The 10 excursions you absolutely must do in Zanzibar

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Joel Fulleda

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When we talk about Zanzibar we immediately think of the sea and beautiful white beaches, and indeed how to blame you? Zanzibar boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and it is no coincidence that it is the favorite destination for lovers of the sun, the sea and relaxation. A vacation on the largest island in Tanzania certainly is a journey to discover underwater nature, without forgetting, however, a city tour to immerse yourself in the local culture and an excursion to the only large forest on the island. Here are the 10 excursions you absolutely must do in Zanzibar!


  1. Travel informed: useful information
  2. Stone Town tour
  3. Zanzibar spice tour
  4. Prison Island, Bawe and Nakupenda Beach
  5. Dolphins tour to Kizimkazi
  6. Jozani Forest
  7. Mnemba Atoll
  8. Blue safari in Menai Bay and Kwale
  9. Nungwi and Kendwa
  10. Chumbe island
  11. Butterfly Center
  12. When to go: climate and best time
  13. User questions and comments
  14. Request a personalized quote

Travel informed: useful information

  • Inhabitants: 55.200.000
  • Languages: Kiswahili and English
  • Local currency: Tanzanian Shilling (€ 1,00 = 2450 TZS)
  • Weather: tropical, average temperatures 23/32 ° C
  • vaccinations: no compulsory vaccination for citizens of the European Union
  • Entry requirements: a passport with a residual validity of at least 6 months and an entry visa are required, both for tourism and business reasons, to be requested at the Embassy of Tanzania in Rome or at the Honorary Consulate in Milan. Those unable to apply for a visa in Italy can obtain it upon arrival in the country at the three international airports Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar. Flights to Zanzibar from € 452,18 -
  • 1 - Stone Town tour

    As soon as you arrive in Zanzibar, before starting all the natural excursions between islands, atolls, beaches and sea, do not miss a tour in the main city!

    The Stone Town tour is offered by each local agency and will take you there around the very narrow streets of the city to discover the majestic Arab palaces and in particular the Palazzo delle Meraviglie, the Arab Fort, the Angelicana Church and the birthplace of Freddy Mercury. You will also visit the famous central market where you can stop to buy handmade souvenirs and various spices and the ancient slave market. The tour ends with a drink on a terrace while admiring a fantastic sunset.

    This tour is suitable for anyone who wants discover the essence of Zanzibar and the life of the local people, generally lasts half a day but be prepared to walk a lot!

    • Cities / places concerned: Stone Town, Palace of Wonders, Arab Fort, Angelicana Church, Freddy Mercury House, central market
    • duration: half day
    • difficulties: easy
    • Average price: starting from € 30,00, Book online

    2 - Zanzibar spice tour

    Another interesting excursion to do in Zanzibar outside the sea and beaches is the spice tour. Zanzibar is referred to as the spice island and this tour aims to show you why and introduce you to the island's culinary riches.

    This tour takes place in the rural areas of Zanzibar where you will visit small local farms and their plantations, including vanilla, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, medicinal plants and tropical fruit. Moreover you will be explained the beneficial properties and how to use them in the kitchen and for therapeutic purposes, to then have a delicious Swahili meal with a Zanzibari family.

    This excursion also involves a lot of walking, but if you are passionate about local food, cuisine and traditions you will be willing to put in a little effort. Don't forget a good insect repellent and your camera!

    • Cities / places concerned: Stone Town and surroundings
    • duration: 4 hours
    • difficulties: easy
    • Average price: about € 40,00, book online

    3 - Prison Island, Bawe and Nakupenda Beach

    Here is the moment you've been waiting for: a visit to the beautiful beaches of Zanzibar. This is just the first of the many possible excursions that you can do in Zanzibar to discover its nature and wild environment.

    The tour departs from the port of Stone Town towards Prison Island, the island on which rebel slaves were locked up, where you will make a brief visit to the ancient prisons and then you will get to know more closely the colony of giant tortoises that inhabit this island. Soon after we move to Bawe Island where you will practice snorkeling immersed in turquoise waters to admire the coral reef, then head to Nakupenda Beach, a thin strip of sand on which you will consume your lunch and you can choose whether to continue snorkeling or simply enjoy the sea in absolute relaxation.

    It goes without saying that this excursion is suitable for everyone and in particular children will have a lot of fun getting to know the turtles and observing the colorful tropical fish.

    • Cities / places concerned: Prison Islan, Bawe, Nakupenda Beach
    • duration: whole day
    • difficulties: easy
    • Average price: starting from € 50,00

    4 - Dolphins tour to Kizimkazi

    After playing with the turtles, a morning in search of dolphins follows! This excursion takes place early in the morning. You will reach Kizimkazi Bay in the south of the island around 6:30 am. From there we leave with a small typical boat e we head off the coast to look carefully for dolphins. Once spotted you can dive in and bathe with them, to then be fished out of their boat and continue the search elsewhere.

    Surely an emotion to dive among the dolphins while they are free in their natural habitat, but unfortunately we must also specify that this type of excursion is an exhausting dolphin hunt, during which you will find many other boats that do the same thing and continue to pursue them far and wide insistently. The tour is therefore suitable for everyone and certainly interesting and exciting, but we must also evaluate the invasion and stress that is caused to these poor animals!

    • Cities / places concerned: Kizimkazi Bay
    • duration: 4 hours
    • difficulties: easy
    • Average price: starting from € 40,00

    5 - Jozani Forest

    Now let's move from the sea to another interesting natural environment of Zanzibar, the Jozani Forest, the only National Park on the island where another beautiful excursion cannot be missed, this time however to spot the red monkeys, an endemic species of Zanzibar. The forest is therefore very extensive the excursion includes a lot of walking, besides the fact that the monkeys do not live in captivity so it is not easy to spot them and you have to have the patience to look for them.

    While searching for these cute specimens you will venture into the wilderness and you will be able to observe different species of flora and fauna accompanied by an expert local ranger who will be able to explain everything to you. For this day equip yourself with comfortable shoes, insect repellent and a great desire to walk!

    • Cities / places concerned: Jozani Forest
    • duration: 5 hours
    • difficulties: average
    • Average price: starting from € 40,00
    • Recommended excursion: Panoramic tour: Jozani Park + Butterfly Center + ZALA Park

    6 - Mnemba Atoll

    Among the most popular excursions in Zanzibar is the one to the Mnemba Atoll, which is actually a 'private island owned by the luxury resort that is located inside and it is not possible to land there. In fact, the excursion will not make you visit the island but will take you in front of it, a few kilometers from its beaches, where you can dive and snorkel to admire a little more the seabed full of life and color.

    During low tide a strip of sand emerges in front of the island that usually does not exist, and in this period the excursion also includes a fish-based lunch in the midst of clear and crystalline waters. A tour suitable for everyone, but especially for those who want to discover the sea of ​​Zanzibar without too many pretensions!

    • Cities / places concerned: Mnemba
    • duration: half day
    • difficulties: easy
    • Average price: starting from € 40,00

    7 - Blue safari in Menai Bay and Kwale

    The blue safari is one of the most classic and most sought after excursions in Zanzibar. The tour starts at 8:00 in the morning to experience a day at sea a aboard a dhow, the typical Zanzibari boat, which will take you first to the Menai Bay, also famous for the passage of numerous dolphins, then to a long strip of white sand where you can relax or snorkel.

    Finally you will go to the island of Kwale where you will have a fish-based lunch and visit the great centuries-old baobab. On the way back there is a passage through a mangrove channel. In summary it is a relaxing day off the coast of Zanzibar, suitable for young and old, during which all you have to do is relax and enjoy the views!

    • Cities / places concerned: Menai Bay, Kwale Island, Secular Baobab
    • duration: whole day
    • difficulties: easy
    • Average price: starting from € 50,00

    8 - Nungwi and Kendwa

    A tour to discover the most remote areas of the island that ends with a visit to the far north. This excursion provides for the crossing in 4x4 of the areas that have not undergone the tourist development, mostly the central ones that have remained authentic and natural, where you go along dirt roads and you can see traditional villages consisting of mud houses and plantations of bananas, coconut and other tropical fruit.

    We stop to visit the shipyard of the dhows, the local boats, and then reach Nungwi where you go to visit the aquarium of the marine tartargues. Finally, the tour on Kendwa beach ends where you will sip an aperitif in front of a suggestive African sunset. On the last part, however, that of the aperitif, you should know that it is crowded with tourists who have chosen your same excursion with other agencies, but this is just a small detail because the proposed tour is really interesting, mixture of adventure, history, nature and African culture.

    • Cities / places concerned: Zanzibar hinterland, Nungwi, Kendwa, dhow yard, sea turtle aquarium
    • duration: whole day
    • difficulties: easy
    • Average price: starting from € 50,00, Book online

    9 - Chumbe Island

    Chumbe Island is a Marine Nature Reserve, private and unspoiled, consisting of lush vegetation and a coral reef that boasts many varieties of coral and fish.

    A tour in this wonderful reserve will take you to discover an authentic corner of paradise where you will come into close contact with nature, especially the submarine one! Obviously, the excursion can be done by anyone and includes relaxation and nature.

    • Cities / places concerned: Chumbe Island
    • duration: whole day
    • difficulties: easy
    • Average price: starting from € 40,00

    10 - Butterfly Center

    And to round off your discovery of Zanzibar, don't miss a tour to the Butterfly Center. A center entirely dedicated to butterflies that will leave you speechless with their bright and varied colors.

    During your tour, you will closely observe the life cycle of these colorful specimens, from the cocoons in the incubator to the butterflies that flutter around. An hour of your time will be enough. Especially interesting for families with children!

    • Cities / places concerned: Butterfly Center
    • duration: 1 now
    • difficulties: easy
    • Average price: starting from € 10,00
    • Recommended excursion: Panoramic tour: Jozani Park + Butterfly Center + ZALA Park

    When to go: climate and best time

    • Weather: in Zanzibar the climate is tropical, hot all year round but with two rainy seasons, one more intense with frequent and abundant rains and the other less intense with few and short rains. Nevertheless, the sun never fails and the amount of sunshine is good and intense in every period. There is also no need to worry about the sea temperature, in fact it remains constantly between 27 and 29 ° C.
    • Best time: from June to September to fully enjoy the sea and the sun, without having to worry about the arrival of rain.
    • Period to avoid: March, April and May are the months of the intense rainy season, during which, even if the temperature is high, it is not recommended to go to the beach.

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