a plush hotel for stay.
The beach is lively and features coral reefs perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. If you are fortunate enough, you can say hello to the playful dolphins as well as spot green turtles and sharks while exploring the beach and the sea.
Nungwi is also popular for its vibrant nightlife amusement, the beach dotted with several bars, resorts, as well as restaurants. You can also opt for a sunset cruise on a conventional dhow sailing boat with your loved ones.
Explore Stone Town
Stone Town is the heart of Zanzibar featuring an unbelievable collage of zigzag alleys as well as old-world Arabic-themed buildings. Stone Town is one place where you can mislay yourself physically and emotionally. Yes, the town has such magic to leave you mesmerized.
Experience the town’s culture by sipping a steaming cup of coffee from local vendors or just loiter on the streets, nooks, and corners, spotting one-off things at each turn. Did you know that Stone Town is now a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2000?
Chill out at Kendwa Beach
Seated just a couple of miles before the village of Nungwi, Kendwa Beach is a popular tourist spot with a laidback ambiance. The island beach does not experience low and high tides that much and so, it is an ideal spot for diving, swimming, and snorkeling.
If you are lucky enough, you can spot aquatic animals such as the colorful starfish taking refuge on Kendwa Beach.
You can also indulge in various fun-filled activities like beach soccer, volleyball, etc. Kendwa is also popular for its lively nightlife and party ambiance. With sundown, the place pulsates with loud beach gatherings and fun parties.
You can savor your taste buds at one of the beach bistros and bars serving scrumptious food and drinks.
Explore Jozani Forest
Take in the beauty of the expansive, scenic stretch of lush greenery at Jozani, the very last native forest remaining in Zanzibar. It’s situated inland from Chwaka Bay; the place often flooding that nourishes an inimitable swamp forest boasting of beautiful plants, ferns, and trees. You can reach this forest through bus routes 309 and 310, organized trips, or chartered cabs.
Spot white and black monkeys with red backs, who are sure to keep you amused in this forest. Besides, you will find numerous colorful butterflies and species of birds at Jozani Forest.
You can visit this place from 7.30 am – 5.00 pm, by paying an entrance charge of just $8, which includes a short tour. Choose to loiter about the mangrove boardwalk alone or with your family.
Find Out about the Island’s Dark Past at Prison Island
You can take the 30-minute boat trip to Prison Island offering an enthralling peep into the island’s gloomy past. The island meant to keep defiant slaves of the 1860s confined, as well as a quarantine spot for people plagued with yellow fever after slavery was put an end.
Then, today, Prison Island is a nature reserve for huge tortoises and a place to view the ruins that operated as a prison in the 1860s. The island is now the place for vulnerable animal species; some of the tortoises are over 150 years of age!
Take it Easy on Pongwe Beach
This remote beach is the perfect place for you to chill out, far from the hurly-burly of beaches thronging with tourists in Zanzibar. Pongwe Beach is serene and offers you quiet moments for that perfect me-time that you have always longed for all this time.
Pongwe is the best beach destination if you are looking for some privacy on a romantic date with your inamorata. Then, this beach has only a few restaurants and so it is best if you order food from your hotel. If you would like to dive or snorkel, you will need to drive an hour to reach the spot.
Explore the Palace Museum
Popularly called the Sultan’s Palace, it is one of the most historic buildings to find in Stone Town, and a must-include in your bucket list.
The museum is seated right in the waterfront, facing the blue ocean, which was constructed back in the nineteenth century, an abode for the Sultan, his family, and kith and kin.
Post the revolution of 1964, the palace was used as a Government building, named as the People’s Palace. You can visit the palace museum that houses the remnants of the Sultan lineage.
Savor Delicious Food at Forodhani Market
Have you ever visited a market that bustles with life after sundown? If not, you can visit Forodhani Market that opens late afternoon in Stone Town, buzzing with life and energy, where you can pamper your taste buds with fresh seafood such as freshly grilled fish and meat. The seafood is the most popular here; mouthwatering fish served with lip-smacking potato balls, fried, samosas, and nuns. The market is a must-visit with your family or friends if you are a foodie.
Take Delight in Some Memorable Beach Time at Paje
Paje Beach is awesome and happening, a perfect spot to chill out for a remarkable beach vacation. Though the place has a relaxed ambiance, it is full of beach bars, where you can order your favorite drinks with some lip-smacking food.
The beach is popular for activities like kite surfing from December to February. The beach has low tides and so not an ideal place to swim, however, a couple of the hotels have round-the-clock swimming facilities. Therefore, you can book one of these hotels if you want to splash and dive.
Visit the House of Wonders
Head for the House of Wonders, which is a spectacular building and visually delightful in Stone Town. The building houses interesting exhibits offering a brilliant view of Swahili and Zanzibari culture. The House of Wonders is the tallest and impressive building in entire Stone Town, situated in a prime location, right in front of the Forodhani Gardens on the town’s seafront on Mizingani Road.
This is one of the most coveted beaches in Zanzibar, in the southeast dotted with swaying palms and just 1.5 hours drive from Stone Town. If you are looking for some peace, head for this beach for complete relaxation, privacy, and serenity.
You will find many activities around the beach including a visit to Bwejuu village and reef safari. There are other activities like dhow boat trip, diving, snorkeling, and a visit to the Jozani Forest, where you will find the Red Colobus Monkey.
Be in awe of the Old Fort
It is the most ancient building in Stone Town, situated on the seafront, facing the popular Forodhani Gardens. The fort was built back in the seventeenth century by the Omani Arabs to protect the island from the Portuguese attack. Today, the fort is the most popular tourist attraction of Stone Town and a must-visit.
Visit this place to admire the fort’s remains or saunter around the courtyard right in the middle, where vendors sell local produce to the tourists. You will also find old amphitheater hosting shows, functions, and events in this fort.
Before visiting, inquire at the tourist information counter whether there are any upcoming shows so that you could squeeze out some time for this place into your Zanzibar trip.
Spot Dolphins at Kizimkazi Beach
This beach boasts of a beautiful fishing village, which is local and quiet. You can head for the Kizimkazi Beach if you love to swim. You never know you can even spot friendly dolphins here at the beach. You can even head for the oldest Dimbani Mosque built in 1107 AD if you have a penchant for history and culture.
The beach is known for its high tides, and around that time, the place is not completely functional, while at low tides, the ocean could be far-off.
So what are you waiting for, huh? Pack your bags and head for Zanzibar. Explore the old town, scenic beaches, fishing hamlets, museums, forts, mosques, and eat out while vacationing in Zanzibar.