Zanzibar, the jewel of Tanzania and East Africa, is a tropical paradise island surrounded by the Indian Ocean’s turquoise water.
Zanzibar was supposed to be one the highlights of my Africa trip because it was one of the few places where I would’ve been able to chill out, enjoy, explore and party, but unfortunately this is where I got hit hard with a fever following my scorpion stings in Malawi, so I didn’t get to experience as much as I would’ve liked.
I immediately fell in love with Stone Town, which is the old city and cultural heart of Zanzibar. It has such a unique blend of Middle Eastern, Indian, and African traditions and architecture. It reminded me of the Middle East.
The best way to explore Stone Town is to get lost. Because it is a muslim area, it is respectful to cover your shoulders and knees. Stone Town is a great place to buy art from the local artists. And the art is cheap!
I highly recommend Lazuli, a cozy, modern cafe with delicious, fresh food, smoothies, and fresh vegetables (all of which I had been deprived of for the majority of my Africa trip and you likely will too).
Dreamer’s Island, a floating bar on the ocean, is a fun and unique place to go. If you go for “happy hour”, from 5-7pm, you get the boat ride there for free (but there are no drink specials). Or you can swim for free. It’s quite cool, but the drinks aren’t cheap.
The Spice Tour is a must! You get to go on a tour of a plantation and see how all the exotic fruits, nuts and spices grow. And you can try all kinds of tropical fruit, which was some of the best fruit I have ever had. The pineapple was so sweet and not acidic at all. I tried jackfruit, a huge fruit covered in spines, which tasted like a hybrid of banana and pineapple, with a non-juicy, rubbery texture like coconut.
Nungwi is a more beachy, party, relaxing, less muslim (and also more honeymoon-like) part of Zanzibar. Which was unfortunate because this is where I got a fever, so I didn’t get to experience or enjoy much of Nungwi. But apparently there is amazing snorkelling, scuba diving and full moon parties to be enjoyed here.
Need to know for visiting Zanzibar:
Zanzibar is not a cheap destination.
It’s very hot and humid in the summer.
There are no ATMs outside of Stone Town, so get cash before you leave for other parts of Zanzibar.
You can either fly to Zanzibar or take a three hour boat to Stone Town from Dar Es Salaam, on the mainland of Tanzania.
Bring your Yellow Fever certificate because Zanzibar is one of the few places that checks.
But most of all:
Which means “no worries”. Relax and enjoy 🙂