Being an island, many of activities are, understandably, 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 whole of the 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”.
These take place primarily at the south of the island. These can be booked by your hotel or direct with local operators. Hotels on the south coast have their own boats for dolphin trips. Unfortunately some excursion operators do not respect dolphnis, chasing with their boats, getting extremely close to the dolphins and encourging people to jump in the water – all things which should not be done.
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.
Canoe Safaris through Mangrove Forests from Zala Park
This is a small private reserve for the protection of indigenous and endangered species, offers canoe safaris through the mangroves. The park was developed with the objective of educating local children about preserving endangered species and the need for their preservation. The animal species are big pythons. Chameleons, geckos, tortoises, crabs, dik-dik (mini gazelle-like animals), striped lizards, monitor lizards and hyrax (looks like a rabbit without ears and is the closest living species to the elephant). The reserve is set amidst rich vegetation of trees such as orange, lime, grapefruit, nutmeg, banana, ginger, chillies, black pepper and cinnamon.
Known as “The Spice Island”, an incredibly wide range of spices are grown on Zanzibar. I have done a tour 3 times and learn something new each time. You can book a spice tour with our agent on the island either before your holiday, or direct with them on arrival.
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. You can book a Town Tour with our agent on the island either before your holiday, or direct with them on arrival. It lasts about 3 hours with some “retail therapy” along the way.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
These are well developed in the village of Jambiani on the south east coast.
Nungwi village at the north of the island and hotels on the south coast arrange tours of Kizimkazi village and Fumba village.