Discover Zanzibar

Updated 2018-08-31 14:07

If you are interested in visiting Tanzania, especially for the purpose of vacationing, you are likely to be interested in at least considering Zanzibar! The island offers a range of affordable and enjoyable activities for people of all interests and ages, and thus Zanzibar is an ideal destination for a family holiday. This article will outline the basics of traveling to the island, activities to do there, and other recommendations.

Travel to Zanzibar

If you are already on Tanzania's mainland, you are in luck. Traveling to the island is as simple as catching a charter flight or taking a ferry across from Dar es Salaam. The ferries are more affordable but the duration is up to two hours, whilst the charter flight lasts around 20 minutes and leave multiple times per hour. Follow the links below to investigate further.

If you are coming from another country, it is possible to fly on a direct flight to Zanzibar, as the airport is fully equipped and operational to receive larger international planes. If you book through an agent, they might book you to Dar es Salaam and on a charter flight, so be sure to know what your travel plan is.

Explore the Island

When in Zanzibar, you are likely to stay in at least one or two main areas: Stonetown or the East Coast. They are linked by a relatively safe and functional road and it is about a 45-minute car journey between the two.

If you are in Stone Town, it is recommended that you do a walking tour with a local through its bustling centre and twisting alleys, whilst he or she tells you of the rich history of the island. Go by the spice market and collect some spices to take home to your family and friends - do ensure that you do not exceed the maximum spice allowance for your destination country, however. Overall, Stone Town is safe and locals are wonderful and friendly people who are typically well-educated, have a good command of English, and are known to greet tourists and genuinely be curious about their backgrounds.

In Stone Town you might also want to check out the evening/night market (in Forodhani gardens) where you can try all sorts of Zanzibari food at unbeatable prices, the charming rooftop bars and restaurants and the hole-in-the-wall cafes where you will find Zanzibar coffee, and a number of monuments around the town that tell the story of the Zanzibar's Arab slave trade history.

When visiting the island's East Coast, you are met with sunshine, idyllic seas, white sand beaches, and an assortment of resorts, hotels, villas and lodges. Kick back and relax here whilst your every need is met, or be more adventurous and go diving or snorkelling, checking out the islands plentiful coral, fish and starfish!

A unique experience that comes highly recommended is to visit The Rock Restaurant. This restaurant is quite literally built on a rock - in the sea! Depending on the tide, you can either walk to it, or will have to catch a ride with the little paddle boat that takes patrons from the entrance back to the beach, and vice versa. A portion of proceeds also goes to the Kichanga Foundation which is doing its best to uplift and empower the local community.

Useful links

Tanzania charter operators
Azam marine ferries
The Rock Restaurant

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