Zanzibar: the best experiences you can have there

Do you feel like traveling to one of the most desired destinations in the Indian Ocean? Perfect because today on the IATI blog we bring you a selection of the best experiences you can live in Zanzibar. Spectacular beaches and atolls of white sand, hundreds of blues and greens staining the sea, resorts, seabed, endemic species…

Just remember that in Zanzibar everything works in pole-pole mode, or what is the same, little by little, so leave at home the rush and stress because we are heading to paradise. To a place where all problems are solved with a Hakuna Matata.

The best experiences you can have in Zanzibar

Getting to Zanzibar
20 minutes of flight, small planes of about 12 seats and an island that is half the size of Majorca at your feet. Undoubtedly, this short journey is the best business card of this African pearl stranded 36 kilometers off the coast of Tanzania.

Although the island can be reached from several international airports, most travelers take off from Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and fly over the ocean to reach Zanzibar. Another option is ferries departing from the port of Dar es Saalam. The fast ferries take about 2 hours and the slower, cheaper ferries take 4 hours. The official ticket offices are located in the Azam Marine-Coastal Fast Ferries building.

Enjoying life on dreamy beaches

Driving on rough roads has its reward: access to the stunning beaches of Zanzibar, for many, the best in Africa. The most beautiful are concentrated on the east coast. Large stretches of white sand protected by coral reefs and slender palm trees that run from Nungwi, one of the main tourist enclaves in the northern tip of the island where you can see how the dhows are built, to Jambiani, a beach famous for the incredible turquoise tones of its waters. Take note of these names: Kendwa, very close to Nungwi and where you can always swim; Pongwe, quiet and uncrowded; Matemwe, with its lively village and fine sand, and Paje, an ideal spot for kitesurfing. However, bear in mind that swimming in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean always depends on the tide.

Precisely in these beaches you can hire all the excursions that we are going to recommend and even modify them to your liking by negotiating with the staff. Another option to book them is to go to an agency.


Sailing aboard a dhow in Menai Bay


One of the most popular activities in Zanzibar is sailing in Menai Bay, a marine reserve located in the southwest, dotted with postcard sandbanks, mangroves and coral reefs. You will do it aboard a dhow, a sailing boat of Arab origin that once carried goods and today, basically, travelers with explorers’ souls. The travel plan: snorkeling, sunbathing on an uninhabited islet, anchoring for lunch -usually a barbecue buffet- and end up in love with this corner of Zanzibar protected since 1997. A tip? If the tide is low, you will have to walk to the boat, so don’t forget to bring a waterproof backpack and closed flip-flops.

Touring Stone Town in search of the soul of Zanzibar

It would be unforgivable to travel to Zanzibar without stopping in Stone Town, the old town of its capital. A fascinating labyrinth of narrow streets, declared a World Heritage Site, through which parade as many cultures wanted to conquer the island. Its famous wooden doors carved with large pieces of brass that were used to deter elephants, the Darajan market -where life goes on without tourism-, the old Omani fort, the Persian baths, its peeling coral stone houses, the lively gardens of Forodhani, the House of Wonders, the Anglican cathedral, the eerie cells of the old slave market that remind us that this island was once the main center of slave trade in Africa … You will soon discover that the homeland of Freddy Mercury is well worth leaving the dolce far niente beach for a few hours. A word of advice: try to avoid the papasi, the unofficial guides who will try to convince you to hire their services.From Stone Town you can take a boat to Prison Island. Its past as a slave prison and quarantine center for the sick is now history and today it is a natural reserve with giant tortoises brought from Seychelles at the end of the 19th century.

Walk through the Jozani forest to see the last red colobus.


You should not leave the island without visiting the Jozani forest because this national park is the only place in the world where the red colobus monkey, a species at serious risk of extinction, lives. There are an estimated 2,300 specimens, they are very confident and hardly flinch in the presence of tourists. Another attraction of Jozani is that it is the last remaining redoubt of tropical forest in Zanzibar. Of course, as it is very humid and usually very hot, it is plagued by mosquitoes so we recommend wearing pants and long-sleeved shirt, smear yourself well with repellent and -although there is a small cafeteria- carry water for hydration. You should also know that this is a guided tour of about 2 hours in which you will discover, among mangroves, huge mahogany and sycamore trees, the great ecological value of this area.

Eating or having a drink at The Rock


A brutal experience in a small luxury format. This is what you will experience if you book a table at The Rock, a small restaurant nestled on a rock that can only be reached by boat at high tide and that reigns in thousands of Instagram galleries. We will not deny that it is very touristy, but it eats well and just for its location, in front of Michanwi Pingwe beach and surrounded by the magic of the Indian Ocean, it is worth it.

Visit a spice plantation

In the 19th century, under the Omani sultanate, Zanzibar lived a golden age thanks to the trade of cloves and other spices. Today, although its weight in the national economy is much smaller, there are still plantations in the center of the island that you can visit by hiring an excursion. There you will learn about the culinary and therapeutic properties of spices such as the ubiquitous cloves, vanilla, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg or cardamom, and you will discover exotic tropical fruits that you probably do not know. It’s just a couple of hours so if you feel like it, you know.

Snorkeling or scuba diving in Mnemba Atoll


If diving is your thing, the seabed you are looking for is in the atoll of the tiny island of Mnemba, Zanzibar’s most famous marine protected area. Coral reefs, tuna, barracudas, colorful fish and even green turtles and dolphins. A perfect activity to discover that the underwater beauty of this island is as fascinating as the terrestrial one.

Collecting stunning sunsets


In the gardens of Forodhani, on a desert islet, lying in a hammock in a resort with a cocktail in your hand… No matter where you are. Zanzibar sunsets are some of the most beautiful you will ever see. The sun slowly descends, the sky is tinged with vivid reddish and orange tones, the sand turns golden… If you want to stop time so that Zanzibar sunsets are eternal, don’t worry, it has happened to all of us.

Travel insurance to Zanzibar

Zanzibar is waiting for you with natural wonders, a great gastronomy and a very interesting history. To enjoy this destination to the fullest it is essential that you take out travel insurance to Zanzibar to ensure you are protected against any mishap that may arise. The IATI Estrella is undoubtedly the best travel policy for Tazania. With a coverage of up to 500,000 euros, and for only 78’16€ for a two-week trip, it will become your best ally in case you need assistance. Remember that the price of medical services in Zanzibar have a very high price. Get your travel insurance for Zanzibar now: