This Zanzibar schedule is moderately chill. To put it bluntly, if your idea of a good time at a resort is lounging by the pool, then this is not for you. My description of the tempo as “semi-relaxed” refers to the fact that it provides a pleasant and steady tempo at which to discover Zanzibar. There will be days of leisure interspersed with days of intensive sightseeing. You can also change out some days for others or put on extra activities. You can see the nicest beaches in Zanzibar, meet the local flora and fauna, and still have time to swim and sip a cocktail if you plan your trip well. My top three recommendations for a first-time trip to Zanzibar are the Paje and Jambiani beaches in the south, the Nungwi area in the north, and the historic district of Stone Town, which is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A four-night trip to Paje or Jambiani in the south-east is where I’d start. Then spend 5 nights in one of the more developed and popular beaches in the north, like Nungwi or Kendwa. Spend at least two nights in Stone town before leaving Zanzibar to explore its winding alleys and practice your bargaining skills in preparation for souvenir purchasing. The itinerary can be done backwards if desired.
- Airport transfers
- Park fees/charges
- Pick and drop services
- Drinking water during the safari/tour
- Outdoor activities (as per the itinerary)
- Accommodation (as per the itinerary)
- A professional driver/guide
- Transportation; 4*4 Jeep, Van, or by air (as per the itinerary)
- All Taxes/VAT
- Meals; full board or half-board (as per the itinerary)
- Any other inclusion as indicated in the itinerary
- Insurance (where applicable)
- International flights charges and fares
- Tips and gifts to service providers
- Any personal item that you may need during the tour
- Additional government imposed taxes and/or park fees
- Drinks and meals outside the tour package
- Visa charges
- Additional accommodation (as you may choose)
- Any other charges that may arise in due time
Get to Zanzibar, often known as Stone Town. Whether you're flying in from another country or the Tanzanian mainland, you'll land in Stone Town Airport. Ferry passengers arriving from Daar Es Saalam will also arrive in Stone Town.
Whether you're flying in from the United States, Canada, Japan, or Australia, today is probably going to be a frantic one spent with jet lag. Traveling to Zanzibar from Europe shouldn't be too difficult due to the island's GMT+3 time zone. This means that you are ahead of European time by an average of two hours.
As soon as you're done with the paperwork, find a money exchange or an ATM to withdraw some Tanzanian shillings. The number of ATMs outside of Stone Town is small. Take a cab to Jambiani; the fare should be around $40. That's exactly what I did. If you arrive early in the day and are up for some excitement, dala dala is another option.
Jambiani is a very easygoing and chill town. It is situated on the eastern coast of Zanzibar, where the tide ranges between very high and very low. At low tide, it's not practical to go swimming because the ocean is too far away. Jambiani's unity amongst its visitors and natives is one of its best features. There are fewer tourists, so you can experience authentic Zanzibar.
At high tide, you can enjoy a swim in the ocean. You can also take up kitesurfing, go scuba diving, or ride a stand-up paddle board. Here, even first-timers can enjoy ideal conditions for kitesurfing. A visit aboard a dhow, a traditional sailing vessel, is another option.
At low tide, the beach is still accessible for exploration. A trip to the reef might tempt you for no other reason than to see the indigenous women tend to their algae farms. You might also find women sifting through the sand for dinner shells.
A half-day excursion to Kizimkazi is available today. Although the beaches are not ideal for swimming, this area is well-known for its dolphin watching and its mosque. The Dimbani Mosque was built in 1107, making it the oldest mosque in East Africa.
To observe dolphins, I booked a trip to Kizimkazi. Please do your share and find out about the tour company before signing up. Pick the meeting with the Ethical Dolphins every time. African Impact's Kizimkazi Ethical Dolphin Tours could be an interesting option for you. Their method was satisfactory, as it was very similar to that which I had encountered in Kaikoura, New Zealand. We followed them as they swam and watched them pass without interfering.
Instead of swimming with dolphins, you can take a Blue safari instead.
Unwind with some cocktails or mocktails and a round of Zanzibar Dawa back at Jambiani.
Discover the area around Jambiani and Paje.
Today is the perfect day for some exploratory action. From Jambiani, you may drive to Kuza cave in 10 minutes or walk there in 30 minutes. Kuza cave is a limestone cavern with refreshingly cool and transparent swimming water. You can also listen to traditional Swahili music, create traditional dishes, and go on safari to look for monkeys and birds.
Go to Paje either before or after. The beach between Jambiani and Paje is walkable when the tide is out. Walking will take around an hour and a half. Visit the local market and eateries, swim (at high tide), and kitesurf in Paje. Stop by Mr. Kahawa for some of the best coffee in the world and a dinner with a view before you go.
If you go for a stroll, remember to bring water and sunscreen.
After unwinding for a while on the East Coast, make your way to the West Coast. Where the island's finest beaches are located, such as Nungwi or Kendwa.
Instead of driving straight, you may do some sight-seeing to make the most of your time and money spent on travel.
The fare for a taxi from Jambiani to Nungwi is around $50, and the trip takes around 2.5 hours. The extra time and gas cost me $70.
In Jambiani, your first stop should be at The Rock Restaurant. A little eatery perched on a rocky outcrop in the middle of the Indian Ocean. At low tide, you can walk there, and at high tide, a boat will take you. Make a reservation in advance if you want to eat there. Quite a few people frequent this area.
Jozani Forest should be visited after The Rock. Your driver will meet you there because it is on the road to Nungwi. Here you can explore the mangroves, learn about the flora of the forest, and (perhaps) spot a Zanzibar red colobus monkey in its natural habitat.
Keep going until you get to Nungwi, where you'll be there in time for dinner. Nungwi has many activities and caters to tourists.
Enjoy a day at one of Zanzibar's top beaches. You may spend all day in the water in Nungwi. At low tide, take a stroll along the shore and try to guess how many species of starfish you'll see.
MJ café, Mama Africa, and Kings restaurant on the main street are all great options for lunch. Take a sunset cruise or relax on the rooftop of a Z hotel
Nungwi is about an hour's boat ride away from Mnemba atoll. Privately owned and often regarded as Zanzibar's premier diving and snorkeling destination is the island of Mnemba. At least, that's what the rumor mill says.
On a snorkeling trip, I went to Mnemba and was underwhelmed. The tour boat drivers pursuing dolphins like it was a competition turned me off on the way there, and it was the first thing that bothered me during the trip. There must have been fifty other boats on Mnemba island. Dead corals and a dearth of fish were the norm. See 'corals' and fish for yourself if you haven't already. But if that's the only reason you're visiting, then you should probably look elsewhere.
&Beyond is the sole owner of Mnemba Island. Only guests sleeping on the island in one of the 12 opulent bungalows will have access to the island. The island can accommodate no more than 24 people at once. Plus two attendants each visitor. Some examples of famous people who have stayed here in the past include Mick Jagger, Naomi Campbell, Paul McCartney, Tom Cruise, and Bill Gates.
If you want to do scuba diving, leave yourself at least 24 hours to recover before your journey
Take a day to discover Nungwi and its surrounding area by visiting the Mnarani Marine Turtles Conservation Pond. You may visit with sea turtles, feed them, and even go for a swim with them in this educational refuge. The beach provides access to the sanctuary during low tide, but the local roads are the only option during high tide.
Enjoy a day at Nungwi beach or take the hour-long hike to Kendwa. Kendwa has a more relaxed, vacation vibe. Enjoy a day of peaceful swimming. In both Kendwa and Nungwi, there is much to keep you occupied. A massage, culinary class, people-watching, souvenir shopping, etc., are all options. Have a good time with some cocktails and tasty food.
It's easy to ignore the sun's intensity when you're strolling down the beach. Put on a cap and some sunscreen, and remember to stay hydrated.
You will leave Nungwi today and return to Stone Town. We will do some sight-seeing on Day 6 to make the most of your time and money spent getting there and back.
A trip to Zanzibar, sometimes known as Spice Island, would be incomplete without checking out a local spice farm and the infamous Prison Island.
A taxi ride from Nungwi to Stone Town can be had for as little as $50 and takes about an hour. Together with two other tourists, I split a taxi and payed $50 for two tours and transportation to old Stone town.
Breakfast time means saying farewell to Nungwi and returning to Stone Town. Visit the Spice farm on the way back down. Discover why Zanzibar is known as "Spice Island" by visiting a Spice Farm and exploring the many different spices grown there. Learn about the cultivation process and the medicinal properties of common spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. To put it simply, go for it.
After the Spice Tour, you'll make your way to Stone Town in time for lunch. You can have some lunch before heading to Prison island.
Get yourself to Prison Island (also known as Changuu Island) after lunch. You can reach it in 30 minutes by boat from Stone town. You'll find out why the island wasn't used as a prison but rather for quarantine in this section. A population of Aldabra giant tortoises can also be found on Prison island. They were shipped from Seychelles to Zanzibar.
This evening, dine at a top restaurant in town. Cape Town Fish Market Zanzibar had an incredible atmosphere, a beautiful sunset, and a wide variety of delicious fish and sushi, so I went there. The serving sizes were reasonable, and the meal was both fresh and tasty. The cost was justified by the high quality of their wine list. Dining at 6 degrees South is yet another fantastic choice. Seafood, excellent steaks, and authentic Swahili fare are all on the menu.
Take a day to wander the narrow alleys of Stone Town. The capital of Zanzibar is the city of Zanzibar, and its historic district is called Stone Town. This East African coastal trading village was recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000. Freddy Mercury, born Farrokh Bulsara, is the lead singer of Queen and was born in Stone Town.
In the morning, if your lodging doesn't provide breakfast, you should go to Stone Town Cafe. Its central location makes it convenient for access to the post office, a foreign exchange bureau, and the Freddy Mercury Museum. It's also not far from the souvenir-selling Memories shop. So much for haggling.
Take a stroll through Stone Town with a local guide after breakfast. Expect it to take about 2 hours and $20. This fantastic tour will take you to all of the city's top attractions, including the cathedral, Jews Corner, old slave market, Darajani market, harbor, and fort.
Don't forget that more than 99% of the population identifies as Muslim. Dress cautiously if you're visiting Stone Town. Cover your legs, keep your shoulders covered, and avoid revealing any skin.
In the afternoon, stop by the popular eatery Lukmaan's for a meal of authentic Zanzibari cuisine at reasonable costs. Another option is to visit the Emerson Spice Tea House's observation deck. You can overlook Prison Island and both the ancient and the new sections of Stone Town from the tea house's sweeping vantage point.
After you eat, continue your exploration of Stone Town's narrow streets. Take additional pictures of the renowned doors in Stone Town, or just chill out on the beach and watch the locals at work or on the soccer field.
Eat at the Forodhani Food Stalls tonight. Every day at 5 o'clock, this food market opens its doors to the public. You may have anything from Zanzibar pancakes to grilled corn and chicken to fresh fish here. Sugarcane juice and other juices are also available. Although I enjoyed myself, I think the costs are a bit steep for what you pay.
Zanzibar, as you will see, is a relatively compact island. Even if it just takes a few hours to cross the country, I prefer to spend the night before a flight in close proximity to the airport. Considering how unexpected life may be.
You can enjoy a leisurely breakfast at one of the restaurants before boarding your trip. Spend any remaining time souvenir shopping or taking one more stroll through the winding streets of Stone Town. Take a cab, dala dala, or tuk tuk to the airport when the time comes.
The evening departure time (which was rescheduled three times) was the only option for me. So after a hearty breakfast at Stone Town Cafe, I wandered through the winding streets of Stone Town and did some more shopping. Afterward, I rode a tuk tuk to the nearby Jungle Paradise Beach Resort & Spa, where I am a day guest today. I ate dinner, then took a boda boda to the terminal.