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Zanzibar is an archipelago of historic Indian Ocean islands, awash with atmosphere, intrigue, and idyllic beach experiences. There is masses of choice for accommodation, with rates across the spectrum, and plenty to see, do and discover. As the birthplace of the Swahili, site of Sultans' Palaces and renowned for its spice plantations, the little island republic of Zanzibar features larger than life on the world map and is a must-see at the end of any trip to Tanzania.
There are some fabulous beaches on the islands of Zanzibar, and many choices for an ideal spot to sit back and watch the white dhow sails cruising the startling blue waters of the Indian Ocean. Whether it is for a Zanzibar honeymoon or some post-safari relaxation, whether you prefer the blissful privacy of a private island or the amenities of a larger hotel, dive or snorkel, eat or sleep, there are good options for all.
These are the sort of questions that we will be asking you, prior to booking your itinerary. It is quite possible to spend a little time at a couple of island locations, especially if you would like to visit Pemba, or other satellite islands. Certain lodges are better for completing PADI courses, kite-surfing, or fulfilling your gourmet desires. There are even a few kids clubs, relatively new to an island famous for romantic getaways!
Zanzibar HoneymoonsThe name of the island alone evokes the exotic, mysterious and romantic. Since our founding, we have been inundated with requests for a honeymoon involving Zanzibar and it is for good reason. Very few other parts of the world can lay claim to such beautiful beaches with such a vast array of accommodation all within a couple of hours of world class safari areas.
When we say that you can have whatever style of Zanzibar honeymoon you desire, we are not exaggerating. While the island’s larger hotels and resorts do not tend to be what honeymooners are after, the hundreds of smaller boutique lodges and hideaways are built for honeymoons and will all go that extra step to make your honeymoon special.
Zanzibar's Stone Town
Visitors to Zanzibar tend to arrive and leave via Stone Town, the island capital and an historic hub of commerce and culture. This ancient centre was the seat of the Sultans, whose crumbling palaces, bath houses and mosques are a legacy of this opulent and vibrant time at the heart of the gold trade.
The town has a very different commercial attitude today, and one that thrives on the growing tourist market. The labyrinthine streets are lined with traders selling everything from mass-produced art works to ancient wooden doors, from tie dye t-shirts to jewels. This old town remains a wonderful place to spend a night or two, getting lost among the elegant, ancient buildings, eating fresh fish on the sea front and breathing in the sights, sounds and smells of a truly Swahili centre.
The sights, smells and sounds of Stone Town fill the day and the balmy nights. The muezzins’ call to prayer echoes across the rooftops at the break of day, while cats, goats, dogs, roosters and babies often make themselves heard in between! A stay in Stone Town is always a wonderous assault on the senses, but a couple of nights are enough if you value peace and quiet a good sleep!
Off the shores of Zanzibar are many little islands making for a more secluded and remote beach experience away from the main attraction of Zanzibar. Some of these island are only accessible at certain times of the day according to tide levels and these smaller sandbanks and spits are excellent for sailing excursions and picnics. Then there are the permanent little ones like Mnemba and Chumbe.
For those looking for the very best and most secluded beach stay with flour-like beach sand and no one else around, there is the private island lodge of Mnemba Island, undoubtedly the top option for a Zanzibar honeymoon or indeed any Zanzibar trip. This tiny island is everything you can imagine of a remote windswept paradise and often voted one of the most romantic destinations on the planet. Alternatively there is Chumbe island which is a marine conservation island, with very little beach quality with a coral rock dominating the shoreline. Being so eco conscious the marine life around here and outstanding and the snorkelling is first rate. Chumbe should always be used in conjunction with another location that offers a good quality beach.
Also to the west of Stone town is Prison Island, also known as Chapwani. It is renowned for its lack of said prison. The main attraction are the monstrous tortoises that are well worth seeing. Close to Prison island is Bawe island which is lovely but, due to the rather overpriced accommodation and the fact that the view is of the main shipping lane to Stone Town, we do not really rate it.