Zanzibar is an archipelago that sits just a short while from the coast of Tanzania. It’s charm and allure comes from its pristine beaches – complete with white sands and glassy turquoise waters, vibrant history of spices and the 19th century slave trade and charming colonial towns such as the capital Stone Town.
Zanzibar’s beaches are paradise like and still to this day it’s possible to venture further from the more touristic areas to find idyllic beaches of pure white sands, the most intoxicating crystal-clear blue waters and the lushest of forests – there are few things better in life than walking through a thick and scented forest only to break through the tree line on a breathtakingly romantic white sand beach.
The main islands in Zanzibar are Zanzibar Island and Pemba Island but there are plenty of smaller islands to explore too.
Time difference: GMT +3 Hours
Flight time: Approx 12 hours
Visa Required: British passport holders are required to obtain a Visa to enter Tanzania.
Currency: Tanzanian shilling (TZS)
Population: 1.304 million (approx)
Official Language: Kiswahili, English, Arabic
Recommended Airlines: Kenya Airways
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We suggest that you start your adventure in Zanzibar in the capital – Stone Town – and make this your base. From here it is easy to access all parts of the island and it’s also the most built up town – making it ideal for supplies and restaurants. If you’re heading to Zanzibar after a safari in Kenya or zania – then you’ll find plenty of places to relax – we suggest doing a little island hopping to find your perfect slice of paradise, as there are so many rustic and almost untouched beaches…if only you look for them. Be sure to take part in at least one spice tour as not only is it fascinating – especially seeing one of the few places that saffron is farmed, but it also helps local producers. If the sun and sand begins to wear thin – you can always head into the forest – and if you’re a wildlife lover – then we really think you should if only to get a glimpse at the Red Colobus Monkeys or the striking Fischer’s Turaco bird which is green with deep red patches on its head, beak and eyes. Those who stay by the beach can go dolphin watching instead or don the scuba gear and explore Zanzibar’s beautiful barrier reef.
Zanzibar has an eclectic cultural calendar of festivals and music events but our favourite os the Zanzibar Cultural Festival, which takes place annually towards the end of July around Stone Town. The festival is marked with intriguing traditional customs, traditional dances, street carnivals, fairs and raditional taarab music. Other honourable mentions include the Sauti za Busara music festival and the Mwaka Kogwa Shirazi New Year festival, which is best witnessed on the south of Unguja (Zanzibar island).