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Destinations | Zanzibar

"One of the great things about traveling in Africa is that you find out how many good, kind people there are."

~Edith Wharton~

ZANZIBAR is a widely popular post-Safari Destination combining with some of the stunning beaches in the world. Not only the beaches but Zanzibar has to offer some world heritage sites protected by UNESCO. Apart from this, the island offers iconic wildlife and adventurous water sports.

My favorite beaches are Nungwi and Kendwa, they are both on the north part of Zanzibar, which has crystal clear water with white sands. The northern beaches are where to stay in Zanzibar if you are looking for that idyllic Indian Ocean beach experience.

Zanzibar has more than 25 beaches, the 6 best are following:

  • Nungwi Beach - is located on the north of the island, this social hub has no shortage of resorts, hotels, restaurants, rooftop bars or water sports centers, and is home to the best sunset views. This beach offers soft white sand to walk miles on, turquoise blue water, safe swimming and breathtaking boat rides.

  • Paje Beach - is Tanzania's best kitesurfing beach, situated between the villages of Bwejuu and Jambiani. The atmosphere in Paje is much more laid-back than the touristy areas on the island. You'll find lots of local beachfront resorts where you can relax and unwind. Plus, there are lots of shops where you can pick up souvenirs and handmade items.

  • Kendwa Beach - is one of the dreamiest beaches of Zanzibar. Kendwa is just 3 km away from the Nungwi beach. This picture-perfect beach is a great place for spending some relaxing moments of your life. Explore the Rocks Beach Bar & Restaurant, which is a spectacular place for enjoying sunsets. Witnessing a sunset in African land is probably one of the best scenes to remember forever.

  • Jambiani Beach - has a beautiful 7km Long Beach with powdery white sand and hardly any rocks or sea-urchins. Jambiani is an ol fishing village on the southeast coast of Zanzibar. It is still authentic with only a few small lodges and guesthouses. Jambiani has a relaxing vibe with friendly local people who mix with tourists. This is a great place to get a good insight into the local way of life and everything is in walking distance. There are exiting activities, nice restaurants on the beach where you can eat delicious seafood but also other dishes.

  • Matemwe Beach - is the unspoiled beach with white sands and warm ocean waters in a quiet atmosphere. Swimming here is fantastic at high tide but at low tide, the beach turns into a desert full of coral flats. The village of Matemwe offers a dose of local cultural experiences.

  • Kiwengwa Beach - is often referred to as "Little Italy" because of its small Italian restaurants and resorts along the shore. Located on the North-East coast, the tides have a major influence on this beach. During low tide, the beach pulls back and paves the way for long walks to the reef, where you can find colorful starfish, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers.

Zanzibar is surrounded by some breathtaking islands such as:

Nakupenda Beach - also known as Nakupenda Island, this place is really unique, visitors can have lunch, swimming around and relaxing on a white sandy beach

Chumbe beach - is a dream destination for snorkelers, Chumbe Island in Zanzibar’s 1st marine sanctuary. The island is accessible only by boat. Take a boat ride in the tranquil blue water of the Indian Ocean and reach the island. Explore the lovely eco-lodge of the island. As its run by locals, gets a 100% authentic African hosting experience.

Bawe beach - just about in the size of a football pitch, Bawe beach is about 30 minutes boat ride from Stone Town. This tropical island is a private island that is breathtaking enough to make you fall in love with. Explore peace, tranquillity on this lush paradise.

Changuu beach - surrounded by the turquoise blue water of the Indian Ocean, the exquisite beach is one of the iconic places of Zanzibar. With coral reefs, tropical vegetation, and beautiful surroundings the island is one of the well-known spots of Zanzibar. The island is also known as the Prison Island and can be reached from Stone Town via boat. The prime attraction is the tortoise sanctuary of the island.

Mnemba - is a tiny and exclusive barefoot island about 20 minutes off to the northeast Zanzibar. The island offers boat ride opportunities; the excellent underwater world is waiting at the island with stunning snorkeling and the amazing turtles. Keep this unique, deserted and untouched island in your bucket list to explore while visiting Zanzibar.

Interesting facts about Zanzibar:

1. Zanzibar is the largest island of Tanzania and lies in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Tanzania. The estimated population of Zanzibar is 800,000.

2. It’s made up of 3 main islands (Unguja, Pemba and Mafia), plus a number of smaller islands. Unguja, the largest island is what most people talk about when they refer to Zanzibar.

3. The capital of Unguja is Zanzibar City, also called Stone Town and this is where you will find most of the tourists attractions and hotels. The Stone Town has an estimated population of 30,000.

4. Zanzibar is close to the equator, and it has a tropical monsoon climate. Characteristic for a monsoon climate are long, dry seasons alternating with short periods of rain. Zanzibar therefore has only two seasons: the dry and the rainy season.

5. The best time to visit Zanzibar is during the dry season from June to October. This also coincides with safari high season in Tanzania, making the Zanzibar Archipelago a very popular post-safari choice.

6. The official language spoken in Zanzibar is Swahili, known as Kiunguja, contains an even higher percentage of Arabic words thanks to the centuries-long contact of natives with Arabic language and culture. At most tourist areas, English, French and Italian, are spoken in Stone Town.

7. The official currency of Tanzania is Tanzanian Shilling, but US dollars and Euro are also widely accepted in tourist areas.

8. Stone Town is UNESCO World Heritage Site and the kind of place where you could spend all day wandering around.

9. Zanzibar is called "The Spice Island" due to the number of different spices grown there.

10. Zanzibar is famous as the birthplace of Queen frontman, Freddie Mercury.

11. Zanzibar is often described as a "cultural melting pot", because of different people who have settled here over the generations and who have left their footprints on this island, whether it be in architecture, customs, food, beliefs, religion.

12. In the 19th century, Stone town was one of the main hubs for the slave trade where men, women and children were forced into slavery on the mainland, tortured, shackled and auctioned off on the slave market and then shipped off to other locations around the world.

13. Nowadays, Zanzibar is a combination of the modern world with the traditional world (sailing boats, yachts and catamarans), surrounded with beautiful white sand beaches.

14. In Stone Town, there are lot of choices travelers can get for exploring the street foods including fresh seafood and local Swahili cuisine, which is possibly the best food in all of Africa. Expect fresh fish and food cooked with traditional spices and plenty of coconuts.

Delicious traditional food:

  • Zanzibar Pizza

Zanzibar Pizza hits the top of the list and one of the most spotted best street food of Zanzibar. You can have it anywhere in the streets to the local restaurants. The delicious pizza is somewhat different from the Dominos or Pizza Hut’s pizza we usually have. To make a Zanzibar pizza few basic things needful like flour salt, water, ghee, ground meat, eggs, sauces, veggies as you like, cream cheese, etc.

  • Urjo

Urjo is a soup and the more popular food known as ‘‘Zanzibar Mix’’. It is a quite popular dish in Tanzania and Zanzibar regions. The dish can find in the streets of Zanzibar easily. Originated from Indian recipes Urjo is a rich mashup of flavorful and spicy ingredients offering a delicious taste. The main ingredients of the soup are Bhajias, Mashed Potatoes, Red, grated raw mango, chilly, garlic, and Coconut Chutneys.

  • Coconut Bean Soup

Coconut Bean Soup is a creamy, spicy, and delicious soup served as the main course in Tanzania and Zanzibar. Using fresh cuisines like Cornmeal, millet, rice, cassava, plantains, goat, yogurt, beans, fish, and coconut the soup is one of the most popular soups of Zanzibar. The texture and test of this soup mostly resemble Bahia soups and stew which is a common dish on the Brazilian coast.

  • Ugali

Ugali is the best Traditional food choice between Tanzania and Zanzibar people. The dish normally prepared at almost every home in Zanzibar and can be eaten in breakfast or lunch or at dinner. Ugali is usually served to accompany meat or vegetable stews, greens or soured milk. It is made with very basic ingredients like water, salt, White cornmeal, and butter. The dish can be found anywhere in Tanzania and Zanzibar.

  • Zanzibar Biryani & Pilau

Believed to be originated in the Indian subcontinent Biriyani & Pilau are rice dishes that are cooked with many spices. Mostly the spices used in the dish are nutmeg, cloves, pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, and coriander. The only difference between the 2 dishes is Biriyani is cooked with meat while Pilau is made with spices and veggies.

  • Octopus and fried cassava

Zanzibar is one of the best corners of the world that offers fresh and delicious sea-food. Bite-size soft octopus and chunks of cassava are fried and served together. Mostly it is eaten with chili tomato sauce or you may try it only sprinkling salt over it.

  • Mishkaki

Mishkaki is another delicious food of Zanzibar, which can find anywhere in the streets more essentially in small villages and stone town, It’s a BBQ recipe. The recipe is made out of various meats like Cow, chicken, liver, or more rarely fish marinated in various spices.

  • Wali Na Maharage

Wali Na Maharage can be found in various places in both Zanzibar and Tanzania and it is a good choice among vegan people. Also, the dish contains no meats or fish. It has a touch of an Indian recipe. The rice and red beans cooked using various spices are basically providing the details about the dish preparation.

  • Vitumbua

A well-known dish in Zanzibar, Vitumbua is one of the most appreciated dishes between the locals. The dish normally prepared with rice flour, plain flour, sugar, yeast, cardamom, and coconut powder. It mostly served warm with tea.

  • Mandazi

Mandazi or the East African Donuts are another must-taste food on our list. It is a type of fried bread that originated on the Swahili Coast. While it is a snack by itself, it also can eat with any other dishes of Zanzibar or using various dips. Using coconut milk, peanuts, almonds, sugar, flour, and yeast is commonly a dish that comes with a circular or triangle shape.

The combination of the world-class new hotels with the traditional restaurants gives vast opportunities for the night life lovers to explore. This hypnotizing island blends with beauty and the finest accommodations that offer world-class services to travelers. There are many lodges available that are fitted to every pocket.

Some recommended beach hotels in Zanzibar:

Apart from the delicious food in Zanzibar, it has to offer some of the iconic hotels to stay. Here is a list of a few worlds’ most iconic hotels:

  • Hyatt Hotel

  • Elewana Kilindi Zanzibar

  • The Z hotel

  • Tulia Zanzibar

  • Ocean Paradise Resort & Spa

  • Melia Zanzibar

  • Nungwi Dreams

  • The Palms Zanzibar

  • Zuri

  • Sharazad Boutique Hotel & Spa

Some recommended hotels with Swahili architecture and a traditional cuisine in Stone town:

  • Emerson Spice Hotel

  • Emerson Hurumz Hotel

  • Dhow Palace Hotel

  • Tembo House Hotel

  • Mizingani Seafront Hotel

  • Jafferji House & Spa

  • Zanzibar Coffee House


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