Africa is a magical place that brings anyone back to the roots of the human being. It is a place that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. However, there are so many beautiful places that it is difficult to know exactly where to go. If this is your case, try to look for a small oasis called Zanzibar.
Resting approximately 25 miles from the Tanzanian coast, this idyllic archipelago consists of Zanzibar and Pemba islands as well as numerous smaller islets. Zanzibar Island is characterized by exquisite white sand beaches fringed by palm trees and lapped by turquoise waters lined with coral reefs brimming with an abundance of exotic marine life. This underwater paradise is a mecca for watersport enthusiasts who flock here for the excellent scuba diving, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, kayaking, kitesurfing, and sailing on traditional dhows. The island’s old city, Stone Town, features a maze of narrow alleyways lined with boutiques, bars, restaurants, lively bazaars, mosques and ornate Arab houses.
What is Zanzibar?
Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous region located in the Swahili Coast on Eastern Tanzania, Africa. In this area, there is an Archipelago, the Indian Ocean, many small islands and two big ones called Pemba and Unguja. Zanzibar City, the capital, is located in this last island and its historic center is considered a World Heritage Site.
For many people, Zanzibar is considered one of the best places to enjoy all the experiences Africa has to offer. Here you can find, among many other things, some of the most incredible wildlife in the whole continent, as well as incredible beaches where you can enjoy the sun and relax.
Why Travel to Zanzibar?
Zanzibar does not only host some of the most friendly locals in the entire region, but it is also a beautiful island where people can enjoy incredible adventures, some of the best sunsets in the world and get some well-deserved rest. However, there are many other reasons to visit Zanzibar so let’s take a look at some of the most relevant ones:
- Amazing Beaches
- Watersports and marine wildlife
- Festivals and locals
- History, culture, and tradition
What Makes Zanzibar Unique?
Zanzibar can only be described as an island paradise. On the one hand, as the island has hosted many tourists and locals over the years, there is an incredible mix that includes Arabs, Persians, Indians, Europeans, and many others. It is impressive to see how everyone gets along in a single place and they all have had their chapter on the island’s history.
Besides, the island provides all the experiences that any tourist would like to experience in the oldest continent: from marine and terrestrial safaris to incredible food tours and romantic vacations in warm and sunny weather. In other words, Zanzibar offers the whole package!
Best Time to Go to Zanzibar?
There is a time of the year for every person, it just depends on what you are looking for. Those who live way up in the north will probably prefer to go from June to October. These are the cool and dry months of spring in the tropical island.
On the other hand, December to February is perfect for those who want to experience the warm and dry weather of summer. During this time, tourists can expect incredible sunsets and even better beach weather.
There is a third option for those who want to scuba dive and experience all the treasures hidden under the Indian Ocean July and August or February to March. The first one will provide perfect weather on the northern coast and the second one in the southern one.
Even though Zanzibar has nearly-perfect weather most of the year, it is not recommended to go from March to late May and November. The island has two rainy seasons a year and this is the exact time when it happens. Your vacation won’t be ruined because of this but you’ll probably want to get the most out of your holiday.
Things to Do in Zanzibar:
The island is flooded with activities, so there is no way you will get bored here. Not only locals are incredibly friendly, but they will help you decide some of the most amazing things you should discover on the island. But if you are still planning to visit the island, here are a few things you can do:
Take a walk at Stone Town
Being probably the first stop at Zanzibar, this is a maze of alleys with an incredible number of bazaars, locals shops, mosques and small houses that is worth discovering. Besides, it has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for a good reason. This place represents the ancient culture and history in the country.
Spend the day in Paje
Just an hour-ride away from Stone Town, there’s one of the most beautiful Zanzibar beaches in the entire continent. It is called Paje and its turquoise waters host every single tourist who is interested in spending an amazing beach day. Besides, it is the perfect place to practice a variety of water sports like kitesurfing or snorkeling.
Since the 16th century, spices have been a huge part of the islanders and they are very proud of using them in different meals. That’s why they started growing beautiful spice plantations in the rural areas and outsides of Zanzibar. Going there will not only be an incredible experience but it will also connect you with local people at a much deeper level, understanding their lifestyle and philosophy.
Snorkeling in the Mnemba Atoll Marine Reserve
If you are into marine wildlife, this is one of the best places to meet unique species that you may haven’t even heard of before. Besides, there are multiple fish that are worth seeing in their habitat with your own eyes. Some of the most popular ones are stingrays, lionfish, moray eels and turtles, but getting deeper into the big reef, you may also find barracuda, snappers and even napoleon fish.
Take a look at the dolphins
In the southern coast, there’s a place called Kizimkazi where lots of dolphins live. There are short boat rides that will take you to see them. It is an unbelievable experience and way different than seeing them in an aquarium. Besides, you can take a little advantage and visit the Miza Miza Caves, which is the oldest mosque in the area.
Go for a Terrestrial Safari
There are many other places to see animal wildlife in their habitat and here we are not only talking about the ocean, but there are also many reserves you can visit that will show you some of the most amazing animals you will ever see, from birds to monkeys and many many more.
Also, you can enjoy local experiences. For example, you can go trekking, mountain biking or simply go on photographic tours. There are activities for every type of person and hobby, just ask and you’ll see.