Zanzibar Island Detailed Program
Getting to Zanzibar
Presently Gulf Air, Ethiopian Airlines, Air Mauritius and KLM (together with Kenya Airways) offer international scheduled flights to Zanzibar.
Dar Es Salaam is also served by British Airways, Emirates Airlines, South African Airways. Air Tanzania, Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines as well as Air Zimbabwe, Egypt Air, Air India, Air Malawi, Swiss (via Nairobi) and others. Dar Es Salaam is only a short trip by sea or by air from Zanzibar and there are regular scheduled flights, small charters and fast boats.
Italy and Spain have direct cheap and affordable charter flights to Zanzibar. There are particularly frequent rapid direct flights from Italy, both from Milan Malpensa and from Rome Fiumicino. Both these airports are well connected to other cities in Europe by charter and scheduled airlines and may offer a viable alternative to scheduled flights with stopovers.
As concerns domestic flights between Tanzania's main cities and Zanzibar, Coastal Aviation, Precision Air and other local Companies offer a range of scheduled flights to and from the island. Either speak to your local travel agent or ask us for advice.
Things to do and see
There is no shortage of things to do on vacation in Zanzibar should you get tired of just soaking up the sun. The following are some ideas amongst the many activities available:
Stone Town, Zanzibar's capital, is what makes the island so different from a thousand other tropical isles. Behind its elegant waterfront, it is a place of winding alleys, bustling bazaars, mosques and grand Arab houses whose original owners fought with each other over the extravagance of their dwellings. One of the most characteristic aspects of these ancient mansions is the brass-studded, carved, wooden doors - there are more than 500 different examples of this handiwork.
The vivid colours and perfumes and smells of Stone Town both pleasant and unpleasant leave a strong impact on the visitor. The senses are heightened and the impact is sometimes overwhelming. You either love Stone Town or you hate it, fortunately most fall in love with the town and never forget it.
The following excursions can all be organized from Stone Town either by your hotel or through a local travel agent.
The history of Zanzibar would be incomplete without the cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper and many other spices, which brought the Sultans of Oman and the beginnings of the infamous slave trade. They can be seen in the plantations just outside Stone Town: a good spice tour includes opportunities to dazzle the senses with fresh spices and a detailed description about the variety of spices and their uses in cooking and cosmetics. Unfortunately with the exception of Salome's Garden none of the old plantation and country houses have survived but the experience is nonetheless not to be missed.
About one hour South of Stone Town is the little village and beautiful beach of Kizimkazi. The local fishermen have organized themselves to take visitors on trips to see the dolphins. Sightings are almost guaranteed and it is not uncommon to be able to swim amongst them.
Jozani forest once stretched over large area of the centre of Zanzibar. It is now seriously reduced in size but is now a natural park and protection is improving. The park is home to an endemic species of Colobus Monkey as well as Sykes Monkey. Nature trails have been set up and a visit to the forest is well worthwhile for those who enjoy wildlife.
Some 15 miles North of Stone Town is the beautiful beach of Mangapwani This beach is surrounded by flamboyant trees and is a beautiful spot for bathing.There is also a restaurant at Mangapwani owned by the Serena Inn - bookings can be made directly from the Serena in Stone Town.
The Palaces and Persian baths North of Stone Town
A day trip to Mangapwani beach can be enhanced by a stop over at the ruins of the various Sultans Palaces along the coast. The closest is Maruhubi Palace. This impressive palace built for Sultan Barghash at the end of the 19th Century was destroyed by fire at the turn in 1899. There are interesting remains of the bathing areas. Mtoni Palace was built at the beginning of the 19th Century for Sultan Said. This was a massive complex and was the house where Princess Salme was born. Only the main central structure remains relatively intact and provides an idea of how impressive the Palace once must have been. Beit el Ras Palace is still further up the North Road out of Zanzibar near the teacher training School. This palace was constructed by Sultan Said but is now in a sad state of repairs. To reach the Persian Baths, simply turn left off the main North Road at Bububu and travel for a few Kilometres until you see the baths on your right. The baths are still relatively intact and interesting for a short visit.
There are many other excellent snorkelling sites around Zanzibar and if you are travelling around the island you should carry a mask and snorkel with you.
Zanzibar diving excursion
Zanzibar is an outstanding destination for both deep sea fishing and diving and we have selected several lodges, which are among the world's very best.
The maximum diving depth is 25m with average depth of approximately 14 m. The average water temperature is 27 C (72 F) and water visibility is between 10/20 m.
Zanzibar diving near Stone Town excursion
There is good diving off Stone Town. This is excellent for beginners and intermediate divers who wish to combine diving with other activities on the island. We would recommend Chapwani Island, directly opposite Stone Town, as the best location for those wishing to have a mixed dive, beach and excursion holiday. Diving can be organized from the island with one of the excellent schools in town.
Zanzibar Diving & Fishing - The North
The best diving from the main island is probably from the area around Nungwi. Ras Nungwi Beach Hotel has its own diving centre and its own boat for fishing.
For full details of diving click on this link "Ras Nungwi diving" and for fishing "Ras Nungwi other activities"
Zanzibar Diving & Fishing - Pemba Island
Pemba Island is situated North of the main island. The deep sea fishing in the Pemba Channel is world class and Fundu Lagoon, the luxury resort on the West Coast of Pemba, holds several records for the size of their catch. Fundu is also a great place for the diver and there are wonderful dives off the North of Pemba, famous for shoals of Manta Rays and hammerhead sharks. For full information click on the following pages, "Fundu diving " and "Fundu game fishing ".
Zanzibar Diving & Fishing - Mafia Island
Mafia Island’s situated to the South of the main island and is the most unexplored of the islands of the Zanzibar archipelago.
Both Chole Mjini and Kinasi offer great diving in the tranquil waters of Chole Bay, a marine park, or outside the reef.
Whilst most famous for diving, both are also equipped for deep-sea fishing.
There is now excellent accommodation in Zanzibar for all budgets, from luxury hotels to budget beach hotels.
The dilemma for those visiting Zanzibar is that the East and West Coasts of the island should both be experienced. The West coast offers Stone Town which needs to be discovered, a spice tour, a visit to the Persian baths, the dolphins at Kizimkazi, the beautiful beach at Mangapwani and the islands off Stone Town. The East Coast offers an immense stretch of sand as far as the eye can reach and total tranquility. Most visitors split their time between both but those with only a short stay can stay at one of the locations in or near town or on the islands opposite and arrange excursions around the island. For those with a longer stay you can visit the beautiful rolling hills of Pemba Island or the isolated island of Mafia Island. Both islands offer exceptional diving and fishing.