What to do in Zanzibar


Welcome to Zanzibar, a paradise for beach lovers.

Whether you are planning to tour Zanzibar as a solo traveller, as a couple, with your kids or friends, Zanzibar is one of the safest places to visit in Africa and a great destination for all kinds of travellers. With its idyllic beaches, incredible diversity of marine life, amazing Swahili culture and lush tropical forests, the island has something to offer for everyone who comes here. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing vacation at the beach, water sports, romantic getaway, wildlife encounters or exploring the local culture, you’ll find it in Zanzibar. From swimming and snorkeling to kite surfing, dhow cruises, scuba diving, jet skiing, quad biking and watching the dolphins, there are plenty of ways to experience the magic of Zanzibar and create unforgettable memories. Here are “23 – Best Things to Do When Visiting Zanzibar”.

1. Laze on the Beaches of Zanzibar

Lazing on the beach is a magical experience and a great way to end your wildlife safari. So, if all you want to do is to unwind after a safari, you can never go wrong about visiting Zanzibar beaches. The beaches provide an excellent backdrop for a relaxing vacation, soaking up the sun while appreciating the beauty of nature. Whether you’re looking to laying on the beach or relaxing in a beach chair sipping a drink, there are plenty of seafront restaurants along the beach in Zanzibar where you can experience the cool ocean breeze. In the evening you catch the sunset or go for a stroll along the shorelines as you listen to the waves.

2. Wander the Streets of Stone Town

Mji Mkongwe, as the locals refer to Stone Town, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the most vibrant towns in Zanzibar. Taking a stroll in Stone Town is one of the best ways to experience the culture, cuisine and history of the city of Zanzibar. Explore the many historic buildings such as Old Dispensary, built by in 1894, the Slave Market Museum, which tells the history of slave trade and St. Joseph’s Cathedral built by the French in the 19th century. Other interesting places to visit in Stone Town include Hamamni Turkish Bath Ruins, Old Fort, Darajani Market and Fred Mercury House. There are plenty of coffee shops, curio shops, cafes, and street food vendors lining the narrow streets of Stone Town to explore.

3. Go Snorkeling in the Mneba Island or Chumbe Island

While Zanzibar has several snorkeling places, Mneba Island and Chumbe Island offer some of the best spots. The visibility of the warm waters coupled with the rich diversity of marine life makes Zanzibar an exciting place for snorkelers to explore the beauty of the underwater world. Snorkeling in Zanzibar gives visitors a chance to witness the spectacular coral reefs which are home to a wide variety of marine species. This includes a variety of colorful tropical fish, green turtles, eels, dolphins and more.

4. Experience the Thrill of Kite Surfing in Paje

Paje Beach is ‘the kite surfing capital of Zanzibar’. Given its ideal wind conditions for the most part of the year and stunning coastline, Paje is the most famous destination for kite surfers on the island. There are several rental shops ,instructors and kite surfing schools offering lessons around Paje Beach, making it a great spot for both beginners and advanced kite surfers alike.

5. Get to Know the Spices of Zanzibar and their history

Booking the Zanzibar Spice plantation tour is a nice way to see the various spices grown in Zanzibar. During the Zanzibar spice tour, visitors are shown how spices are cultivated, harvested, and processed. Here, guests will also learn about the history of different spices, their uses and medicinal properties. You will also have a chance to sample some local dishes.

6. Indulge in the Local Delights

Sampling local dishes is an experience that should be high on your bucket list when visiting Zanzibar. The island has some delicious local foods for you to try. From traditional dishes like ‘ndizi nyama’ and ‘ugali’ to street food like mshikaki, Zanzibar pizza and chipsi mayai, you will be spoilt for choice.

7. Embark on a Culinary Adventure with a Local Cooking Class

If you’re looking for a unique way to make your culinary experience in Zanzibar extra special, why not try taking a traditional cooking class? Booking a local cooking class on your Zanzibar trip is a great way of exploring the culture of the area and connecting with locals as you cook together. Plus, it is a nice chance to tour the local markets as you source for ingredients and spices with your guide.

8. Capture the Splendid Sunset on a Dhow Cruise

One of the best ways to get a unique perspective of the Zanzibar’s coastal landscape is to take a dhow trip. Zanzibar dhow cruise is a sailing excursion by traditional wooden vessels typically enjoyed at sunset. One of the most spectacular scenery during this cruise is that of the glowing sun setting over the ocean, with its lights reflecting off the ocean waters. During this trip, visitors can enjoy their snacks as they marvel at the stunning views of the surrounding islands, beaches and the tranquility of the ocean. Visitors can choose any of the three options of dhow cruises available in Zanzibar, including shared cruise, private cruise and luxury dinner cruise. These cruises can be found in many Zanzibar beaches.

9. Enjoy the Nightlife and Food Market in Stone Town

Don’t miss the night food market at Forodhani Gardens while you’re in Zanzibar. Dotted with a variety of local delicacies, this is the best spot for sampling Zanzibar flavors. For the epic nightlife in Zanzibar, there are numerous beach bars on the island, including in Kendwa, Jambiani and Nugwi beaches.

10. Interact with Dolphins in the Wild

The best places to find dolphins in the wild in Zanzibar are in Kizimkazi Bay and Mnemba Island, where they are frequently spotted. During the dolphin safari, visitors can observe and even swim with wild dolphins. In Zanzibar, dolphins are best sighted in the morning, with bottlenose and Humpback dolphins being the most frequently seen species.

11. Catch a Glimpse of the Majestic Whales off the Mafia island

Whale-watching safari is one of the most awe-inspiring excursions in Zanzibar. Immerse yourself in the spectacle of these magnificent creatures as they swim through the warm Indian Ocean waters during their annual migration. In Zanzibar, whales are best spotted from August to November, with the Humpback whales being the most prominent species seen here.

12. Visit the Local Markets

Another interesting activity to do in Zanzibar is visiting local markets such as Darajani Market. Not only do you get to explore the local culture, but you can also shop for a variety of interesting items. From spices, unique souvenirs to fresh produce, locally handmade crafts, street food and traditional dishes, you’ll find plenty of items on sale.

13. Meet the Wildlife of Zanzibar

The wildlife you are likely to encounter most in Zanzibar is the Red Colobus monkeys, which inhabit the island’s lush rainforest such as Jozani Forest and jungles surrounding the caves. But they are in no way the only animals found in Zanzibar. There are many more animals you can find at Cheetah’s Rock and Zanzibar Kilosas Conservation. Visitors can see Cheetahs, Zebras, Lemurs, Lions, Ostriches, Dik diks, Tortoises, and Snakes. Plus, you can feed and pet the animals here.

14. Experience Zanzibar Quad Bike Adventures   

Quad biking in Zanzibar is an exciting and adventurous way to explore the remote villages, get a feel of the local lifestyle and a new perspective of the island. Quad bike tours are typically led by local guides, allowing visitors to discover the unexplored side of Zanzibar and hidden gems such as caves. On your way, you’ll pass through local farms, sugar cane farms, rice plantations and trails dotted with the coconut, baobab and spice trees. Self-driving quad adventures in Zanzibar can be done in different locations, such as Jambiani Village.

15. Discover the Caves of Zanzibar

If you’re feeling adventurous, exploring the natural caverns in Zanzibar is a nice way to reconnect with nature, discover natural swimming pools and geological formations. Touring the caves also provides the perfect opportunities to observe different animals such as bats, birds, monkeys and insect that live in and around the caves. If you are cave enthusiasts, there are many interesting natural caverns to explore in Zanzibar. They include Kuza Caves, Swahili Cave, Mangapwani Caves, Tazari Caves, Kimwenga Caves, Maalum Caves and Fukuchani Ruins and Caves.

16. Swimming with Sea Turtles  

Ever wanted to swim with turtles? In Zanzibar, you can cross it off your bucket list. Mnarani Marine Turtles Conservation and Jozani Turtle Sanctuary are the best places to interact with turtles.

17. Cruise the Waves on a Jet Ski

Jet skiing is a great way to have some fun and explore the waters while on vacation here. During this thrilling adventure, you’ll get to appreciate the stunning views of the coastlines and beaches. Kendwa Beach, Paje Beach and Nugwi Beach are some of the best jet skiing spots in Zanzibar.

18. Enjoy a Meal with a View at a Rooftop Restaurant

Whatever you do, make sure to have dinner at one of the many Stone Towns’ rooftop restaurants. Here, you can savor delectable cuisine and sip cocktails while taking in breathtaking views of the Stone Town’s architecture, epic nightlife and a stunning sunset.

19. Paddle Across Chaka Bay

Paddling across Chaka Bay to Michamvi is a great way to take in the scenery of one of the largest remaining mangrove forests in Zanzibar and discover the various types of mangrove species. Located in East Coast of Zanzibar, the lagoon surrounding Chaka Bay is a nice place for watching a variety of bird species.

20. Give Your Taste Buds a Treat with Fresh Sea Food

When touring Zanzibar, you cannot afford to miss sampling the various seafood dishes in the area. Some of the popular sea foods you’ll find here includes lobsters, octopus, squid, crabs, prawns and different types of fish.

21. Dine in Style at The Rock Restaurant

Rock Restaurant is not only the most instagrammable place in Zanzibar but they also serve amazing food. So, the Rock Restaurant is a nice place to stop for lunch while exploring the Island.

22. Spend a Night at the Underwater Restaurant

If you are looking for a unique holiday experience, consider spending a few nights at Manta Resort. This underwater restaurant is one of its kinds in Zanzibar, where you can wake up to the amazing sea views.

23. Take a Day Trip to the Private Islands

If you have enough time in Zanzibar, make a point of visiting the private islands for the best snorkeling opportunities. Changgu and the Prison Islands are two of the nearby islands that can be accessed via a short boat ride. They both have beautiful coral reefs and are rich in marine life.

Take away,

If you’re seeking for a holiday destination with a great combination of idyllic beaches, rich history, amazing culture and adventure, Zanzibar has it all. There are lots of things to do here, from city excursions to beach activities, cultural tours to wildlife encounters. So why not reserve your Zanzibar beach holiday today and discover the many activities that this stunning destination has to offer.
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