The name Zanzibar evokes associations of 1001 nights, dream beaches and holidays on an exotic island. The archipelago was known as the stronghold of the African slave trade and as the main cultivation area for cloves. The ruling sultans used their wealth to build pompous bathhouses and palaces. Today there are no sultans and no slaves there anymore, but where you walk and stand, you will be reminded of this era. It is a beautiful island, green with clove plantations and cinnamon trees. Ruins of palaces, baths and ancient mosques are scattered all over the country. The whole coast is surrounded by coral gardens, which are embedded in turquoise green tropical waters.
The Zanzibar archipelago consists of the two neighboring islands Unguja (formerly also called Zanzibar) and Pemba as well as smaller secondary islands. The semi-autonomous island group (Tanganyika + Zanzibar = Tanzania) Zanzibar has a government with its own parliament and president. No additional visa is required for entry.
We have selected a collection of hotels and lodges, divided into the geographical regions Zanzibar North, Zanzibar North-East, Zanzibar South-East, Zanzibar West with Zanzibar City and Pemba for your perfect Zanzibar beach holiday. With some hotels and lodges we maintain long term business relations and have therefore negotiated preferential conditions e.g. in the form of long-stay discounts or free room upgrades. We are happy to book hotels, transfers, day tours and domestic flights for you. Let our English and German speaking Tanzania specialists advise you.
The tourism sector on Zanzibar is well established and there is a great variety of accommodation in all price ranges. Many guests like to end their exciting safari with a few relaxing days on the beautiful beaches of Zanzibar. For this purpose, an open jaw flight with your international airline is a good option, e.g. arrival via Kilimanjaro intl. and departure via Zanzibar intl. International Airport. For the connection from Arusha or the Serengeti to Zanzibar we recommend a flight with one of the numerous smaller domestic and charter airlines (e.g. Auric Air, Tropical Air, Precision Air, Air Tanzania, Coastal Aviation, Flightlink, Regional Air, Air Excel).
For the more adventurous with enough time, there is also the possibility to travel by coach from Arusha to Dar es Salaam (e.g. with Dar Express for 20$) and from there to Zanzibar City with the fast ferry (Azam Marine, 2 to 3 hours approx. 50$). As the bus trip takes the whole day, you will have to stay overnight in Dar es Salaam and board the ferry at the port the next morning.
Zanzibar Day Trips and Excursions
For nature lovers, a trip to Jozani Forest, the last remaining rainforest on the island, is recommended. It is the habitat of the rare red colobus monkeys. In Stonetown harbour you can take a boat to Changu Island. This island is also called Prison Island because the ruins of an abandoned prison still stand there. On the island you can snorkel and admire some giant turtles. A wide excursion destination are the Persian baths of Kidichi, which were built by Sultan Sayyid Said as a gift for his second wife at the beginning of the 19th century. Also interesting are the Mangapwani slave caves, where slaves were loaded underground into ships to Saudi Arabia and Persia even after the legal end of slavery.
The so-called Spice Tour, during which guests are driven to the spice gardens on the island, has become famous. The driver takes them to coconut and clove plantations, shows them cinnamon, cocoa and pepper trees as well as many other spice bushes and explains the respective fruit or its processing. You should not miss this scenic excursion. On the way there is the old sultan’s palace (Maruhubi Palace), there you can visit the garden with harem for 99 women. Also worthwhile is a trip to the south coast of the island, more precisely to the fishing village Kizimkazi. From there you can take a boat trip to the reef, where wild dolphins often cavort in close proximity to the boat. The captain will allow you to jump into the water and swim with the animals.
Stone Town Zanzibar City
A guided city tour through Stone Town is highly recommended. Stone Town, also known as Mji Mkongwe (Swahili for “old city”), is the oldest part of Zanzibar City, the capital of Zanzibar. This part of the city is an excellent example of the Swahili style of cities on the east coast of Africa. You can see the influences of African culture, which have been combined with Arab, Indian and European culture for decades. Due to the construction of several apartment buildings in Stonetown, the city has unfortunately lost some of its charm. Nevertheless you can still feel the atmosphere of the old city, especially in the western part. There you can stroll through the narrow streets and admire the beautiful massive wooden doors and balconies.
First you will visit the over 100 years old market with its variety of tropical fruits and spices. Afterwards you will visit the protestant cathedral in Mkunazini, which was built in 1874 on the site of the former slave market. Your guide will tell you about the slave history of the island and show you the place where the unfortunates were auctioned off. Our next stop is the National Museum of Zanzibar, also called Peace Memorial Museum. The museum has an extensive collection of the natural history and artifacts of the island. Then we will go to the Forondhani Gardens where you will see the former British Consulate, a place where researchers like Dr. Livingston and Stanley came before they started their safaris.
Then you will explore the Old Fort, which is only a few metres away, and the highest building in Zanzibar, the House of Wonders, built by the Sultan as a ceremonial and administrative building. During a refreshing walk through the narrow streets you will see the old houses, most of which are more than 150 years old. The tour is rounded off with a visit to Dr Livingston House. An entrance fee is required for the museum. The last stop on the tour is Marahubi, where the ruins of the Sultan Barghash Palace can be seen. Some of the houses are in poor condition and the Stone Town Conservation Authority is coordinating the restoration of these houses to restore the town to its original glory.