Top Things to do in Zanzibar
Top Things to do in Zanzibar: Zanzibar is an amazing place to visit with breathtaking attractions like a stone town with narrow streets, crystal waters, white-sand beaches, amazing wildlife, unique culture, spice farms among others which make it a must-visit destination in Tanzania. There are a number of things to do during your tour in Zanzibar including
Visit Jozani forest
Jozani forest is located in the southeastern part of the stone town and it’s the best place to spot the red colobus monkeys which are only found in Zanzibar. During the forest visit you will walk across the mangrove boardwalk, swamp forest where you will be able to view different bird species, animals like bush pigs, aders duiker, suni antelopes, elephant shrews, primates like red colobus monkeys, reptiles like snakes, lizards, chameleons, view mangrove trees in coastal water among others.
Visit the spice farm
Spice tour is one of the popular things to do while in Zanzibar because Zanzibar is famously known as the spice island because it’s one of the leading producers of spices in Africa such as cinnamon, nutmeg, clove among others. Spices were introduced to Zanzibar by the Portuguese traders in the 16th century, you will visit the spice farms with a tour guide who will be describing how the crops are grown, cultivated and also used. You will also smell and taste the spices, tropical fruits and herbs like turmeric, vanilla, coconut, papaya, chili, black pepper, jackfruits, oranges, cassava, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon among others. During the tour, you will have a stopover at the spice stall where fresh packaged spices and you can pay cash if you wish to buy some spices, oils or other products sold at the farm.
Sunset dhow cruise
Zanzibar is one of the destinations where you can cruise along blue waters in a traditional wooden boat. The dhow cruise starts at around 4:30 or 5:00 pm from Froddhani garden on the seafront of stone town and sail along the off shores of the historical coast with beautiful views of the sunset, dolphins in the water, views of the fishing villages, enjoy snacks, fruits, seafood, grilled fish and beverages on the boat among others.
This is an interesting activity that shouldn’t be missed during your tour in Zanzibar. Quad biking starts with a briefing about the expectations, rules and regulations to follow while riding and then start riding which takes about 4 hours. During quad biking you will be able to explore through the local villages in Zanzibar, farmlands, sugar cane and pineapple plantations, rice fields, the spice farms, view baobab trees, taste tropical fruits, visit the beach where you will interact with people, eat Italian pizza among others.
Zanzibar is one of the best places for snorkeling due to various beaches such as Mnemba Island, Kendwa reef, Tumbatu Island, Prison Island, and Stone town reef. Water around Zanzibar harbors more than 350 fish species and other marine wildlife that can be viewed during snorkeling activity where you will swim in cool water with a snorkel mask. During the exciting activity you will be able to view dolphins, turtles, parrotfish, clownfish, jellyfish, stingrays, squids, coral reefs, marine species such as zebrafish, sea stars, batfish, rare cute whip, ribbon eels, leaf fish among others.
Visit the Cheetah’s rock
Cheetah’s rock is an animal conservation centre in Zanzibar that gives you an opportunity to directly interact with animals. During your visit in cheetahs rock you will get an opportunity to know more about the wild animals, have a face to face and eye to eye contact with animals like striped hyenas through a fence, golden tiger, feed a white lion through a fence, feed a zebra, interact with turtles, cuddle with ring tailed lemurs among others which gives you unforgettable experiences.
Exploring the villages
This is an extraordinary activity in Zanzibar where you will be able to visit some villages like Nungwi and Jambiani which is the largest village. While exploring the villages you will be able to interact with the local people which gives you an opportunity to visit their houses, local shops, markets, schools, health centers, experience the rural life by visiting the farmlands, learn about their culture, dress code, way of living, taste their local foods, learn how to make craft items, visit the witchdoctor who uses herbs to cure different sicknesses among others.
This is an adventurous activity where you explore Zanzibar on a bicycle. During biking you will be accompanied by an experience guide who is well conversant with tracks to follow such as tracks that pass through the local markets where they sell different spices, ride to Jozani forest where you will view the red colobus monkeys, ride to the fishing village, Pemba island, stone town, along the streets and many other places.
Stone town walk
Stone town is the oldest town in Zanzibar with historical buildings, ancient spice markets, narrow streets and was established by the Arab slave and spice traders in the 19th century. Stone town has amazing attractions which can be viewed during the stone town walking tour with a knowledgeable guide. During the tour in stone town you will walk through the narrow, winding streets, see women dressed in beautifully attire, children playing football in the narrow streets, listen to early morning calls to prayer, go for shopping in the local markets, learn about the history of stone town, culture, its unique architecture, taste the local foods, visit the church, mosques, temples, tour the sultans palace, interact with the local people, have views of the house of wonders, old fort among others.
Attend Zanzibar festivals
Zanzibar holds various entertaining festivals such as Sauti za Busara which is a musical festival that takes place every year in Old fort, Stone town, Kilimanjaro marathon which is held every year and takes place at the foothills on mount Kilimanjaro, Karibu travel and tourism fair which is held annually in Arusha at the base of mount Kilimanjaro, Serengeti cultural festival which is the art and dance festival that is help annually in Serengeti national park, Zanzibar international film festival which is the largest art and film festival in east Africa that takes place every year at Old fort, Bagamoyo arts festival which is held annually in the coastal city of Bagamoyo, Swahili fashion week, Nyama choma festival, Zanzibar beach and water sports festival, Mwaka Kogwa festival among others.
Visit the beaches
Zanzibar has a number of beaches where visitors on a tour can go to spend time including Bwejuu beach, Nungwi beach, Michamvi beach, Kendwa Beach, Matemwe beach, Kizimkazi beach, Paje beach, Pongwe beach among others. The beaches are the perfect areas for relaxation, peace, privacy, sunbathe, enjoy the white sand, engage in exciting activities like swimming, snorkeling, diving, dhow cruise, enjoy food at the beach resorts, hotels or restaurants, enjoy great views of the sunset, dolphins, green turtles, whale sharks, trumpet fish, moray eels, starfish traditional dhow boats sailing among others.
Connect to Serengeti national park
From Zanzibar you can connect to Serengeti national park which is the oldest and most visited protected area in the northern part of Tanzania. The park is known for the great wildebeest migration where millions of wildebeest, gazelles, zebras and other antelopes cross the Grumeti River to Masai Mara in Kenya in search of green pasture. The national park also harbors wildlife including animals the big five mammals which are elephants, black rhinos, buffaloes, lions, leopards, other animals like giraffes, zebras, warthogs, waterbucks, bushbucks, bird species among others. Serengeti national park offers adventurous activities to visitors such as hot air balloon where you will have aerial views of the park, game drives, guided nature walks where you will get close and personal with wildlife, cultural tours where you will interact with the local people in the neighboring communities, bird watching where you will view different bird species among others.
How to get to Zanzibar
Zanzibar can be accessed by air transport whereby you can book international flights or a short hop flight from Arusha, Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar airport and upon arrival, you can hire a taxi to the hotel. You can also use boat whereby you will board a ferry that operates daily between Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar taking about 70 minutes.