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Things to do in Zanzibar

56 contributors

The top 28 attractions in Zanzibar

Beaches in Zanzibar
We stayed at the Crystal Resort in Zanzibar and booked a snorkeling trip and then after the we ate on a small atoll, which disappears at high tide. The color of the water was spectacular and the clarity of it allowed us to see many different types of fish, starfish, ... Here we could a beautiful orange starfish eating a sea urchin. We also saw the famous Dolly from the movie Finding Nemo, also Nemo's long suffering father. The fantastic image of the beach near the resort and locals' fishing boats. Be careful if you walk barefoot along the beach be very careful not to step on sea urchins, beautiful but very dangerous for your feet.
Cities in Zanzibar
Stone Town
The capital of the Isle of Spice is a must for anyone visiting Zanzibar. It is a city with many attractions: On the one hand, we have architecture with multiple influences, from the Portuguese of the founders of the city, through the Arabs from their slave masters, to Swahili influences which you can see in most of its current population. Stone Town is particularly famous for the elaborate detail of many of its mansions, which testify to the rich period when the island was an independent kingdom. All around there is a feeling of decadence that makes it a kind of Havana from the east coast of Africa. You can get around the whole city in a matter of days but once you have done that you will want to stay a little longer. You can get here through the Zanzibar airport or you can take the ferry from Dar es Salaam.
Beaches in Zanzibar
Kiwengwa Beach
Everyone spoke to me about the Indian Ocean beaches. Even though I'm not a beach person, I recognize that they're right. The sand so fine and white, it seems like flour. And the water has colors impossible to describe. This long beach serves all types of people as a road: Masai who serve as security guards at hotels, children coming and going from school to their homes, women going to market ..... Just sit and watch them pass by... And enjoy being aware that they live moments for you to remember. Another thing: the rise and fall of tide is spectacular. Beware: these photos do not do the place justice ....
Of Cultural Interest in Zanzibar
Doors of Stone Town
If Stone Town is famous for anything, its the gates that adorn many of its historic homes. They are beautiful and are scattered throughout the old city and their through their delicate precious wood carvings you can see evidence of a prosperous past. Unfortunately, this prosperity comes from the days when Stone Town was the center of a lucrative slave trade. Once slavery was abolished in the British territories, prosperity vanished and all that was left in its place was the beautiful gates.
Of Touristic Interest in Zanzibar
Spice Route Tour
In onlyone day, (essential to have a travel guide), you can see the huge variety of spices that we usually use, but in their natural environment: cloves, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla, pepper, ..... and other exotic plants like heart fruit, breadfruit, cassava or others more common like coconut, pineapple and bananas. For explanations of all of these, you join a pleasant walk ... and transfers by jeep, which in those dirt tracks, is an experience.
Islands in Zanzibar
Mwemba Island
Another island paradise, Mnemba is situated on the north coast of Zanzibar close to Nungwi where I lived 4 months. We went diving in this area as it was very rich in coral and marine species. Around this island are there several dive sites and it is very easy to see dolphins. On this island you can relax with just nature, but you can practice a number of water sports such as snorkeling, diving, windsurfing, kayaking, among others.
Markets in Zanzibar
Darajani Market
The best place to buy khangas (sarongs) as a souvenir and they're good value (always haggle!). Originally purchases and sales were made only by men; women were hidden. Even today, on the sale of fish, women have a side glance that is respectful. Important: Do not take pictures of anyone ve does not want to be photographed, as it is considered (not surprisingly) a lack of respect. It is recommended to not be very scrupulous not with the blood, nor the odors, nor the flies .......
Beaches in Zanzibar
Paje Beach
Paje Beach is located on the eastern part of the Zanzibar archipelago. It has several kilometers of fine white sand, making it one of the longest beaches on the island. The water is turquoise, but the year-round strong winds have made it one of the best destinations in the world for kite surfing. As well as being very long, it's also very wide, with an average of 30 metres between the water and palm trees at low tide. You definitely won't have any trouble finding a spot for your towel! Paje Beach receives far fewer tourists than other beaches in Zanzibar, so it's a good place to relax or try your hand at kite surfing.
Historical Monuments in Zanzibar
Slave Monument
The Anglican cathedral was constructed on a former slave market where they were auctioned daily to the highest bidder. At present, entrance permits a visit to the cathedral where in the basement one will see the "cells" of slaves. Although in English, the meaning is well understood, (and what is not understood, only imagine seeing the place) On the outside, the memorial against slavery is nicer.
Harbors in Zanzibar
Zanzibar Ferry
Of course, the easiest way to get to Zanzibar is by plane, but there's also an extensive network of ferries connecting the island to the mainland, which is actually cheaper than flying. But beware that the route crosses the open sea and sailing conditions can be a little rough (on our boat, almost all the passengers were seasick). The 3-to-4 hour voyage can seem like a long time.
Airports in Zanzibar
Abeid Amani Karume International Airport
Abeid Amani Karume International Airport is one of the smallest airports in Tanzania and is located 6km from Zanzibar. Most people travel here for their summer holidays, but also for short breaks throughout the year. It is known by the code ZNZ. Airlines that service the airport include Condor, Jetairfly and Meridiana.
Cathedrals in Zanzibar
St. Joseph's Cathedral
In one corner of the world is Stone Town, where many cultures meet, it is not surprising to find an imposing Catholic church, even amongst a culturally mixed African and Arabic island. Zanzibar Catholic Cathedral was built by French missionaries in the mid-nineteenth century, and is undoubtedly one of the highlights for visitors when they arrive at the island, especially if the arrival is by boat, as the towers of the cathedral are clearly visible from the sea.
Islands in Zanzibar
Changuu (Prison Island)
Life (land and sea) of this island is something not to be missed.
Sports-Related in Zanzibar
Mnemba Aquarium Dive Site
This is in Mnemba Island and is reached by boat from the dive center located in Nunwi, an hour away. It has a depth of 16 to 22 meters and there are some very large coral forrmations. It's a perfect place to see lots of turtles (Green & Hawkbill) and a variety of marine life. Please DO NOT TOUCH THE TURTLES, it can stress them and if they don't have enough air to rise to the surface, they may well die.
Of Cultural Interest in Zanzibar
This is a real experience; you'll rub shoulders with the locals, and you can get from one place to another in the normal way. I recommend it. The people are super-friendly; one day it rained, and the dala-dala was crowded, so two guys got out to let us get in, and went the rest of the trip clinging to the outside! Super cheap and friendly, well recommended!
Of Touristic Interest in Zanzibar
Unguja Boat Trip
Renting a boat for the journey along the north coast, you can really appreciate the beauty of the island's beaches, along with areas of thick mangroves. You can enjoy diving in the clear water, with fish just metres from the surface. Of course, the traditional boats don't come equipped with a ladder. Getting into the water is easy ... getting out, not so much!
Palaces in Zanzibar
Sultan's Palace (Beit el-Sahel)
This palace is an important historical site in Zanzibar. It was the residence of the Sultan of Oman until 1964, and today is a museum about the history of the Sultanate. We paid a small fee and learned a little more about the history of the city. You don't need a guide, and you can take photos inside. The only complaint I can make is about the condition of the building itself. Still, worth a visit.
Sports-Related in Zanzibar
Mnemba Wattabomi Dive Site
By boat from Nungwi's diving center you reach Mnemba Island where you can go to double-tank. Great Barrier Reef with a great variety of marine species. Depth: Between 6 and 40 meters Water temperature: 28-30 degrees TAKE CARE WITH YOUR FINS coral is not a rock but is alive and is very fragile.

The best things to do in Zanzibar

If you're making a list of stuff to do in Zanzibar, then one of the first things to do in Zanzibar is to visit Stone Town, the historic center of the city which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Here you can visit many Zanzibar attractions, like the Sultan's Palace, the House of Wonders, the Forodhani Gardens, and the cathedral. If you walk through Stone Town you'll discover bazaars, mosques, and Arab-style houses. The interesting markets are full of stalls selling fish and fresh vegetables.

One of the top Zanzibar activities is simply to wander the narrow streets of Stone Town and explore the unique coral stone buildings. The city's other neighborhood is Ng'ambo, which is a larger area and is one of the interesting places to visit in Zanzibar -- especially if you have errands to run, as here you can find many offices and larger stores.

If you are tired of walking around town and still wondering what to do in Zanzibar, well then it's time you visit the beaches. Blinding white sand meets warm turquoise waters here, and traditional dhows sail along the coast. Remote beaches in the north end of the island are one of the best attractions in Zanzibar. It's also a place with diverse flora and fauna and is one of the best things to see in Zanzibar.

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