Zanzibar is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, just off of the coast of the mainland Tanzania. It consists of many small islands and two large ones, namely Unguja and Pemba. Unguja – the main island, informally referred to as Zanzibar – is the largest and most popular island of the archipelago, while Pemba is more remote and less visited by tourists.
Zanzibar is the ideal destination for an exotic beach holiday, characterised by its magnificent white sand beaches, fringing coral reefs, warm turquoise ocean and rich cultural heritage. It is home to the renowned Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an intriguing old city of narrow, winding alleyways and stone coral buildings, full of atmosphere and immensely beautiful. The weather is near perfect all year round, with sunny summers and warm winters, and the locals are as friendly as they come.
Zanzibar has one of the most interesting and multi-cultural histories in Africa. Growing as a nation from an ancient trade-route between the Dark Continent and the mysterious lands of Arabia and Asia, Zanzibar boasts a fascinating mix of African and Muslim cultures. Hear the calls to prayer from ancient mosques while street vendors invite passing tourists into their colourful stalls, greeting them with a warm Swahili ‘Jambo, Karibu!’ (‘hello and welcome!’).
The accommodation available in Zanzibar is sublime. As one of the World’s most romantic and exotic destinations, Zanzibar offers accommodation that ranges from luxury beachfront resorts to exclusive boutique hotels and elegant beach lodges. The island also boasts a wide variety of exciting activities and excursions. Learn about the locally grown spices on a Spice Tour in Stone Town, cycle through a village to a hidden beach in Nungwi or glimpse the native red colobus monkey as you walk through the Jozani Forest.
With tropical fruit growing wild, spice markets and bazaars on every cobbled alleyway, palm-fringed white-sand coastlines and ancient dhow sailing boats gliding on clear waters, the island truly is an explorer’s paradise. Whether you want to immerse yourself in local island culture or resign yourself to complete relaxation on a stunning beach, or both, Zanzibar has it all.
Zanzibar is easily accessible from the travel hub Dar es Salaam, making it the ideal start or end to an authentic Tanzania safari experience. Combine a trip to Zanzibar with a safari in the Serengeti or Ngorongoro Crater, or simply explore all that the island has to offer on a stand-alone beach holiday. The island is also ideal for South African tourists as the new, low-cost airline FastJet offers affordable daily flights from Johannesburg to Zanzibar direct.
Browse our tried-and-tested holiday itineraries and our recommended Zanzibar accommodation, or simply contact one of our Zanzibar specialist consultants for assistance with planning the perfect holiday to Zanzibar.
1. Zanzibar is comprised of several islands, but two are the larger ones. Ugunja is the largest one and is erroneously called Zanzibar. The other is called Pemba.2. The island is home to the almost extinct Zanzibar Red Columbus Monkey, the Zanzibar Servaline Genet, and the Zanzibar Leopard.
3. Zanzibar has been home to intelligent humans (Homo sapiens) for more than 20,000 years.
4. The capital of Zanzibar is called Zanzibar City and its most historic feature is the ancient Stone Town.
5. Due to its proximity to Equator, Zanzibar is warm throughout the year and has equal day and nights (12-hours each) like most of the East African Countries.
6. Apart from tourism, the other economic activity in Zanzibar is spice growing. In fact, the island is sometimes fondly referred to as The Spice Island due to its cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper.
7. Some ancient potteries have been discovered in Zanzibar showing that it was a major trading route for the ancient Assyrians.
8. Amazingly, the shortest war ever recorded by man is the Anglo-Zanzibar War where the British bombarded the Beit al Hukum Palace and after 38 minutes, a ceasefire was called.
9. Thanks to Monsoon Winds, by the first century, Arabs, Persians and Indians were sailing to Zanzibar in their fast sailing dhows.
10. Throughout history, the Persians, Portuguese, Omani and British have fought to control the important island. It was seen as a gateway to mainland East Africa. In fact, the Sultanate of Omani was the first to trade slaves, cloves and ivory from East African Mainland.