10 Must-Do Activities in Zanzibar to Maximize Your Stay
Zanzibar is an island off the coast of Tanzania. It is famous for its white-sand beaches, old buildings, and tasty seafood. It’s a perfect destination for sun-seekers and adventurers alike. As of January 2023, Zanzibar is known to be one of the most-visited destinations in East Africa, with tourists flocking from all over the world to explore the island.
From exploring the vibrant markets of Stone Town to snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean, there are countless activities to enjoy in Zanzibar. With history, nature, culture, and delicious culinary opportunities, Zanzibar has a lot to offer everyone. Whether you’re looking for an unforgettable beach getaway or a chance to explore historic sites and local culture, these 10 must-do activities will help you make the most of your stay in this stunning destination. From riding camels on the beach to taking a cooking class with a local chef, you’ll find something to suit your interests in Zanzibar. Get ready for the trip of a lifetime!
1. Explore Stone Town of Zanzibar
Stone Town, also known as Mji Mkongwe (Swahili for “old town”), is the cultural and historical heart of Zanzibar. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is on the western coast of the island. It is known for its narrow streets, old buildings, and rich culture. The Stone Town of Zanzibar is a magnificent example of how different cultures can coexist.
Stone Town’s buildings and city layout are a great example of how much trade went on by sea between Asia and Africa for many centuries.
Since Zanzibar was a major port for the trade in slaves in East Africa and the location from which abolitionists like David Livingstone ran their campaigns, the island has a significant symbolic significance in the fight to end slavery.
There are many things to see and do in Stone Town, including visiting the former slave market at the Anglican Cathedral of Christ and visiting the Old Fort, a 17th-century fort built by the Omanis.
Other popular attractions in Stone Town include the Zanzibar Curio Shop, where you can purchase locally made crafts and souvenirs, and the Darajani Market, where you can find fresh produce, spices, and other goods.
You can also take a stroll through the narrow streets of Stone Town, lined with colorful houses, shops, and restaurants, and stop at one of the many cafes or restaurants to try some local Zanzibari cuisine. Overall, exploring Stone Town is a great way to learn about the island’s history and culture and to immerse yourself in the local way of life.
2. Go on a Spice Tour of Zanzibar
Zanzibar, also known as the “Spice Island,” is famous for its production of spices such as cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Many are used in cooking and traditional medicine.
During a spice tour, you will have the opportunity to see and learn about the various spices grown on the island, such as cardamom, vanilla, and pepper, and how they are processed and prepared for use.
In addition to learning about the different spices, you may also have the opportunity to see other crops grown on the island, such as cocoa, cashews, and coconut.
Spice tours are a great way to learn about the island’s rich history and culture and to gain a deeper understanding of the role that spices play in the local economy and way of life. They are often offered as part of a larger cultural or historical tour of the island.
3. Go on the Safari Blue Tour
Safari Blue is a popular tour in Zanzibar that takes visitors on a half-day excursion to explore the beautiful marine life and natural beauty of the island.
The tour typically includes a visit to a mangrove forest, where you can take a guided walk through the mangroves and see the diverse plant and animal life that lives there. You may also have the opportunity to see crabs, octopuses, and other marine life in the mangroves.
Next, you will board a traditional dhow boat and take a cruise along the coast of the island, where you may have the chance to see dolphins and other marine life. You will also have the opportunity to swim and snorkel in the crystal-clear waters surrounding the island, where you can see colorful coral reefs and a variety of fish.
The tour also includes a visit to a sandbank, where you can relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Lunch, snacks, and drinks are typically provided during the tour.
Overall, Safari Blue is a great way to experience the beauty of Zanzibar’s marine life and natural surroundings and to relax and unwind on a beautiful sandy beach.
4. Visit Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park
Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park is a protected area on the East African island of Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania. It is home to a variety of plant and animal species, including the rare red colobus monkeys, which are native to the island.
The park is about 50 square kilometers big and has many different kinds of habitats, such as mangrove forests, salt marshes, and grasslands. In addition to the red colobus monkeys, the park is also home to a variety of other wildlife, including bushbucks, bushpigs, duikers, and a wide range of bird species.
Visitors to the park can take guided tours to see the red colobus monkeys and other wildlife and to learn about the park’s conservation efforts. The park also has several walking trails that allow visitors to explore the park on foot and see the diverse plant and animal life up close.
Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park is a great place to see some of the unique and rare wildlife found on the island of Zanzibar and to learn about the importance of conservation efforts in protecting these species.
5. Go on the Prison Island Tour
The Prison Island Tour is a popular tour in Zanzibar that takes visitors to a small island located just off the coast of the main island. The island, also known as Changuu Island or “Prison Island,” is home to a 19th-century prison that was built by the Sultan of Zanzibar to house disobedient slaves.
Today, the prison is no longer in use, and the island is home to a variety of plant and animal life, including a population of giant tortoises that were brought to the island in the late 19th century.
The tour typically includes a visit to the prison, where you can learn about the island’s history and see the remains of the prison cells. You will also have the opportunity to see the giant tortoises up close and learn about their history on the island. In addition to the prison and giant tortoises, the island is also home to a beautiful sandy beach where you can relax and enjoy the scenery. Lunch and drinks are typically provided as part of the tour.
6. Relax on a Romantic Sunset Dhow Cruise
A sunset dhow cruise is a popular thing to do in Zanzibar. You get to enjoy the island’s beautiful scenery and marine life while watching the sunset over the Indian Ocean.
A dhow is a traditional wooden sailboat that has been used in the region for centuries. During a sunset dhow cruise, you will board a dhow and set sail along the coast of the island, with the opportunity to see dolphins and other marine life as you go. You will also have the chance to relax on the deck of the dhow and enjoy the beautiful scenery as the sun sets over the ocean.
Sunset dhow cruises are often accompanied by snacks and drinks, and you may also have the option to have a meal or barbecue on the dhow. Many sunset dhow cruises also include live music or other entertainment.
A sunset dhow cruise is a great way to relax and enjoy the beauty of Zanzibar while watching the sunset over the ocean. It is a popular activity for couples and is a memorable and romantic way to spend an evening on the island.
7. Play with Butterflies at the Zanzibar Butterfly Centre
The Zanzibar Butterfly Centre is a conservation and education center located on the island of Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania in East Africa. The center is dedicated to the conservation of butterfly species and to educating the public about the importance of butterflies and other pollinators in the ecosystem.
The center houses a large butterfly garden where visitors can see a variety of butterfly species up close and learn about their life cycles and habits. The center also has an exhibit area where visitors can learn about the different butterfly species found on the island and about the center’s conservation efforts.
In addition to the butterfly garden and exhibits, the center offers school groups and other organizations guided tours and educational programs.
The Zanzibar Butterfly Centre is a great place to learn about the role of butterflies in the ecosystem and to see a variety of beautiful butterfly species up close. It is a popular attraction for both tourists and locals.
8. Indulge in the ancient Swahili Culture and Traditions
Zanzibar is an island off the coast of Tanzania in East Africa. It has a long and interesting history that goes back to the time of the ancient Swahili people. The island was an important trading center and played a significant role in the development of Swahili culture and its unique blend of African, Arab, and Indian influences.
During the height of the Swahili civilization, the island was home to several elaborate palaces that served as the residences of the Sultans of Zanzibar and their families. These palaces were constructed using traditional Swahili building techniques and are decorated with intricate carvings and other decorative elements.
Today, several of these ancient Swahili palaces have been preserved and are open to the public for tours. These include the Beit-el-Ajaib (House of Wonders) museum, the Maruhubi Palace Ruins, and the Kidichi Persian Baths.
Visiting these ancient Swahili palaces is a great way to learn about the island’s rich history and to see the unique blend of African, Arab, and Indian influences that characterize Swahili culture. They are popular attractions for tourists and history buffs visiting the island.
9. Enjoy the local and International cuisine at the Forodhani Gardens
Forodhani Gardens is a well-known food market in Stone Town, which is Zanzibar’s cultural and historical center. Every night, the market is open, and it has many local and international food stalls with a wide range of dishes, such as seafood on the grill, kebabs, curries, and other traditional Zanzibari food.
The market is a great place to sample local food and try a variety of dishes at a reasonable price. It is also a place where both locals and tourists like to hang out because it has a lively and exciting atmosphere.
In addition to the food stalls, Forodhani Gardens also has a number of souvenir and craft stalls where you can purchase locally made crafts and souvenirs. The market is a great place to browse and shop for unique and locally made items.
Forodhani Gardens is a popular attraction in Stone Town and is a great place to try local food, shop for souvenirs, and experience the vibrant atmosphere of the island. It is a must-see place for people who love food and want to learn more about the local culture.
10. Enjoy Water Sports and White Sands at Paje Beach
Paje Beach is a beautiful white sandy beach located on the eastern coast of the island of Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania in East Africa. The beach is known for its crystal clear waters and is a popular destination for swimming, snorkeling, and other water sports.
Paje Beach is also a popular spot for kitesurfing, thanks to the steady trade winds and shallow lagoon. There are several kitesurfing schools located on the beach, offering lessons and equipment rentals for visitors.
In addition to water sports, Paje Beach is also a great place to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery. The beach is lined with palm trees and has a number of beachside restaurants and cafes where you can grab a drink or a bite to eat while enjoying the view.
Paje Beach is a beautiful and popular destination for swimming, snorkeling, and other water sports and is a great place to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery. It is a must-visit destination for beach lovers visiting the island of Zanzibar.
In conclusion, Zanzibar is a beautiful and diverse destination with something for everyone. No matter your age or interests. Whether you are interested in history, culture, or natural beauty, there is something to see and do for everyone on this beautiful island.