Top 10 Places to Visit in Zanzibar
Top 10 Places to Visit in Zanzibar: Zanzibar is the top adventure in Tanzania with eco-tourism destination with sandy beaches, breathtaking and rare wildlife species, crystal waters, rich culture, interesting history, conservation areas, blissful sunsets among others. Zanzibar has top interesting places that will give you unforgettable memories during your safari.
Top 10 places to visit in Zanzibar
Zala Park, Zala in full is the Zanzibar land animal park and it’s a small reserve that is situated in Muungoni village 5 km from Jozani Chwaka bay national park and 40km from Zanzibar town. The game reserve was founded as a project to help the local people in Tanzania appreciate wildlife. During the tour in Zanzibar, Zala park is one of the places to visit where you will be able to view different reptiles and hold some in your hands such as chameleons, striped lizards, dik-dik, tortoises, big pythons, geckos, crabs, monitor lizards, hyrax, view various trees, vegetation among others which gives you an opportunity to spend time and know more about the reptiles
Mnarani marine turtle conservation pond, this is a turtle sanctuary that protects the sea creatures from being hunted, the sanctuary was opened in 1993 and it’s located at the northern edge of Zanzibar Island in the village of Nungwi near the lighthouse. The pond was set up to rehabilitate and study marine turtles that are caught accidently by nets of fishermen and baby turtles that hatch from eggs which are discovered on the beach. During the visit in the Mnarani marine turtle conservation pond you will see different species and sizes of turtles and revenue earned is used to fund educational project for the local children who demonstrate the benefits of conservation of turtles.
Forodhani gardens food market, this in located in stone town and its one of the best places to visit during your tour in Zanzibar. The Forodhani gardens food market becomes active at night hence bringing together locals and tourists due to sea food with all sorts of fish like barracuda, octopus, crabs, squid, shrimps, prawns, lobsters and other foods like chicken Shawarma, chapatti bread, kebab, Zanzibar pizza, Nutella pizza, barbecue meat and a fresh sugarcane juice with lime and sugar. Forodhani gardens is a must visit destination in Zanzibar for sea food lovers.
Old fort, Old fort of Zanzibar is the oldest building in stone town situated next to the house of wonders facing the Forodhani gardens. Old fort is a stone built amphitheatre that hosts festivals and performances of local music and dance such as the Sauti za Busara, Zanzibar international film festivals among others. Old fort of Zanzibar also has a tourist information office, a selection of books for sale and a range of tour company leaflets, a gift shop, café and cultural art gallery where local artists create and display their work.
Mtoni Palace, Mtoni palace is the oldest palace in Zanzibar that was built between 1828 and 1834 for sultan said, located in the northern part of Maruhubi. Princess Salme the daughter of sultan said wrote a book about her life on Zanzibar which describes Mtoni palace that it had over 1000 people who were attached to sultans court and a large courtyard where gazelles, ostriches, flamingos, peacocks among others wandered around a large bath house at one side of the quarters and the other side sultan lived with his wife an Omani princess who was called Azze. The palace was abandoned in 1885 and left in ruins and today it’s only the main walls and parts of the roof that are left.
Zanzibar butterfly centre, this is the largest butterfly centre that is located at Pete village in Zanzibar close to Jozani forest. During the visit in the butterfly centre which takes about 30 to 40 minutes you will get an opportunity to view hundreds of butterflies in the tropical garden, experience butterflies feeding, learn about the life cycle of the caterpillars and their transformation, let the butterflies fly close to your hand, learn the importance of conservation among others. The Zanzibar butterfly centre is the largest centre in east Africa and it offers educational visits for school children, tourists, local people, butterfly farming which is done cooperation with around 40 farmers and conservation. Revenue earned from the Zanzibar butterfly centre is used to support the training of farmers, fund local projects like water tanks, wells, used as micro-loans to set up small businesses among others.
Prison Island, this is also known as the Changuu Island and it’s located about 30 minutes from Zanzibar Island. The island was never used as a prison but rather it was used by an Arab slave trader as a quarantine station to contain troublesome slaves that he had brought from the African mainland to prevent them from escaping before shipping them to the Arabian purchasers or auctioning them in the Zanzibar slave trade market. Presently the prison island is known for its incredible views of stone town, a beautiful beach, good place for snorkeling, a ruin and the giant tortoise.
Jambiani Beach, this is one of the beautiful beaches in Zanzibar with swaying palms, powdery white sand and with no rocks. the beach offers great views of the marine, an ideal place for kite surfing, swimming, sunbathing in the blue water, snorkeling in the ocean, view the sunset, eat different food types like sea food in one of the hotels and restaurants at a low cost, view women wearing colorful Hijab, boys playing soccer among others.
Cheetah’s rock, this is a conservation centre of wild animals on Zanzibar Island where people get a face to face interaction with animals. During the tour on cheetah’s rock you will have an opportunity to learn about different animals, their behaviors, habits and the importance of protecting and conserving the endangered species. While at cheetahs rock you will engage in a wildlife tour to view the rescued wild animals, take incredible pictures with them, feed some animals like zebras, lion, striped hyena through the fence, interact with turtles, golden tiger, play with ring tailed lemurs among others which give you fascinating experiences.
Kuza Cave, this is an ancient sacred cave in the jungle of Zanzibar with clear turquoise fresh water located in Jambiani area. The cave is characterized by underground rivers and it has a reception area with a restaurant where you can buy food and drinks and wildlife species such as red colobus monkeys, bush babies, butterflies, different bird species, enjoy swimming, see artifacts, know more about the Swahili history, relax and chill with professional musicians, learn about Swahili cooking, learn how to make fresh coconut milk curry among others.
Best time to visit Zanzibar
Zanzibar can be visited all year round though the best period is during the dry season in the months of June to October because during this period there is less rainfall, therefore, you will have great views of the clear sky, sunbathe on the beach, engage in swimming, snorkeling and diving. The dry season is also the best time for wildlife viewing in case you want to combine your Zanzibar tour with a safari to the national parks like Serengeti national park, Selous game reserve, Tarangire national park, Ruaha national park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area among others.
Where to stay in Zanzibar
There are a wide number of accommodations ranging from luxury, midrange and budget where you can stay during your tour in Zanzibar including Matemwe lodge, Matemwe Retreat lodge, Mnemba Island lodge, Che Che Vule, Private Villa, Matemwe Beach house, Ze Villa, Villa Turquoise, Matemwe Villa Loiki, Garden Beach Villa, Sevi Hotel Zanzibar, Kilindi Zanzibar, Gold Zanzibar Beach Resort, Zuri Zanzibar, Milele Villas, Essque Zalu Zanzibar, The Palms Lodge, Baraza Zanzibar Resort, Zawadi Hotel Zanzibar, Anna Zanzibar Hotel, Breezes Beach Club and Spa, Boutique Hotel Matlai, White Sand Luxury Villas, Sharazad Villa, Uzuri Villa, Hideaway of Nungwi, Star of the East, Myblue Hotel, Royal Zanzibar Beach Resort, Diamonds la Gemma Dellest, Sunset Kendwa, Amaan Bungalow, Mnarani Beach Cottages, The Z Hotel, Langi Langi Beach Bungalows among others.
How to get to Zanzibar
Zanzibar can be accessed by either road where it takes about 85 km, by air it takes about 20 minutes flight from Dar es Salaam, one hour from Arusha, and train where it takes about 2 hours from Dar es Salaam. (Top 10 Places to Visit in Zanzibar)