Zanzibar is an archipelago made up of Zanzibar and Pemba Islands, and several islets. It is located in the Indian Ocean, about 25 miles from the Tanzanian coast. It is characterised by beautiful sandy beaches with fringing coral reefs and the magic of historic Stone Town – said to be the only functioning ancient town in East Africa.
The beaches in Zanzibar are a paradise of brilliant white beaches lapped by the warm turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean provide the perfect place to relax, interspersed with picturesque fishing villages, where people live the simple way of life, unchanged over the years. There are more than 25 fantastic beaches in Zanzibar, and some are so peaceful and remote that the only noise breaking the silence is the ocean – the perfect honeymoon location.
All visitors require a valid passport and visa for the duration of their stay. Visas can be obtained from Tanzania Diplomatic Mission or alternatively at the entry points.
|Languages spoken||Kiswahili & English|
|Currency used||Tanzanian Shilling (Tsh)|
Stone Town: It may not have a particularly romantic name, but Stone Town is the old city and cultural heart of Zanzibar, little changed in the last 200 years. It is a place of winding alleys, bustling bazaars, mosques and grand Arab houses whose original owners vied with each other over the extravagance of their dwellings. This one-upmanship is particularly reflected in the brass-studded, carved, wooden doors – there are more than 500 different examples of this handiwork. You can spend many idle hours and days just wandering through the fascinating labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways.
Only a few kilometres from Stone Town are several islets such as Chumbe and Chapwani, where good accommodation is available. Bawe and Prison Islands are good for daytrips with excellent snorkelling available. Tumbatu Island, off the north-west coast of Unguja is one of the largest off-shore islands but has no facilities for tourists. Mnemba Island is located near the north-east coast featuring luxury accommodation. Although Mnemba is a private island, it is surrounded by a rich coral reef, which is great for scuba diving and snorkelling and is visited by several watersports centres in the area.
Pemba Island: Pemba is Zanzibar’s sister island. Despite many years of isolation from the outside world, Pemba is receiving a small but growing number of foreign visitors. The infrastructure much less than on Unguja, and there are far fewer tourists, but this is seen as a plus by many! Beautiful beaches, natural forests and outstanding diving are just some of the attractions on offer. Misali island, off Pemba’s east coast, is idyllic and excellent for diving.
Mafia Island: Mafia, another island in the sun and no relative of the mob, is actually governed by mainland Tanzania but is not far from the Zanzibar archipelago.