Cooled by Indian Ocean breezes and blessed with picture-perfect white beaches and crystal-clear waters, this cluster of tropical islands offers a fascinating mix of exotic culture and away-from-it-all adventure and downtime.
Situated just 25 kilometres from the Tanzanian mainland, the Zanzibar archipelago consists of a number of islands, including its largest: Unguja and Pemba. The capital, Zanzibar City (which is colloquially referred to as Zanzibar), is found on Unguja and is the tourism hub of the region, much loved for its magnificent waters, unique Indo-African culture and a heady history of spice and slave trade between Africa and the East. The slave trade days are thankfully long gone, but what remains is a fascinating picture – from the cobbled streets of old-world Stone Town to the spice-laden cuisine and the daily calls to prayer from the old mosques on the island.
A welcome contrast from the heat and dust of a safari, a Zanzibar holiday is a perfect opportunity to just breathe out and be. Days are spent snorkelling and exploring the coral reefs, indulging in water sports or chilling on the beach, cocktails in hand. Dhow day trips are a popular way to explore the coastline and nearby small islands, while a walking or cycling tour of Unguja – taking in a variety of cultural experiences – is equally fascinating and memorable. There are numerous all-inclusive packages, from budget to luxe, available at resorts or self-catering properties on the main and surrounding islands.
The comparatively smaller island of Pemba is known for its unspoilt surrounds, much slower pace and superb choice of luxury escapes – making it ideal for those looking for a chance to really relax in style. The waters and beaches here are magnificent, and snorkelling and scuba diving are superb. The lush forests are equally enthralling and give you a chance to really appreciate your unspoilt tropical surrounds. A mere 20-minutes’ flight from Unguja, Pemba is paradise found and a rare opportunity to drink in the slow life – East African style.
Things to do
• Guided bazaar & cultural tours
• Chumbe Island Coral Reserve day tour
• Emerson & Green Rooftop Bar
• Guided game-fishing adventures
• Guided PADI scuba diving excursions
• Guided snorkelling excursions
• Guided tours of Stone Town
• Surfing, windsurfing & kiteboarding
• Visit clove farms
• Visit the Old Fort (Zanzibar)
Zanzibar & Pemba