Activities & Things to do in Zanzibar
Zanzibar is full of beauty, life and history. There is so much to see and do we couldn’t possibly have a set itinerary for every option available. We encourage you to browse through the many destinations and tell us about your interests. Below we have outlined suggested day tour trip ideas, but also we can help you to create the best possible package to fit your interests, timeline and budget.
STONE TOWN TOUR
Historical Stone Town is the cultural center of Zanzibar
Stone Town is a recommendable stop for all who visit Zanzibar. It’s the cultural hub where you can find Everything. Historical information, international and local restaurants, shopping for everything you might want, and many high quality hotels for all budgets. Stone Town was constructed from coral stone during the 19th and 20th century. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. This has uplifted the face of the historical city remarkably, and still does.
A walking tour to the history and present of Stone Town
This atmospheric and mystical town is the cultural and historical heart of Zanzibar. It was constructed from coral stone during the 19th and 20th century. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 2000.
Stone Town is a very lively place where you’ll find a mixture of Arabic, African, Indian and European cultures living comfortably together. As you walk through the labyrinth of streets too narrow for cars to pass, you can see mosques, churches and temples side to side.
While you wonder around the city, your guide will take you on a historical and cultural journey through the old slave market, Darajani market place, the House of Wonders, the Old Fort and the Sultan’s Palace. Tour also includes a lunch in a restaurant or in a local house, if agreed beforehand.
While the tour is only half a day, we recommend you to stay in Stone Town for at least two days to discover many more magnificent wonders. Forodhani Gardens is definetely worth a visit, especially at night when it comes alive as one of the best street food markets in East Africa.
What to take with you: Good walking shoes, money if you want to do shopping.
Get familiar with spices, herbs and exotic fruits!
The Spice Tour is one of the most popular excursions in Zanzibar, the Spice Island. It got it’s nick name as a result of being one of the worlds’ most important producers of spices such as clove, nutmeg and cinnamon in the 19th century, after the abolition of the slave trade. However, spices and herbs were originally introduced to Zanzibar by Portuguese traders in the 16th century, brought from their colonies in South America and India.
This tour is a walking tour in a spice farm (shamba). While there, you shall see how the spices, herbs and fruits grow and are cultivated. Your tour guide will describe how the crops can be used. You will be smelling and tasting spices, herbs and tropical fruits such as clove, lemongrass, nutmeg, cinnamon, turmeric, vanilla, coconuts, papaya, chili, black pepper, jackfruit, cardamom, cassava and oranges.
After the tour you will enjoy a traditional swahili lunch at the farm. Here is when you can really taste the different ways of using spices.
On request we can also take you to an essential oil distillery where you can also create your own fragrance!
The tour finishes with a stop at a spice stall selling fresh packaged spices (cash only). The tour price already includes tips for farm workers, so you don’t need to worry about it.
What to take with you: Good walking shoes, cash if you wish to buy spices, oils and other products sold at the farm
Note: Combine with: On request a visit to Old Slave Chambers, afternoon at Mangapwani beach and a visit to Second World War bunkers can be arranged.
Visit schools, meet locals and walk in a seaweed farm!
This is a full day excursion in the village of Jambiani, where you will have the chance to experience rural Zanzibar life.
You will visit womens pottery and handicrafts group, sea weed farming, local school, local herbs doctor and a local clinic. Your village guide will take you to a lady who will show you the process of making rope from coconut fibre. You will stop for lunch at a local restaurant where you will taste authentic Zanzibari cuisine, seasoned with many spices and herbs.
There is also a possibility to visit a soap factory that uses the local seaweed as the main ingredient for their soaps. Colors of Zanzibar is contributing to the development by giving fair payments for the locals for their. You don’t need to give any donations, but you can have pocket money for helping the village clinic and schools, where you can also bring pens and pencils if you want.
What to take with you: Good walking shoes, cash if you want to buy handicrafts from the womens group.
Spend a relaxing day in Nungwi beach
Nungwi offers a wonderful combination of beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear waters; excellent restaurants and lively nightlife; magnificent snorkeling and scuba diving.
During the day, we will visit and discover how locals live their everyday lives and how they make their livelihoods. After that you will visit Mnarani Aquarium. This is a small tidal lake surrounded by the porous coral rag stone that is home to dozens of endangered hawksbill and green turtles. You will get to feed the turtles with seaweed and to take photographs. After that you’ll have a lunch in a local restaurant. You will also have a chance to visit dhow (local boat) makers by the beach and see how a local boat is built from the scratch.
Later on you will relax in the sun at a restaurant at the Nungwi beach untill the burnt orange rays of the sunset emerge over the ocean.
What to take with you: Good walking shoes, swim suite if you wish to swim.
What is included: Guide, entrance fee to the aquarium, lunch.
CAVES AND SHRINES
Prehistorical inhabitats and rituals still alive
Kuumbi, Machaga and Mwanampambe cave are caves found in the village of Jambiani, Pete and Makunduchi in the southern region of Unguja Island. The whole day should be reserved for this trip, but you can also include other activities, if you wish.
These caves are archaeological sites that include bones, stone tools, ceramics and many other cultural materials. There are cultural findings dating back to 10,000 BC or before. Caves of Zanzibar do not only contain findings of this neolithic period, but some of them provide findings dating back to about 30,000 years ago. Zanzibar caves are extensively decorated with lime stone formations. The animal life includes a large population of bats, fresh water birds and tropical birds. All of the caves have been used or are still used by people. Many of them still have ritual shrines for local villagers.
What to take with you: Good, preferably closed shoes that are not slippery. Torch can be a good idea, even thought we will also bring them from the company.
What is included: Guide, entrance fees, snacks and soft drinks.
WORLD WAR II
World War II bunkers, viewing tower and a slave chamber
30 minutes drive away from Stone Town in Mangapwani Village you can visit old bunkers of the World War II and a cave with healing waters. Before Mangapwani you will visit an old slave chamber that’s on the way. And the Mangapwani beach is amazing!
The bunkers were constructed by the British during the World War II in 1939-1945. They used them as a defensive military fortification. The bunkers were also sometimes used as hospitals to attend the wounded soldiers. Next to the bunkers there is a tower which was constructed at a strategic point to make it easy for the British soldiers to spot the enemy trying to approach the land from the sea. On the way to Mangapwani you will visit another historical site, the slave chambers. These are underground chambers that are known to have been used to keep slaves – there are many of which there is no reliable record of.
There is a possibility to spend some time for swimming at a beautiful and peaceful Mangapwani beach after the excursion.
What to take with you: Good walking shoes, swimming suite and a towel in case you want to swim.
What is included: Transfers, entrance fee, guides, snacks and water.
An old quarantine station, giant turtles and snorkeling
Join us on a half day trip to Prison Island. We will take a boat from the shores of Stone Town, setting down anchor 5 km away, on the beautiful beach of Prison Island. The prison – which is now owned by a hotel – was built in 1893 and was originally intended to house violent prisoners from the mainland and sick people.
You will get the opportunity to visit the tortoise sanctuary, which contains a large colony of giant tortoise imported from the Seychelles in the late 19th century. The average weight of these creatures is 200 kg, and many of them are said to be over 150 years old. There will be a chance to touch the tortoise and take photos. The island is also a home to a colony of beautiful peacocks.
For the rest of the trip you can either enjoy the marine life as you snorkel around the coral that fringes Prison Island or just relax under the warm glow of the sun, until you head back to Stone Town.
What to take with you: Swimming suite, towel, sunblock, snorkeling gear if you have one.
What is included: Boat, guide, entrance fee, water, snorkeling gear. You can have lunch in the islands’ restaurant but it’s not included in the price.
Fishing village, sand bank, snorkeling and beach life
A full day trip on a traditional dhow boat around the southern coastline of Zanzibar. This magical journey will take you on an exploration of the Indian Ocean from Fumba fishing village to the Menai Bay conservation area. There is a chance that you will see both Indo-Pacific humpback and bottlenose dolphins.
The dhow boats are hand-crafted in East African mahogany. They are well equipped with motor outboards, sunshades, boarding ladder and life jackets. In the sandbank you will snorkel, sunbath and swim. There are experienced snorkeling instructors who will show you the coral reef and tropical marine life. Instruction is available for beginners.
After snorkeling there are ice cold drinks, fresh coconut and local snacks. Later you will take the dhow to Kwale Island, where there will be barbeque buffet of fresh fish, lobster, calamari and fries with sauces, all served from a sizzling hot grill. For the rest of the afternoon, you can either relax and sunbath or swim in the natural lagoon surrounded by mangrove forests. We set sail back to Fumba with a traditional sail as the sunset begins to emerge.
What to take with you: Swimming suite, towel, sunblock, snorkeling gear if you have one.
What is included: Transportation, entrance fee, guide, snorkeling gear, snacks, water and the buffet.
Historical Sites in Zanzibar
- Old Anglican Church in Zanzibar
- Beit al-Ajaib – The House of Wonders Museum in Zanzibar
- Maruhubi Palace Ruins in Zanzibar
- The Arab Fort in Zanzibar Town
- Old Indian Dispensary in Zanzibar (Ithnashiri Dispensary)
- Kizimkazi Mosque in Zanzibar
- Mangapwani Slave Chamber in Zanzibar
- The Palace Museum in Zanzibar
- Kidichi Persian Baths in Zanzibar
- Livingstone House in Zanzibar
- St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Zanzibar