Zanzibar’s many hidden treasures are yours to explore and our team are here to make sure we recommend an itinerary that suits your interests and needs! Whether it’s the spice farms or historic tours that take your fancy or the many wonderful water activities on our azure and white beaches, we will organise it all – tailor made is how we do it best!
Michamvi, Upendo’s “neighborhood” on the Southeast coast, boasts some of the most beautiful snorkeling and dive sites the island has to offer.
A short dhow boat trip brings you to the Blue Lagoon, which boasts crystal-clear waters and a vast array of delightful marine life. Follow this up with a trip to Starfish School – a visual paradise of hundreds of starfish of all sizes and colours littering the ocean floor.
Spices may not dominate the Zanzibar economy as they once did, but many active spice plantations still call the enchanting island home. Nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, ginger, vanilla, tamarind, menthol and cloves are just a few of the myriad locally-grown spices. At one time, Zanzibar produced three quarters of the total world supply of cloves. These precious and alluring spices called across the Indian Ocean to the sultans of Oman, who crossed the seas by dhow on the seasonal trade winds.
A friendly and knowledgeable guide will escort you on a walking spice tour where you will pick leaves, fruits, berries and more, guessing what each spice is by taste and smell. The spices are truly beautiful to behold, and rarely does the leaf or berry resemble what’s on your spice rack at home. Depending on the season, you may see, smell and sometimes taste between 25 and 50 different spices, fruits and other fragrant plants.
Your guide will offer detailed descriptions of each plant’s uses – not all are for food. Some are medicinal, still used today in modern homeopathic medicine, while others, such as the henna tree, produce a bright dye used on celebratory occasions to decorate women’s hands and feet with elaborate designs.
Changuu Island, commonly referred to as Prison Island, is just a 20 to 30 minute boat ride from Stone Town, Zanzibar. Arriving by boat, you’ll first see a rustic wooden bridge jutting out into the azure waters of the Indian Ocean, before your eye moves on to the island’s primary attractions: giant sea tortoises and evocative prison ruins.
Historically, Prison Island was first used by Arab slave merchants as a place to detain slaves, and in 1890 the British built what was intended as a prison for Stone Town. Although the building was never actually used as a prison, it later became a quarantine station for Zanzibar, Kenya, Uganda and what was then Tanganyika.
Walk five minutes across the island from the prison ruins to the giant tortoise sanctuary. Originally imported from the Seychelles in the late 19th century, these magnificent creatures are friendly; sometimes the tortoise keepers may even offer a child the opportunity to sit atop one of the gentle giants. Beware, it is not uncommon to catch a pair of tortoises copulating!
A small but beautiful coral reef circling the island is ideal for snorkeling (masks and fins are available to rent on-shore), and a stunning white sand beach offers optimal sunbathing. A small restaurant sells drinks and refreshments; the menu may be limited to fish, chips, and salad, but with fish this fresh, you don’t need anything else.
Take a walking tour through Stone Town’s fascinating history and present vibrant culture. This mystical town is the heart of Zanzibar. Constructed from coral stone during the 19th and 20th centuries, it was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2000. In this lively town, you’ll find a mixture of Arabic, African, Indian and European cultures existing comfortably together.
As you walk through a labyrinth of streets too narrow for cars to pass, you’ll see mosques, churches and temples rubbing shoulders. While you wander the city, your guide will take you on a historical and cultural journey through the old slave market, Darajani marketplace, the House of Wonders, the Old Fort and the Sultan’s Palace. While the tour is only half a day, we recommend you stay in Stone Town longer to discover so many more hidden jewels. Forodhani Gardens in particular is worth a visit – especially when it comes alive at night, morphing into one of the best street food markets in East Africa.
Much of Zanzibar’s natural forest has been lost to agriculture or construction, but the Jozani Forest, a protected reserve, is the largest conservation area in Zanzibar. Conveniently located in the centre of Zanzibar – about 24 km southeast of Stone Town – and 44 square kilometers large, the Jozani Forest covers approximately 3 percent of the Unguja island.
You’ll explore a large mangrove swamp and natural coral rag forest that is home to over 100 different trees and fauna, including the endangered red colobus monkey. With a population estimated at fewer than 2,000, the red colubus monkey is one of the rarest monkeys in Africa and can only be found on the main island of the Zanzibar archipelago. Sykes monkeys, bush babies, duikers, hyraxes, over 50 species of butterfly and 40 species of birds may make appearances, too!
Local residents operate tree nurseries and manage the reserve, acting as rangers and guides. From the visitors’ centre, you will follow a guided 45-minute nature trail into the awe-inspiring, peaceful forest. You may well even spot the elusive red colobus monkey.
Schools of bottle-nosed and humpback dolphins are waiting for you just a breezy boat ride away from Matemwe fishing village on the north east coast of the island. If you’re lucky, and the dolphins are feeling friendly, you may be able to swim up close with them – an unforgettable experience in one of the island’s protected, and most pristine, marine conservation areas.
In addition to its natural beauty the Mnemba Atoll offers stunning diving, snorkelling and designated deep sea fishing areas.