Zanzibar Holidays

Zanzibar is a great addition to a Tanzanian holiday. Of the Indian Ocean beach destinations, it is the most easily accessible, just a bit over one hour flying time from Kilimanjaro Airport (JRO) to Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (ZNZ). Flights are also available departing from the Serengeti. See more information on our Travel Tips article on this page.

What makes Zanzibar such a good destination?

Zanzibar has a rich history as a trading point where many varied cultures have mixed together. In addition to African culture, European, Indian, Arabic, and Persian cultures have heavily influenced the area. It is here that the Swahili language was born as a trading language. This was a hub for trading ivory, spices and slaves. Remnants of former slave markets are still found. The architecture is marvelous, especially famous are the ornate hand carved wooden doors. Cultural tours, spice plantation tours, and Jozani Forest tours are wonderful but it is the beaches and water activities that are the main draw. Some of the best white sand beaches in the world are found here. It is a great place to "do nothing at all". Or you can partake in aquatic activities such as dolphin swim tours, SCUBA/snorkeling, dhow cruises, deep sea fishing.

Destinations in Zanzibar

Nungwi/Kendwa -- Both located near each other at the northern tip of the island. In addition to the beautiful white sand beaches, there is very little tide activity (unlike the rest of the island) making is perfect for all day water activities. The area is filled with activities, jet skiing, para-gliding, SCUBA diving, and beach volleyball. There are many restaurants and bars with much late night activity. Located slightly on the west, sunsets are beautiful here.

Paje/Jambiani -- Beautiful beaches and a good destination for more solitude. Its location on the island makes a good launching spot for day trips and water activities.

Pongwe -- Protected by a coral reef the waters are calm and the beaches beautiful. This is a good snorkeling location. Some high end hotels are located in this area and it is a good place for solitude. Along with Paje this is a good place if you like beautiful sunrises.

Kizimkazi -- This area is the place to be if you like to swim with the dolphins. The difference in high and low tides is big in the area, giving you no beach at times and 100m of beach other times.

Stone Town -- Culturally, this is great. Interesting history and architecture, great restaurants, wonderful to explore the narrow winding alleyways. But it is also a bit dirty, noisy and expensive. The beaches here are not good (too many stones), but as a day trip a visit to nearby Prison Island will allow you some good beach time. There is one upscale hotel, Verde Hotel, building their own beach that looks promising otherwise it is best to plan only one night at this destination.

What we can do for you

We can book hotels, domestic flights, and arrange ground transportation. Day trips are best booked directly through the hotel once you are there. The exception being if you want to visit Cheetah's Rock. Cheetah's Rock is an animal rescue sanctuary located on the island that allows the animals a limited number of interaction with people. Tours for Cheetah's Rock are limited and should be booked well in advance. Our clients who have gone there have really enjoyed the experience. If you are interested you can visit their website http://cheetahsrock.org It is best that you book this yourself directly on-line. They will not need payment until the end of the tour.

If you would like our assistance planning your beach holiday, contact us through our inline form request info

Zanzibar Map

Zanzibar is made up of a few islands located in the Indian Ocean. The two major islands are Ugunja and Pemba. There is not an island actually named Zanzibar, but most people mistakenly refer to Unguja as Zanzibar. It is semi-autonomous from mainland Tanzania and has its own president.

For a map of Unguja ...

× Zanzibar (Unguja) Map

Travel Tips

Tips to give you the best experience on the island...

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Travel Tips

Most flights from Kilimanjaro Airport (JRO) leaving East Africa will make a stop in Dar es Salaam (DAR) before continuing out of the continent. It is very easy to get from ZNZ to DAR, just a 30 minute flight. The biggest domestic carriers are Precision Air and Air Tanzania but there are many small ones as well. Travel to Zanzibar is a domestic flight, so the baggage allowance is smaller than for your international flight. It is best to look carefully into the limitations. For your trip it is best to explore flight options into JRO and flying out of DAR or ZNZ (or vice verse depending on your itinerary). It is possible to take a ferry in between Dar es Salaam an Zanzibar but not really less expensive since the travel between DAR and the ferry port is not inexpensive. Similarly, traveling from Moshi to Dar es Salaam by bus then taking a ferry is not worth the bother. The bus ride is inexpensive (around $20 USD/person) but takes 10 hours and you would not be able to get a ferry the same day as arriving in Dar es Salaam. The bus terminal is far from the ferry port and an overnight in Dar es Salaam would be necessary. Dar es Salaam has very little interest for tourists.

We recommend a minimum of 3 nights stay for the trip to be worthwhile. You will not feel bored with even 2 weeks stay.

The religion of Zanzibar is 95% Muslim. The island is relatively tolerant of foreign culture. But away from the beach resorts, your attire and behavior should be respectful of their culture. This includes wearing clothing that covers both your shoulders to below the knees (both men & women). Visiting during the month of Ramadan is avoided unnecessary by many people. It can be a very good time to visit with some adjustments.

Ramadan requires Muslims to not consume any food or drink, including water, from sunrise to sunset. Beach resorts will still offer food and beverages and in Stone Town some restaurants will be ope for the sake of tourists. It would be polite as a guest to be considerate of those who are fasting by not eating or drinking in public. Carry water with you in a closed bag and drink it in areas where there are not many people, or inside if you can. After sunset the restaurants become popular for the Iftar (breaking of fast) meal. It is a great time to experience the local cuisine. During Ramadan, working without food or water is not easy. A bit of tolerance and understanding is appreciated if services are even slower than normally already slow service. The month of Ramadan ends with a huge celebration. This is a great time to go into Stone Town with your best dress for a feast. Especially recommended is Forodhani Gardens.

The dates for Ramadan for the upcoming years are:

YearStartEnd
2020 April 24 May 23
2021 April 13 May 12
2022 April 3 May 2
2023 March 23 April 21

Gladys Adventure

Trekking, Safaris, Clothing & Equipment Hire

P.O. Box 1420
Moshi, Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania

info@gladysadventure.com

+255 2727 50332
+255 787 111 881