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    Zanzibar Island: Everything You need to Know

    In 2023 October, I personally visited Zanzibar with my boys and it was worth visiting. Let me explain you that what place is it actually, where is it located exactly, how to go there and things to do there. Zanzibar is a tropical paradise rich in history, culture and natural beauty.

    Where is Zanzibar Located?

    Zanzibar is an archipelago consisting of several small islands and two large ones: Unguja (commonly referred to as Zanzibar) and Pemba Island. It is situated in the Indian Ocean, about 25-50 kilometers off the coast of mainland Tanzania. The capital is Zanzibar City, located on the island of Unguja, with its historic center, Stone Town, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    How to Get to Zanzibar?

    To get to Zanzibar, there are a few options available depending on your location and preferences. Here are some common ways to reach this tropical paradise:

    By Air:

    The most convenient way to reach Zanzibar is by air. There are regular flights to Zanzibar from major cities in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. Abeid Amani Karume International Airport on Unguja Island is the main airport serving Zanzibar. 

    You can book international flights to Zanzibar or fly to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and then take a domestic flight to Zanzibar.

    By Ferry:

    If you prefer a scenic journey, you can take a ferry from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar. The ferry ride takes approximately 2 hours, and it offers beautiful views of the Indian Ocean. There are several ferry companies operating between Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, such as Azam Marine and Fast Ferries. It’s advisable to book your tickets in advance, especially during peak travel seasons.

    From Other Tanzanian Destinations:

    If you are already in Tanzania, you can reach Zanzibar from other cities like Arusha or Kilimanjaro. Domestic flights are available from these locations to Zanzibar. Alternatively, you can take a domestic flight to Dar es Salaam and then proceed to Zanzibar by ferry or flight.

    Island Hopping:

    If you are planning to visit other islands in the Zanzibar Archipelago, such as Pemba Island, there are domestic flights and ferry services available between the islands. These options allow you to explore the different islands and enjoy their unique attractions.

    Best Time To Visit Zanzibar:

    The best time to visit Zanzibar is during the dry season, which typically runs from June to October. This period offers clear skies, regular sunshine and balmy temperatures which makes it ideal for beach activities and outdoor exploration. The sea is also at its clearest during this time, making it perfect for diving and snorkeling adventures. The average temperatures during this period range from 82°F to 93°F.

    If you prefer to avoid the crowds and don’t mind occasional showers, January to March can be a great time to visit Zanzibar. The diving conditions are excellent, and the lagoons and coral reefs can be explored in clear waters, especially on the south coast.

    12 Things To Do in Zanzibar:

    Certainly! Here are 12 things to do in Zanzibar, along with a bit more detail about each activity:

    #1. Explore Stone Town:

    Immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Zanzibar by exploring Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wander through the narrow, winding streets lined with old buildings and intricately carved wooden doors. Visit attractions like the House of Wonders, the Sultan’s Palace, and the Forodhani Gardens. Explore the bustling markets filled with spices, fruits, and local handicrafts.

    #2. Relax on Nungwi Beach:

    Head to the northern tip of Zanzibar and unwind on the pristine shores of Nungwi Beach. Enjoy the soft white sand, turquoise waters, and stunning sunsets. Take a dip in the warm Indian Ocean or indulge in water sports like snorkeling, diving, or fishing.

    #3. Take a Spice Tour:

    Discover the fascinating world of spices on a guided tour of Zanzibar’s spice plantations. Learn about the island’s historic spice trade, see how spices like cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon are grown and harvested, and sample fresh tropical fruits.

    #4. Visit Jozani Forest:

    Explore the enchanting Jozani Forest, home to the rare and endemic Zanzibar Red Colobus monkeys. Take a guided walk along the nature trails, marvel at the ancient mahogany trees and diverse flora, and keep an eye out for other wildlife such as bushbabies and butterflies.

    #5. Dive or Snorkel in Mnemba Atoll:

    Embark on an underwater adventure at Mnemba Atoll, a protected marine reserve off the northeast coast of Zanzibar. Dive or snorkel amidst vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life, including colorful fish, turtles, and dolphins.

    #6. Visit Prison Island:

    Take a boat trip to Prison Island (Changuu Island) and explore its intriguing history. Visit the old prison ruins, walk along the beautiful sandy beach, and encounter giant Aldabra tortoises. You can also enjoy snorkeling in the surrounding crystal-clear waters.

    #7. Sail on a Dhow:

    Experience the traditional way of sailing on a dhow, a wooden sailing boat. Take a sunset cruise along the coastline, enjoying breathtaking views and a romantic atmosphere. Some dhow cruises also include a seafood dinner and traditional music.

    #8. Go Dolphin Watching:

    Head to the Kizimkazi fishing village and embark on a dolphin-watching excursion. Observe pods of wild dolphins in their natural habitat and, if conditions permit, swim and snorkel with them. Remember to engage in responsible and respectful dolphin encounters.

    #9. Discover Paje Beach:

    Visit Paje Beach on the east coast of Zanzibar, known for its long stretches of white sand and clear turquoise waters. This beach is perfect for kitesurfing enthusiasts, thanks to its consistent winds and shallow waters.

    #10. Explore Chumbe Island:

    Pay a visit to Chumbe Island and experience its pristine coral reefs and mangrove forests. Take a guided snorkeling tour to witness the vibrant marine life, or go on a guided nature walk to learn about the island’s unique ecosystems and conservation efforts.

    #11. Sunset Dhow Cruise:

    Indulge in a magical sunset dhow cruise, where you can watch the sky ablaze with shades of orange and pink as the sun sets over the Indian Ocean. Enjoy the peaceful ambiance, sip on a refreshing drink, and savor the beauty of the moment.

    #12. Visit Pemba Island:

    Take a trip to Pemba Island, Zanzibar’s sister island, for a more off-the-beaten-path experience. Explore its lush green landscapes, enjoy its secluded beaches, and immerse yourself in the local Swahili culture.

    These are just a few of the many incredible experiences awaiting you in Zanzibar. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or cultural exploration, this tropical paradise has something for everyone.


    Zanzibar is a destination that offers something for everyone, from its rich historical and cultural heritage to its stunning natural beauty and outdoor activities. Whether you’re exploring the bustling streets of Stone Town, relaxing on a pristine beach, or diving into the vibrant marine life, Zanzibar promises an unforgettable experience. With its warm, welcoming people and diverse attractions, it’s no wonder this island paradise is a favorite among travelers.

    FAQs About Zanzibar:

    If you ask me then i will surely say, Zanzibar is famous for its stunning beaches, rich cultural heritage, and historical significance. It was a major hub for the slave and spice trades in the past, attracting traders from Africa, India, and the Arabian Peninsula.

    Zanzibar's unique blend of African, Arab, and European influences can be seen in its architecture, cuisine, and cultural traditions. The island is also known for its vibrant markets, beautiful coral reefs, and diverse wildlife

    Zanzibar is considered relatively affordable for tourists, especially for visitors from countries with stronger currencies like the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and many European nations. The local currency is Tanzanian shilling, has a favorable exchange rate for these currencies, making expenses in Zanzibar more affordable.

    For tourists from countries with a lower cost of living, such as Vietnam or Indonesia, prices in Zanzibar may feel slightly higher or similar to what they are used to at home

    Yes, it is generally safe to travel to Zanzibar. Zanzibar is considered one of the safest African destinations, even for solo female travelers. The Zanzibar Archipelago is part of Tanzania, which is one of the most stable countries in East Africa.

    Tanzania is ranked as the most peaceful country in East Africa, and the local people are generally welcoming and laid-back. Zanzibar has the necessary tourism infrastructure to ensure a comfortable and safe holiday experience

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