The archipelago of Zanzibar, made up of the main island of Unguja, its sister island Pemba and several islets with exotic names such as Mafia Island and Mnemba, is an enchanting paradise just waiting for your arrival. Set just off the Tanzanian coastline; beautiful sandy beaches, luxury accommodation, a rich and vibrant culture and some of the best diving spots in the world are at your disposal.
Steeped in history the island has been populated over the centuries by traders from India, China, Persia, Portugal, Holland, Sumeria and the United Kingdom. A rich and vibrant culture is the result and just as it has attracted sea-farers and adventurers over the centuries it now attracts a different kind of traveller looking for romance and mystique, and Zanzibar does not disappoint.
Dominating the west coast of the main island the port city of Stone Town has been declared a world heritage site for its cultural and historical importance. “Arabia-meets-Africa” is a phrase that comes to mind when you explore the maze of narrow streets and pathways winding through this ancient city.
The north coast of Zanzibar is most popular with visitors as it offers smooth beaches and great ocean-swimming mostly unaffected by the tides. The east coast is known for its easy pace and endless, uncrowded beaches stretching far out during low tide. This does make swimming difficult so be sure to choose a hotel with a swimming pool. On the south coast of Zanzibar lies the Menai Bay Conservation Area, a sea turtle protection area for the endangered species that come to breed on the island. The Jozani Forest, home to the endemic Red Colobus Monkey, is also nearby and worth a visit.
Traveling to your luxury beach destination you will pass fragrant plantations of cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. Known as the Spice Islands, a Spice Tour is an enchanting experience designed to stimulate your senses and a great way to meet locals.
For a more private island experience try one of the smaller, generally unspoilt islets in the Zanzibar archipelago. It is often more expensive than the main island, but the untouched beauty and exclusive experience is well worth it.
The ancient city of Stone Town
Explore Stone Town, one of few remaining ancient ‘cities’ in the world that is still functioning. The cultural heart of Zanzibar, it has been declared a World Heritage Site. Not much has changed in this labyrinth of narrow roads and alleyways in over two hundred years; it is easy to lose yourself exploring the vibrant bazaars, mosques and admiring the grand houses with their elaborately decorated and carved wooden doors. The oldest building in Stone Town is the mosque at Kizimkazi dating back to 1107.
Zanzibar boasts some of the best diving spots in the world with beautiful coral reefs and an abundance of marine life. There is good visibility and the water is warm; take a course at one of the many diving centres on the island or if you are more experienced sign up for the thrill of a wall or night dive. The brightly coloured tropical fish abound in the shallower waters and in the deep lurk the large gamefish – the barracuda, kingfish and tuna.
Take a Dhow Cruise
Sail off into the deep blue ocean on a romantic dhow trip; the most common route is a meander along Zanzibar Island’s beautiful coastline and the best time to go is at sunset. A romantic experience, it is also one of the best ways to get a sense of the geography of the island.
Pemba, Chumbe and Chapwani
Often overlooked are the smaller islands around Zanzibar such as Pemba with its beautiful beaches, forests and stunning dive sites as well as the islets of Chumbe and Chapwani. They are simply idyllic destinations and often less overrun than the main beaches.
11 Nights | 12 Days
From USD $10745 p/person
Visiting Arusha, Serengeti & Ngorongoro, Zanzibar Island and Surrounds
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