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Zanzibar Holidays

Zanzibar is an archipelago of historic Indian Ocean islands, awash with atmosphere, intrigue, and idyllic beach experiences. There are masses of accommodation options across the price 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.

Where is Zanzibar?

Zanzibar is conveniently located on the shores of Tanzania and exceptionally well placed to bookend a safari of a lifetime. With so much on offer here accommodation and activity wise, Zanzibar has something for even the most selective of travellers. The vast and wild Selous Game Reserve is a mere 45 minute flight away... As you can see, with a Tanzania beach and safari holiday, nothing so luxurious could be easier... 

When to go to Zanzibar?

November: Short rains. Not advisable if wanting consistant sunshine, but good value. 
January - February: A good time to go. 
March: A bit hit and miss weather-wise, but a good time for hotels at a reduced rate. 
April - May: British summer time... Not advisable to travel in these months! Heave rains expected. 
June: A bit hit and miss weather-wise, but a good time for reduced rates. 
July - October: Prime Zanzibar travel season. Good weather & amazing nearby safaris (Seous & Ruaha

Is Zanzibar safe? 

The general answer is yes! However, as with anywhere, things can always change. Please see Government Foreign Travel Advice for up to date information and advice. 

What to do on a Zanzibar Holiday?

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 holiday, honeymoon or some post-safari  relaxation; whether you prefer the blissful privacy of a private island or the amenities of a larger hotel; and whatever your preferred activities (diving and snorkelling, eating, sleeping, playing tennis, reading on a lounger...), there are good options for every traveller. 

This is the sort of question 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! The name of the island alone evokes the exotic, mysterious and romantic. We get lots of requests for honeymoons involving Zanzibar and 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. Name any Indian Ocean activity and you name it, Zanzibar will have it. 
When we say that you can have whatever style of Zanzibar holiday you desire, we are not exaggerating.  While the island’s larger hotels and resorts are not usually best suited to honeymooners, there are hundreds of smaller boutique hideaways that are perfect for honeymoons and will go that extra step to make your honeymoon really special.

Stone Town Zanzibar

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. 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!  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.  A stay in Stone Town is always a wondrous assault on the senses, but a couple of nights are enough if you value peace and quiet a good sleep!  Nowadays there are a good number of Boutique hotels in Stone town - often recently renovated - such as 236 Hurumzi

Zanzibar Holidays - The Islands

Off the shores of Zanzibar are many little islands offering a more secluded and remote beach experience away from the main attraction of Zanzibar. Some of these islands 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 some permanent islands like Mnemba Island and Chumbe offering accommodation to travellers. 

For those looking for the very best and most private beach stay with floury sand and absolute seclusion, Mnemba Island is 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 Chumbe island is a marine conservation island, with a coral rock dominating the shoreline and therefore not much of a beach - however the marine life around here is outstanding and the snorkelling first rate. Chumbe should always be used in conjunction with another location that offers a good quality beach.

To the west of Stone Town is Prison Island (also known as Chapwani), which is renowned for its lack of said prison.  The main attraction here is the monstrous tortoises that are well worth a visit. Close to Prison island is Bawe island which is lovely, however the accommodation is rather overpriced  and view is of the main shipping lane to Stone Town, so we do not really rate it.

Zanzibar Hotels - Where to stay 

Zanzibar has a wide range of hotels to suit all budgets and interests. We have categorised these to Zanzibar Beach Hotels, and Zanzibar Stone Town Hotels. Please ring us or send us an email for more information on Zanzibar Holidays and to start planning the right trip for you. 

Zanzibar - Further Reading 

While we try and make our website as comprehensive as possible, if you would like some more background information, have a read through the Cadogan Guide to Tanzania and Zanzibar - Zanzibar Chapter, written by one of our directors Annabel. The most recent edition was published in 2005 so some of it might be slightly dated but generally it’s as comprehensive as they come. 

We don't just know Zanzibar!

For more information on Zanzibar, the best thing to do is to give us a ring for an impartial chat. We have also been experts in Tanzania safaris for over 20 years now, and this perfectly compliments a Zanzibar holiday so please do check out our safari page or just give us a call to discuss the huge world of safari possibilities! 
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Some of our favourite beach lodges

Some of our favourite Stone Town lodges

We have specialised in tailor-made Tanzania Holidays and Tanzania Safaris since 1998.  Our knowledge and experience will guarantee you the very best possible itinerary for your budget and travel dates, and your money is protected by our ATOL bond.



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