There are few places in the world where you can photograph white sands and breathtaking views of a clear blue sea facing palm trees and tropical landscapes like Zanzibar. The beautiful island, located on the coast of Tanzania, offers a unique and cultural adventure that combines fascinating attractions, museum tours, and interesting markets and even a nightlife that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. We invite you to check out the 9 activities and places to see if and when you visit this amazing country.
Stone Town is the heart and soul of this magical island; You can even say that this old city, located in its capital Zanzibar City, is where it all began. Walking through the many narrow streets of the fascinating city, you will be led through a labyrinth that you will only want to get lost in, a journey between unique workshops, art galleries, textile stalls, and local cafes, telling the story of the various cultures you can see throughout the place. Stone Town is a perfect start to a trip full of adventure and mystery, one that will prove to you that Zanzibar is not only a relaxing trip to magical white beaches but a place with a long history that will leave you wanting more.
Just a 30-minute drive from Zanzibar City is the Jozani National Park. The huge 50-square-kilometer compound is home to about 1,000 Red Colobus Zanzibari monkeys, an endemic species of the endangered Zanzibar island. Among the other residents of the park, you can see Sykes monkeys, skunks, turtles, 50 kinds of butterflies and about 40 types of birds. Legend has it that you can still see the Zanzibar tiger roaming Jozani, although the last time it was seen was more than 15 years ago. The enchanted park is situated on low, muddy ground, and besides wildlife observation, you can explore a natural path leading into the forest (you can pick up an informational pamphlet at the reception), visit a small cafe and buy souvenirs if you wish. It is important to note that the monkeys in the park are not tamed, so be careful and don't feed or pet them.
Nungwi is the third largest settlement in Zanzibar and is located in the far north of the island. This popular and stunning resort offers a variety of water attractions, a beach with dreamy sunsets, and is just an hour's drive from Stone Town. The island, once a fishing village, is now used as a center for lovers of various water activities, including diving in one of the most beautiful parts of the world. Nungwi’s coastline is ranked 43rd on CNN's list of the 100 best beaches, and there are several 5-star hotels and accommodations where you can enjoy many restaurants, massage parlors, and cafes, all along the relatively quiet coastline.
The animal lovers among you will surely fall in love with Prison Island, a place that used to be a prison for slaves and rebels in the 1860s and later became the home of giant land tortoises in danger of extinction. During a tour of the island, you can feed the giant tortoises, dive in the cleanest waters of Zanzibar, see magnificent corals and watch large schools of dolphins inhabiting this part of the Indian Ocean. You can tour the ruins of the old prison and see how the cells, which have now become a refuge for the giant tortoises, were used by the prisoners.
The Sultan's Palace, also known as the Palace Museum, is perhaps the most important historic building in Stone Town and is recommended for any tourist coming here to visit. The palace overlooking the ocean waters was built in the 19th century as a home for the Sultan and his family and was used until the coup d'etat that took place on the island in 1964 when the sultanate was abolished and the name of the building changed to "The People's Palace." In the 1990s, a museum dedicated to the history of the Sultan of Zanzibar was established here, and you can learn about the daily life of the island's royal family, as well as see authentic clothing, pictures and a variety of items that they once owned.
This four-story building in Stone Town was one of the Sultan’s six palaces. This building is considered the tallest on the island and is the city's best-known landmark. The wonder part of the House of Wonder is apparently related to the fact that it was the first building in Zanzibar where electric lighting was installed, and it was the first building in all of East Africa to install an elevator, once considered a technological marvel in this part of the world. Today the building houses the National Museum of Zanzibar, where furniture and items from the Sultans' palaces, traditional fishing tools, portraits, and various treasures are not to be missed.
Zanzibar is known as one of the leading places in the world in the manufacture and export of spices and serves as an important stopping point in the trade route since the 18th century. Among its diverse local produce, you can find spices such as cloves, vanilla, green pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and more. Many visitors to the island spend most of their time at the beach, unaware that, as a leader in the spice industry, there are also tours of the orchards, including a pampering lunch through which to sample the local produce. The cost of the tour, which lasts an hour to two hours, is about $20-30 per person, and this is one of the wonderful ways to get to know life on the island in the past and present.
The Old Fort of Zanzibar is without doubt one of the oldest buildings in Stone Town - the ancient building is situated on the beach right in front of the famous Forodhani Gardens. The purpose of its construction was to protect against the attacks of the Portuguese fleet in the 17th century, and today it is one of the most recognizable sights of the ancient city - Stone Town. During a visit to the fortress complex, you can walk around the old shops offering a wide range of local produce, see remnants of old buildings like the Portuguese Church, and enjoy a tour of the ancient amphitheater, which still hosts events including the Zanzibar International Film Festival.
The Rock restaurant is a luxury restaurant located on the eastern coast of Zanzibar and is considered one of the best on the island; One of the special things in this restaurant is its unique entrance that won’t be seen anywhere in the world - at low tide you can reach it on foot, while during high tide you’ll need to do so by boat. Make sure to make reservations in advance, since the restaurant has only 12 tables and is full almost all day. When you make your reservation, ask to be seated on the balcony - the amazing view and the delicious hearty dishes served in the restaurant make for a perfect moment.