40 Amazing Things To See & Do in Zanzibar

Last updated October 2018Amazing Things To Do in Zanzibar

Zanzibar is one of my favourite places in the world. Everything about Zanzibar appeals to me, the history, the culture, the beaches, the activities, the flavoursome food – it’s all pretty amazing!

Zanzibar isn’t really the first place that springs to mind though when you think about backpacking or even for a 2-week holiday – but really it’s perfect for both. Plus, it’s damn beautiful.

I’m not the kind of gal who lies on the beach all day (have you seen my skin?) or neither am I the type to just go see a place. I want to experience it. I love to get an insight into everyday life, meet local people, get to the off the beaten path places, but also love doing the touristy stuff. Good things become touristy for a reason, right?

Zanzibar is the perfect place for immersive travel so it ticks all my boxes!

So with this list, I aim to give you some ideas of the best things to do on the magical island of Zanzibar.


40 Amazing Things To See & Do in Zanzibar


Stone Town Zanzibar

1) Watch Acrobatics and Capoeira on the Beach

Most evenings, just before sunset some of the local boys perform acrobatics and capoeira on the beach outside the Livingstone Beach Restaurant in Stone Town. The beach, whilst not idyllic like those out of the city, is usually busy with both locals and tourists enjoying the early evening light and splashing about in the water.

A crowd begins to form as these amazingly talented young superstars start back flipping and somersaulting all the way down to the water.

TOP TIP: Don’t be afraid to go over and have a chat – they’re really cool and friendly!


Stone Town, Zanzibar - Rock My Adventure

2) Do As the Locals Do and Shop at Darajani Market

For a truly awesome, immersive and sensorial shopping experience, head down to Darajani Market, the heartbeat of Stone Town.

Here you’ll find vendors selling all kinds of useful stuff – clothing, mobile phones, oil, plastic goods, cooking utensils, fresh bread, fruit and veg, meat and if you go early in the day, you you may catch the big fish auction.

Grab a samosa or chapati from a street food stall to keep your strength up as you wander round.

TOP TIP: If you take any pictures of people in the market (or most places in Zanzibar), please ask first or take very general street scene pictures as it’s not polite to take pictures of people without their permission and a lot don’t like it.


Forodhani Gardens, Stone Town, Zanzibar

3) Eat at a Zanzibar Pizza at Forodhani Gardens

Each evening, at Forodhani Gardens on the seafront of Stone Town, street vendors set up their stalls, selling seafood and meat kebabs, samosas, fruit, grilled maize, Zanzibar pizzas and sugar cane juice to tourists and locals alike.

In case you are wondering, “What the hell is a Zanzibar pizza?” – it’s that odd thing I’m eating in the picture above! It’s a thin pancake-style dough, filled with pretty much anything and everything. You can have sweet ones with bananas and chocolate sauce or savoury ones with meat. Mine was just onions, tomatoes, Happy Cow Cheese Triangles (?!?!?) and an egg!

You get given a cocktail stick to eat it with. It’s all a bit weird, and not sure if they’ll catch on outside of Zanzibar, but you know what? They’re pretty good!

Head over around sunset, have a walk around, grab some food and a glass of sugar cane juice, sit on the wall and just soak in the atmosphere.

TOP TIP: If you want to find the best place to eat, look to see where the locals are eating.


What to wear in Zanzibar4) Shop for Spices and Kitenge

Shopping isn’t really my thing… apart from when I’m travelling! I love all those little curio shops selling trinkets and Stone Town has plenty.

Buy paintings, jewellery, material, wooden carvings, Maasai bracelets, ‘sexy shoes’ (kind of like metal flip flops, that make you sexy apparently), Zanzibar chests and exotic spices. A lot of these shops sell the same mass produced stuff you find all over Africa, but you’ll find the odd cool item! Don’t forget to barter. Start low and then meet in the middle – it’s pretty fun when you get the hang of it!

TOP TIP: If you’re not bothered about fancy packaging, buy your spices from Darajani Market, rather than the tourist shops.


Stone Town, Zanzibar - Rock My Adventure

5) Take a Walking Tour of Stone Town

Some people arrive in Zanzibar and head straight to the beaches, however I strongly suggest you stay in Stone Town for at least a day or two. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Centre and one of the most interesting places I’ve ever been in my entire life. Seriously.

Whilst I’d say that taking a tour isn’t necessary and it’s absolutely fine to have a wander on your own, having a guide for a few hours will provide a great insight into the island (and save you from being lost in the labyrinth of alleyways… forever – just kidding).

I took a tour with a guy called Farid Hamid, who is a real character – I love him! He took us to most of the main sights in Stone Town including the House of Wonders, the Old Fort, Freddie Mercury’s House, St Joseph’s Cathedral, the Hamamni Persian Baths, Jaws Corner, the Abeid Curio Shop and the Zanzibar Cultural Arts Centre.

What I really love about Farid’s tours, was that he points out all the tiny details of the architecture, things that you would never notice on your own, explains a lot about the culture and the history of Zanzibar, the Omani sultans and Princess Salme, a feminist and rebel who wrote Memoirs of an Arabian Princess from Zanzibar. He also fills us in on all the local gossip! Did you know that there were once geisha in Zanzibar? Nope? Well you would if you took a tour with Farid!

You can contact Farid via WhatsApp using this number: +255777484734

If Farid isn’t available, you can find a number of walking tours here.


Emerson on Hurumzi, Zanzibar - Rock My Adventure6) Dine at a Rooftop Restaurant

Stone Town has some amazing rooftop restaurants, the perfect place to relax for the evening, enjoy the evening call to prayer and watch the sun as it sets over copper coloured rooftops.

I ate at the exquisite Tea House Restaurant on the top floor of the Emerson Spice Hotel. The restaurant is one of the best restaurants in East Africa. The 5-course menu changes daily, depending on what their fisherman catches that morning.

They also have a sister hotel and restaurant which is slightly more informal, but equally magical, called Emerson on Hurumzi, a few streets away.

TOP TIP: Book in advance, both restaurants gets very busy and are limited on space.


Slave Monument Zanzibar7) Learn About the Slave Trade

Zanzibar is described as a melting pot, with a blend of Arabic, African, Indian, European heritages, creating a unique cultural mix on the island, rarely seen elsewhere. One of the reasons for this is Zanzibar’s dark past and I think it’s important that people are aware of the atrocities that happened.

Zanzibar was a major trading hub for many things, including slaves. The slave trade was brutal, with hundreds of thousands of people being trafficked through Bagamoyo on the mainland (where I lived for a little while), to be sold in Zanzibar, then shipped to the the east or the west, with many passing through Liverpool in the UK, where I am from.

Pay your respects at the Slave Monument (above)and you can also visit the old Slave Market. You can go by yourself, or maybe include as part of a walking tour.

You can also visit the house of David Livingstone, an important figure in the abolition of the slave trade, who once called Zanzibar home.

You can either wander around yourself, or take a tour like this one.


8) Ride a Dala Dala

No trip to Zanzibar (or Tanzania) would be complete without a little ride on a dala dala mini bus. These tend to be packed, sweaty and with questionable safety records, but they are an experience and the cheapest way to get around the island.

TOP TIP: The best place to catch a dala dala in Stone Town in Darajani Market. You can pretty much get anywhere on the island from here.


Africa House Hotel - 40 Incredible Things To Do in Zanzibar

9) Drink Sundowners at the Africa House Hotel

If you’re looking for a nice spot to have sundowners in Stone Town, Africa House Hotel is a great place to do it.

The building was built by an Omani slave trader and later turned into an English Club, now it’s a hotel and bar. The decor of the hotel is a mix of Zanzibari and colonial style and whilst it’s not cheap, it has a lovely terrace that looks out over the ocean. You’ll see traditional dhows sail past as the sun slowly sets below the horizon.

Although beware. You may think you have a nice seat facing the sunset, but lots of people want photos and will stand in front of you and block your view, so it may not be the relaxing beautiful experience you imagined. So to get a better and uninhibited view, you may want to take a sunset cruise from Stone Town.

TOP TIP: Other great places to catch the sunset around the island are – Kendwa, Nungwi or any of the western/north western beaches. On the east coast, head to the west side of the Michamvi Peninsular, to Michamvi Beach. You can watch the sunset here overlooking Chwaka Bay.


Jambiani, Zanzibar - Rock My Adventure10) Go on a Village Tour

Whilst it’s fine to visit a lot of villages on the island, going on an organised tour with a guide is a good way to get an insight into daily life whilst contributing to the local economy. Jambiani on the east coast is a great village to visit and the people very welcoming.

You can visit the fishermen, local women’s groups, herbalist and seaweed farms. Many tours include a traditional Swahili lunch too.

Again, taking photos of people without their permission is really not the done thing in Zanzibar (hence why you don’t see a lot of people in my pictures) but on a tour you should be fine. If you go it alone, please, please, please ask before you take pictures of anyone in the villages.


Stone Town Doors

11) Admire the Doors

Zanzibar doors are something else. Whilst some doors and buildings are succumbing to ruin, there are still many of the original doors in tact, ornately decorated and have meanings behind them.

The most famous and photographed door is the one at Tippu Tip’s House (above), a Zanzibarian slave and ivory trader from the 18th century.


Sauti za Busara Festival, Zanzibar - Rock My Adventure

12) Go to a Festival

Zanzibar hosts 3 major festivals a year:

Sauti za Busara:  A music festival in Stone Town, featuring a number of awesome artists from all over Africa and the name means ‘Sounds of Wisdom’. The festival usually takes place in February. I went this year (2018) and it was a lot of fun!

The Zanzibar International Film Festival: East Africa’s largest film, music and arts festival. They showcase some of the best talent around and the theme of the festival for 2017  was ‘Finding Joy’ (I love that).

The Zanzibar Beach and Watersports Festival: This is a community led not for profit festival. They have watersports competitions, music and food stalls! Sounds delightful! The festival takes place in Jambiani usually in September.


Stone Town, Zanzibar - Rock My Adventure

13) Try the Local Food

Being an important trading hub on the old spice route between the east and west, the Zanzibari cuisine, is as you’d imagine, pretty amazing. Taking influences from all over the world, I’d go as far as to say, that the food in Zanzibar is my favourite in all of Africa!

There are tons of lovely food you can buy off the street including my favourites kashata, mishkaki and mango with chilli.

If you’re looking for a restaurant, that’s cheap, authentic but really, really tasty, go to Luukman or The Passing Show Hotel in Stone Town. Local foods include fried fish, chicken, curry, biriyani and pilau rice, as well as samosas and chapatis.

TOP TIP: Another honourable mention goes to Fisherman Local Restaurant in Kendwa. If you go out of Kendwa Rocks (the road side, not the beach side) and turn right, walk down the road, then this place is on your left. They the most AMAZING sweetcorn soup! We were all addicted to this stuff and it’s mega cheap!


Sunrise Zanzibar14) Watch the Sunrise

If you’re staying on the east coast of Zanzibar, it will be difficult to catch the sunset, for obvious reasons, however, you will be the lucky ones who get to experience the sunrise on the island. Believe me, dawn over the Indian Ocean is a truly magical time and you’ll often see fisherman out in the water.


Jaws Corner Stone Town

15) Drink Coffee at Jaws Corner

If you want to do as the locals do, head to Jaws Corner in Stone Town. A popular spot for people (men mostly) to gather, chat politics, current affairs and gossip whilst drinking black coffee with ginger from pretty little cups with no handles. We stopped here a while eating cassava chips, baobab fruit and mango with chilli and salt – surprisingly delicious.

TOP TIP: Wiggle your cup if you want a top up.


16) Let Yourself Be Pampered

When you’ve been travelling around Africa for a while, I can promise you that you and your body will need a little TLC. Your feet will be ruined, your skin will be dry from the heat and dust and those ‘African Massages’ (what they call it when you drive on VERY bumpy roads) are not very relaxing!

Many of the hotels around the island have spas, but one of the best places is the Mrembo Spa in Stone Town which offers lots of gorgeous treatments, including Singo, a srub traditionally used by Swahili women on their wedding day! It’s everything you would expect from a Zanzibari spa and it’s all organic too!


The Old Dispensary Stone Town

17) Visit the Old Dispensary

Opposite the ferry terminal in Stone Town, you’ll find the Old Dispensary, where once upon a time, as you’d imagine, dispensed medicines .

It’s one of the prettiest buildings in Zanzibar (so great for photography buffs) and inside has a pretty courtyard and a small museum about the history of the island.


Emerson on Hurumzi, Zanzibar - Rock My Adventure18) Learn to Cook Zanzibari Style

Food plays such a big part in daily life wherever you go in the world, so what better way to get an insight into the local culture? There are a few different classes on the island and some will even take you to the markets to buy the ingredients first like this one.

TOP TIP: It doesn’t have to be a formal lesson. I’ve had a few impromptu lessons from local friends I’ve made on the island which started with me buying a freshly caught fish at the beach then taking it round to their house. I bring the food, they teach me to cook it!


Call to Prayer Stone Town - 40 Incredible Things To Do in Zanzibar

19) Enjoy the Call to Prayer

I’ve heard the call to prayer in a number of places around the world, but there’s nowhere quite like Stone Town.

The melodic and mystical call automatically transports me to some other time, some other life. I don’t even mind when it wakes me up at 5.30am, it’s beautiful.

TOP TIP: If you don’t like to be woken early, bring ear plugs. Some hotels provide them, but not all.


Th Manta Resort Zanzibar

Credit: The Manta Resort

20) Take a Trip to Pemba Island and Sleep With the Fishes

If you’ve read my post on Stone Town, you’ll know that Zanzibar is actually made up of a few different islands, Pemba Island is one of them. It lies north of the main island Unguja, which is what people generally mean when they talk about Zanzibar.

This is where you’ll find the world famous Manta Resort. The one with the underwater room that shows up on every list of ‘10 Amazing Places to Stay Before You Die‘! Seriously – every list! How amazing would it be to stay here?

Ferries from Stone Town run on Wednesdays and Saturdays and do the return journey on Thursdays and Sundays. Flights depart daily.


Tanzania Tour for Solo Travellers

21) Go on Safari Blue

Safari Blue is known to be Zanzibar’s best boat trip!

You start in the small village of Fumba on the south coast, sailing on a traditional dhow to Menai Bay where dolphins you have the chance to see and swim with dolphins. Snorkelling is the order of the day and you have chance to explore the reefs. Lunch is a seafood buffet that includes fresh lobster, fish, calamari, chicken and veggie options served on a sandbank. Drinks are also included!

It’s a full day trip, so in the afternoon you sail to Kwale Island take a ride on a Ngalawa canoe, explore the mangroves, see an ancient baobab tree and relax on the beach beforesailing back to Zanzibar at sunset.

TOP TIP: It may be best to take this trip before you leave Stone Town, or whilst staying on the south coast, so you are not travelling back on yourself from the beaches. It’s around an hour and a half drive from Kendwa/Jambiani.


22) Take a Spice Tour

Zanzibar is called ‘The Spice Island’ due to the spices grown on the island. You’ll get to taste things like vanilla, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon as well as many others, used for cooking or in traditional medicines. Your guide will explain what the spices are used for and their unique properties. I swear, you’ll end up putting turmeric in EVERYTHING (like I now do – cures everything dontcha know)!

Pretty much every hotel or tour agent offers these trips. They can be a little touristy and before you know it you’ll be stood there wearing a palm leaf hat, that some dude made for you and then plonked on your head.

TOP TIP: If you want to do it a little differently, I recommend doing a spice tour with a Darajani market trip and a cooking lesson from Tangawezi Bistro in Stone Town. A lot more fun and great to see the spices through their full journey.


23) See the Red Colobus Monkeys in Jozani Forest

Jozani Forest, is home to the rare red colobus monkey. As you walk through the forest, you’ll get chance to see the monkeys up close and learn about the various plants and animals that call this place home.

TOP TIP: Again, these tours can be arranged through any hotel, but this is another trip best to take whilst staying in the southern part of the island.


24) Cycle the Island

Now this is on my bucket list. How cool would it be to cycle the circumference of the island?

Bike Zanzibar, led by Juma, is your one stop shop for cycling activities in Zanzibar. These guys offer day tours, cycling holidays (including women only trips), bike rental and tailor made trips.

TOP TIP: They also offer a spice tour by bike, which takes you to see the red colobus monkeys in Jozani Forest too. So if you are short on time (or just want to be really efficient) this could be a great combo!


Sunset Dhow Cruise in Zanzibar - 40 Incredible Things To Do in Zanzibar

25) Go on a Sunset Dhow Cruise

What better way to see the sunset, but from out on the water. These trip go one way or another. They’re either beautifully romantic or crazy party boats! Really depends on the crowd on board! I’d say the ones that depart from Stone Town or Nungwi tend to be a little tamer than the ones going from Kendwa, which caters for a lot of overlanders and backpackers (but don’t hold me to that)!

Sunset cruises can be booked from any hotel, most include drinks. If you’re on the east coast – don’t worry, you can still enjoy the sunset too. My absolute favourite sunset cruise on the island is the Free Spirit dhow which sets sail from Michanvi and takes you around Chwaka Bay (the only place on the east for sunset). You can arrange this through most hotels. Their boat is awesome and they are great people!


26) Go Deep Sea Fishing

Zanzibar is a mecca for deep sea fisherman!

With it’s position, far out in the Indian Ocean, the Zanzibar Archipelago attracts all kinds of weird, wonderful and big game fish, like barracuda, wahoo, kingfish (my favourite), yellowfin tuna, sailfish and marlin (blue, black and striped) to name but a few (all seasonal).

Spending a day on a boat, bobbing around in the middle of the ocean and trying to reel in some fish is not my idea of a fun time, in fact I’d probably spend the whole time puking over the side, but my other half loves it.


Snorkelling Indian Ocean

27) Scuba or Snorkel at the Mnemba Atoll

Take trip out to the Mnemba Atoll and go snorkelling or scuba diving in one of the most beautiful spots around. You’ll find an abundance of marine life and may even see some dolphins!

Scubafish Zanzibar, Zanzibar Watersports and Spanish Dancer Divers are highly recommended companies.


Zanzibar Kite Paradise

Credit: Zanzibar Kite Paradise

28) Go Kiteboarding

Did you know that Zanzibar is an AMAZING place for kite boarding? What did I say about those trade winds?

There are two winds that blow through Zanzibar, the Kusi Winds and the Kaskazi Winds. The Kusi blows in from the south-east from mid-June to mid-October and the the Kaskazi blows in from the north-east between December and April.

Paje on the east coast is probably the most popular place to stay and it attracts a cool crowd. Check out Zanzibar Kite Paradise or Kite Centre Zanzibar in Paje or Jambiani Kite Centre if you’re staying in Jambiani.


29) Go Surfing

Whilst we’re feeling active, why not try a little surfing?

Zanzibar isn’t known as a surfing destination and you won’t find many surfers there, but there are a few spots around the island! The only downside is that conditions aren’t always ideal, so timing is everything. There’s two surf schools I know of, Aquaholics and Surf Zanzibar. They’ll take you to the best places, at the best time. The season generally follows the same dates as the kite surfing season.

TOP TIP: The best places to stay for surfing are along the south east coast – Paje, Bwejuu, Jambiani and Dongwe.


Stand Up paddle Boarding Zanzibar - Rock My Adventure30) SUP Through the Mangroves

If you’ve ever tried stand up paddle boarding (SUP), you’ll know how much fun it is. Not as physically demanding as surfing or kite surfing, but still great for fitness and core strength.

Surf Zanzibar offer a few different SUP tours in a beautiful lagoons and through mangroves in Chwaka Bay. They also rent out boards and paddles if you want to do it yourself. After their tours you can enjoy a free drink on the terrace.


31) Go to the Full Moon Party at Kendwa Rocks

Every month (usually on a Saturday), the Kendwa Rocks hotel on the north of the island holds a Full Moon Party. Now, these aren’t nearly as crazy as the Full Moon Parties you’ll find in Haad Rin on Ko Pha Ngan (I’ve been to both) – there’s no glow paint and no drinking out of buckets – I definitely prefer this one. The normal Saturday nights are fun too!

The African beats are banging, the food is good and there’s always a great mix of travellers and locals enjoying the party. You’ll spend the night dancing bear foot in the sand, listening to reggae under the stars, watching leopard print clad dancers and fire twirlers doing their thing – I’ve even seen a bit of line dancing before. For those who want to chill, there’s fire pits where you can sit back, relax and watch everyone trying to twerk.

You can find dates here.

TOP TIP: Although they don’t seem to advertise it anywhere, I believe that Kendwa Rocks has a dorm from around $10 a night. I stayed in a double room when I was there, but friends of mine were in the fabled dorm.


Monday Night Jam at Red Monkey Lodge Zanzibar

The Monday Night Jam at Red Monkey Lodge.

32) Party Hop

Even when it’s not full moon, there’s always a party going on somewhere! On any given night, the bars in the beach resorts take turns in hosting the party of the night! Ask the guys at your hotel bar, they’re always in the know!

Aside from Kendwa Rocks, other popular places include Cholo’s and Coccobello in Nungwi and Red Monkey Lodge in Jambiani, Jambo Beach Bungalows  in Paje.

Red Monkey Lodge hold a Crazy Monday Jam Session every week – one not to be missed! Some of the hotels offer shuttles or they can organise you a taxi! Clubbing in Zanzibar is always fun!

Ladies – just watch out for the men. They are generally very harmless but very forward and persistent in Zanzibar (and Tanzania in general) and it can get annoying.


Yoga Zanzibar - Yoga Retreats, Classes and Teacher Training in Zanzibar

Credit: Yoga Zanzibar

33) Practice Yoga (and maybe learn some Argentinian Tango)

Like any self-respecting beachy paradise, Zanzibar has it’s fair share of yogi activities!

Yoga Zanzibar, based in beautiful Nungwi offers all kinds of amazing packages and classes – retreats, SUP yoga and teacher training courses and you can also combine the retreats with things like safari, diving and even tango dancing!


The Rock Restaurant, Zanzibar

 34) Eat Lunch at The Rock Restaurant

Head to the east of the island and you’ll find The Rock, just off Michanwi Pingwe beach. This restaurant is unusual, because it is literally built on a rock, in the Indian Ocean!

The setting is gorgeous, as you’d expect, and time it right and you can even get a boat out to it. I of course went when the tide was out and when it had been raining – but it did clear up towards the end of the afternoon. The food isn’t cheap but it’s a nice treat, the seafood is super fresh and it’s the setting that really is the appeal here! Plus, they have nice, cold wine! Go whilst it’s light so you can make the most of the setting! Book ahead as it does get busy and try and go when it’s high tide. It always looks prettier at high tide!


35) Learn a New Skill

Fancy creating your own beauty products, perhaps dying some batik or blending some spices? Then book in at a class at the Mrembo Spa. You could even turn your gorgeous new batik material into a dress!

They also offer lessons in music (drumming and other traditional Swahili instruments used in taarab music), dancing and tingatinga painting – a distinctive painting style you will see all over East Africa. These lessons support the Dhow Countries Music Academy, so they’re good for everyone!


Prison Island Zanzibar

36) Visit Prison Island (Changuu)

Changuu (Prison Island) is a former slave prison, just off the coast of Stone Town.

Today it is home to giant  aldabran tortoise’s, imported from the Seyshelles. You can feed the tortoises, enjoy the forest, sunbathe on the white sandy beach and get a great view of Stone Town.

Surrounding the island is a coral reef, good for snorkelling and the water is dotted with colourful starfish.


37) Go Horse Riding

There are a couple of places that offer horse riding on the beach and through the coconut plantations in Zanzibar!

I’ve only been horse riding a couple of times, along the banks of the Nile in Uganda and on the shores of Lake Malawi, which were amazing, so I can imagine riding along the beach and in the water at sunset in Zanzibar is just… wow!

Try the Sea Cliff Resort on the west coast, half way between Stone Town and Nungwi.


Karibu Zanzibar Ferry Port

38) Learn Some Kiswahili

Whilst a lot of people speak English, knowing a little bit of the local language goes a LONG, LONG way in Zanzibar (or any part of Tanzania). Just speaking a few greetings will get you a huge grin, a lot of respect and the response ‘Ah, you speak Swahili?”

The words I tend to use most often:

  • Mambo: How are things? (informal greeting)
  • Poa: I’m cool!
  • Habari or habari yako: How are you?
  • Habari gani: What news/how are you? (common greeting)
  • Nzuri sana: Very good!
  • Asante or asante sana: Thank you or thank you very much!
  • Karibu sana: You’re welcome.
  • Shikamoo: Respectful greetings (you would use this to someone older than you – children may use this towards you)
  • Marahaba: Thank you for your respectful greetings. (basically the reply to ‘shikamo’)
  • Tafadhali: Please (although people don’t really use please as much).
  • Hapana: No.
  • Hapana asante: No thank you! (great for use in curio shops and markets)
  • Ndiyo: Yes.
  • Maisha marefu: Long life/cheers!
  • Sawa: Ok.
  • Sasa: Now.
  • Pole pole: Slowly.
  • Pole or pole sana: Sorry or very sorry. (like if someone says they are ill you would say ‘pole sana’ to sympathize)
  • Samahani: Sorry. (to apologise – I am British remember, we apologise for everything)
  • Kwaheri: Goodbye.
  • Baadaye: See you later. 
  • Hakuna matata: No worries (for the rest of your days, it’s out problem free, philosophy…. hakuna matata) 
  • Kichizi kama nzizi: Crazy like a banana.
  • Kesho: Tomorrow.

39) Relax on the Beaches

After all these activities,  there’s only one thing left for you to do and that’s to unwind at the beaches, perhaps with a cold Kilimanjaro beer in hand.

Zanzibar has some world class beaches all over the island, so wherever you go, you’re sure to love it!  Here are a few of my faves:

Kendwa: Kendwa Rocks Full Moon Party, backpacker friendly, lots of activities on offer, sweetcorn soup, great for solo travellers, beautiful sunsets, calm water. Very chilled in the day time.

Nungwi: Nearby and similar to Kendwa, but slightly busier (there’s a big village here) and more all-inclusive type resorts, lots of travellers and things going on – although I think I prefer Kendwa beach over Nungwi Beach itself, but Nungwi village has more going on.

Matemwe: Very chilled, village life, unspoilt by tourism, close to Mnemba Atoll.

Chwaka: So, I’ve never been here, but my friend Germanus, who is Tanzanian and used to live in Zanzibar says this is the most beautiful beach. I hope to check it out later this year!

Michamvi: Only place for sunset in eastern Zanzibar, looks out over a beautiful bay, but quiet, maybe more for couples.

Bwejuu: Village life, gorgeous beach, quiet – but close to the likes of Paje and Jambiani for the nightlife.

Paje: Beautiful beach, kite surfing, backpacker friendly, great nightlife, great for solo travellers – although for obvious reasons it can be windy and sometimes there’s a lot of seaweed on the beach.

Jambiani: Similar to Paje, beautiful beach, great village, Red Monkey Lodge, watersports, nightlife.


40) Stay on a Private Island

Last but not least…

Feeling fancy? The book yourself the &Beyond luxury lodge on Mnemba Island, where the sand is brilliant white and the water crystal clear. Living the dream!

With prices starting from $1, 270 per person, per night, it’s certainly not cheap, but it is super luxurious and romantic. Bill Gates is a fan apparently. One for the bucket list!


Sundowners in Zanzibar

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Plan Your Trip to Zanzibar

Getting There: I always search for flights on Skyscanner. Zanzibar has an international airport called Abeid Amani Karume International Airport. You can either fly in and out of here or fly in to Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam and fly or get the ferry across.

Travel Insurance: This is Africa, so make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance that will cover you for all of the activities you want to do.I recommend World Nomads or Outbacker.

Resources: I’m a big fan of Lonely Planet guidebooks and usually travel with one wherever I go. However I also like the Bradt guides and they have a dedicated Zanzibar guide.

Tours: Don’t fancy going it alone? Join a small group tour and come on one of my Rock My Tanzania & Zanzibar Adventure tours.

What To Pack: See my comprehensive Africa Packing List.

Read More About Zanzibar: 

See all Zanzibar posts here.


I hope you have a fantastic trip to Zanzibar. If you have any other suggestions, please leave them in the comments below!

Rock My Adventure


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