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Zanzibar is a beautiful archipelago off the coast of Tanzania that is famous for its white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and vibrant culture. It is an idyllic destination that offers something for everyone, from the adventurous to the laid-back traveler. Here are some of the best places to go in Zanzibar:
1. Stone Town
Stone Town is the cultural and historical center of Zanzibar. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest and most well-preserved Swahili coastal trading towns in East Africa. Visitors can wander through the maze of narrow streets and alleyways, marveling at the impressive architecture and the unique blend of African, Arab, Indian, and European influences. Some of the must-visit places in Stone Town include the House of Wonders, the Old Fort, and the Sultan’s Palace.
Nungwi is a vibrant village located on the northern tip of Zanzibar. It is famous for its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, making it a popular destination for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports. Visitors can also take a sunset cruise or go on a snorkeling tour to see the stunning coral reefs and marine life that the area is known for.
3. Jozani Forest
Jozani Forest is a protected area located in the center of the island. It is home to the endemic Zanzibar red colobus monkey, as well as a variety of other wildlife, including bush babies, Sykes’ monkeys, and more than 50 species of birds. Visitors can take a guided tour of the forest to see these animals up close and learn about their habitat and behavior.
Kendwa is a small village located on the northwest coast of Zanzibar. It is known for its stunning white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, making it an ideal spot for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. Visitors can also enjoy a drink or a meal at one of the many beachside restaurants and bars, or take a dhow cruise at sunset.
Paje is a picturesque village located on the southeastern coast of Zanzibar. It is famous for its kiteboarding and windsurfing scene, with ideal wind and water conditions for these sports. Visitors can also relax on the beach, go on a dhow cruise, or take a tour of the nearby Jozani Forest.
6. Chumbe Island
Chumbe Island is a small uninhabited island located off the coast of Zanzibar. It is a protected marine park and coral reef sanctuary, home to more than 400 species of fish and a variety of other marine life. Visitors can explore the island’s beaches, forests, and coral reefs, as well as learn about conservation efforts in the area.
7. Mnemba Island
Mnemba Island is a small private island located off the northeast coast of Zanzibar. It is a popular destination for snorkeling and scuba diving, with crystal-clear waters and abundant marine life, including dolphins, turtles, and a variety of fish species. Visitors can also relax on the island’s pristine beaches or enjoy a romantic dinner under the stars.
8. Spice Farms
Zanzibar is known as the “Spice Island” for its abundance of spices like cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Visitors can take a tour of one of the many spice farms on the island to see these plants up close and learn about their uses in local cuisine and traditional medicine. Some of the popular spice farms include the Zanzibar Spice Farm and the Kizimbani Spice Farm.
9. Prison Island
Prison Island is a small island located off the coast of Stone Town. It was once used as a quarantine station for slaves and later as a prison for rebellious slaves. Today, it is a popular tourist destination, known for its giant tortoises, which were brought to the island from the Seychelles in the late 19th century. Visitors can see these gentle giants up close and learn about their history and conservation efforts.
10. Mnarani Marine Turtle Conservation Pond
The Mnarani Marine Turtle Conservation Pond is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Located on the northern coast of Zanzibar, the pond is a sanctuary for endangered green sea turtles, which are raised in captivity and later released into the wild. Visitors can learn about the turtles’ life cycle, habitat, and conservation efforts, as well as have a chance to feed and interact with the turtles.