Where to go
Things to do
Tours & Safaris
Let’s plan your trip
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 a wide range of activities for travelers, from the adventurous to the laid-back. Here are some of the best things to do in Zanzibar:
1. Relax on the Beaches
Zanzibar is known for its pristine beaches with soft white sand and turquoise waters. The island has numerous beaches to choose from, including Nungwi Beach, Kendwa Beach, and Paje Beach. Visitors can relax on the beach, soak up the sun, and enjoy the view of the ocean. Some beaches also offer water sports activities like snorkeling, diving, and kite surfing.
2. Explore the Historical 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.
3. Visit the Jozani Forest
The 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.
4. Take a Spice Tour
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.
5. Snorkel or Dive in the Coral Reefs
Zanzibar is surrounded by some of the best coral reefs in the world, making it a popular destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. Visitors can explore the underwater world and see a variety of marine life, including colorful fish, turtles, dolphins, and even whale sharks. Some of the popular diving and snorkeling spots include Mnemba Island, Tumbatu Island, and the Menai Bay Conservation Area.
6. Take a Sunset Dhow Cruise
A sunset dhow cruise is a great way to experience the beauty of Zanzibar from the water. Dhows are traditional wooden boats used for fishing and transportation in the region, and many tour operators offer sunset cruises that include dinner and drinks. Visitors can enjoy the stunning view of the sunset over the ocean and the chance to see dolphins and other marine life.
7. Visit the 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.
8. Go Kite Surfing in Paje
Paje Beach is one of the best places in the world for kite surfing. It offers ideal wind and water conditions for the sport, and there are numerous kite surfing schools and rental shops in the area. Beginners can take lessons from experienced instructors, while advanced surfers can rent equipment and explore the waters on their own.
9. Visit Chumbe Island Coral Park
Chumbe Island Coral Park is a marine sanctuary located off the coast of Zanzibar. It is a protected area that is home to a diverse range of marine life, including colorful fish, corals, sea turtles, and dolphins. Visitors can take a guided tour of the park to learn about the local ecosystem and conservation efforts, as well as snorkel or dive in the coral reefs.
10. Experience the Nightlife in Kendwa
Kendwa is a popular beach destination on the northwest coast of Zanzibar. It is known for its vibrant nightlife, with numerous bars and clubs lining the beach. Visitors can enjoy live music, dancing, and drinks while soaking up the lively atmosphere of this beach town.
11. Learn about Local Cuisine
Zanzibar has a rich culinary culture that is influenced by a blend of African, Arab, Indian, and European traditions. Visitors can take a cooking class to learn about local ingredients and cooking techniques, and to prepare and taste traditional dishes like biryani, pilau, and seafood curries.
12. Visit the Zanzibar Butterfly Centre
The Zanzibar Butterfly Centre is a unique attraction that is home to more than 50 species of butterflies and moths. Visitors can take a guided tour of the center to learn about the lifecycle and behavior of these insects, and to see them up close in their natural habitat.