Article by Marta Pahino From the Passport Memorandum
This lush island, surrounded by aqua-blue waters and soft-sand beaches, has so much to offer: a capital city with an adverse and interesting history, numerous sprawling spice farms throughout the island, and an incredible variety of marine wildlife are just a few of the things that make Zanzibar so special.
Ok, so you’re considering visiting Zanzibar. What should you do while you’re there? Here are a few of the things we highly recommend.
What to do in Zanzibar, Tanzania
- Visit Stone Town: The vibrant capital of Stone Town is filled with narrow streets that all lead to various points of interest you’re going to want to check out. There are interesting, historically significant sites such as the Old Slave Market, the Anglican Church, the Sultan Palace, its protective fortress, the Darajani Market, and a favorite of many tourists, Freddy’s Mercury home (did you know he was born in Zanzibar?).
- Snorkeling (or scuba diving) at Mnemba Atoll: This is a perfect spot to explore the biodiversity of Zanzibar’s unique marine wildlife. Snorkeling through the private Mnemba Atoll will allow you to discover thousands of colorful fish, immense and vibrant corals, turtles, and if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see dolphins face-to-face.
- Check out Prison Island: This island, just in front of Stone Town, existed to imprison rebellious slaves in the 19th century. You can visit this island to learn more about its story and to see its popular giant tortoises.
- Explore one of the enormous spice farms: A spice farm is sure to awaken all of your senses. Take a walk around a spice farm to see, smell, taste, and even learn about all the different spices and fruits that you can find on the island (some local and some imported). The climate of the island allows for the spices and fruits to grow quickly, which is why the area ends up being an important place for the cultivation of spices. Discover the many uses of these plants on the farm (besides cooking) — whether it be medicinal, aesthetic, or otherwise. This is a must-do activity if you’re planning on visiting the island!
- Traverse the beautiful coastline: You’ll find that the east side of the island has many villages, including Mtamwe, Pingwe, and Kiwengwa, with expansive white-sand beaches that mostly uninhabited. For deeper sea levels and the most popular beaches, visit Nungwi. These beaches are adorned by the typical, wooden docked boats (called “Dhows”) as well as palm trees. Need to unplug? This is one of the best places to do so.
- See the coral reefs:On the east side of the island, when the tides are low, hundreds of meters of sea life remain relatively uncovered for a few hours while the tide stays behind the coral reef. This is a great opportunity to take an explorative walk through it and see all the amazing species that are hiding under the sea, such as sea urchins, large colorful starfish, or even the various corals themselves. Just look for the low tides and be sure to wear water shoes to protect your feet from the many sea urchins along the way.
- Discover Jozani Forest: If and when you visit Zanzibar, if you haven’t gone on safari yet (or you have, but you miss seeing the wild, beautiful animals on a daily basis), Jozani forest is a great option to consider. It’s a small national park in Zanzibar and is characterized by the Red colobus monkeys, or even the rare and difficult-to-spot Zanzibar Sykes’ monkey. You’ll also be fascinated by the towering trees that cover these forests and the variety of birds and butterflies that you’ll see flying around.
- Eat at The Rock Restaurant Zanzibar: How does a restaurant on top of a boulder in the middle of the Indian ocean sound? Located in Pingwe, on the east side of the island, you can find this dream restaurant come true.
Have we convinced you to visit Zanzibar yet? Leave any questions you might have about the island down below!