Being a tropical island, the majority of activities are marine oriented. There are many other activities related to the history, culture and life on Zanzibar.
A word of warning, there are many “touts” in Stone Town and “beach boys” at beach locations offering a range of activities/excursions. Many are quite legitimate and sell excursions, etc. through licenced providers, however, some are less legitimate. This is common in holiday destinations throughout the world. You need to assess the legitimacy of people, and certainly do not part with any money before the excursion is complete – not even a deposit.
Some dive sites rank among the best on the African coast, some say among the best in the world. The prime dive sites are at the north of the island, particularly off the Mnemba Atoll and in the Pemba Channel. The south east coast is renown for drift dives and the south coast, relatively recently opened up for diving, is revealing many rewarding sites.
The ocean around the west coast of Pemba Island is reputed to be provide some of the best sites in the world. The waters, coral and marine life around Mafia Island, being a Marine Reserve, are pristine and far less visited. Please ensure you only dive with a dive centre accredited with an internationally known accrediting organisation such as PADI, or equivalent.
Due to the extreme rise and fall of tides on the islands, and East African Coast, snorkelling off the beach is limited. The most rewarding snorkelling is to go out with the dive boats beyond the reef which runs around the island, and it is these very reefs which provide for spectacular snorkelling. A day or 2 at Chumbe Island is a “must” for serious snorkellers.
is limited and provided only at some of the larger “resort” style hotels. However, many hotels arrange for guests to go sailing with local fisherman in their “ngalawas”.
We feel that a very satisfying excursion is provided by Safari Blue, a large operation but extremely well organised, full day including snorkelling and seafood lunch on an island. Be careful however, there are other operators using similar names such as Blue Safaris. Remember, dolphins are fickle mammals and sightings can not be guaranteed.
For day long dhow safaris off Town, sunset evening cruises, or sunset cruise with dinner at Mtoni Marine Centre best to book with the very reputable One Ocean Dive Centre.
Kite surfing has now become popular both on the south east coast and the north coast. Please let us know if you would like more information.
Our agent on Zanzibar also does spice tours and this works well during your transfer to/from the north or north east coast.
Visit the inner sanctums of Stone Town, the Persian Baths, the Portuguese Fort, the markets, the Slave Chambers and “whipping pole” on the site of the Anglican Cathedral, the house of Tip Tipu, the last slave merchant. Book with your hotel, or with our agent.
The museum at The House of Wonders (the former Sultans Ceremonial Palace and HQ of British administrators – they would choose the best location!) is a very worthwhile experience, well laid-out an very informative about the history and culture of Zanzibar. Allow at least 2 hours. Next door you can visit the Sultans Palace, now known as The Peoples Palace, crumbling a bit but kept as they left it in 1964. There is an Anthropological Museum near the Law Courts.
Book with your hotel, or it works well to stop at the forest on a transfer to/from hotels on the south east coast.
Mtoni Palace and Princess Salme
Princess Salme was the daughter of one of the Sultans of Oman (who ruled that country from Zanzibar), eloped with a German merchant, became Emily Ruete and published her memoirs “Memoirs of an Arabian Princess”.
Visit the remains of the palace where she lived, have a day long excursion with spice tour, attend an evening concert in the palace ruins. Stefanie and her team are doing a great job at restoring the palace.
See www.mtoni.com/palaceruins.html to see what is offered.
Contact Stefanie direct to find out more on email@example.com
Village Cultural Tours
Nungwi village at the north of the island and hotels on the south coast arrange tours of Kizimkazi village and Fumba village.
Zanzibar New Town
For the more intrepid, either walk, or hire a bicycle and visit the New Town of Zanzibar where the majority of the population of Zanzibar live. Here you will see the real Zanzibar as it is today. See the “dhukas” selling coconuts, cosmetics, car clutches, silk saris, samosas and safron oil. Roadside tailors, carpenters, metal workers and mechanics, among dozens more type of artisans ply their trade.