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Why Visiting Zanzibar Is The Newest Tropical Getaway

Here are the top 8 reasons to make Zanzibar your next travel destination

Posted on

28 July 2019

Contributed by

Clarice Awa

Why Visiting Zanzibar Is The Newest Tropical Getaway

Explore a hidden gem in the eastern coast of Africa, home to idyllic beaches, friendly locals, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site

If binge-watching Love Island, reading crazy adventures from Lord of the Flies, or following the royal family's summer vacation at an exclusive Caribbean island has left you wanting to plan your island getaway, then this vacation to Zanzibar is sure to bring you one step closer to fulfilling your islander dreams.

Zanzibar is one of those places that might not be on everyone's bucket list, but it deserves to be. The azure waters, white-sand beaches, alluring culture and heritage, and charismatic local scenes - it's an underrated travel destination. An island paradise that has romantic coastlines, blissful beaches, stunning sunsets, and a rich array of cuisine influenced by hundreds of years of Arab, Portuguese, British, Indian, African, and Persian cultures.

All of the cultures that have passed through the island have left their mark in Zanzibar history and you can see it, feel it, smell it, taste it, have it enrich your soul that by the time your vacation is over, you'll want plan your next trip back. So not only is it a tropical destination that could become the next Caribbean getaway, the island will fascinate you with its history and eco-tourism options.

It also doesn't have to cost a house if you don't want it, too. Traveling to Zanzibar is relatively budget-friendly.

Here are top 8 reasons to visit Zanzibar right now:

1. Perfect beach destination

The pale, shimmery stretches of golden sand and the sparkling turquoise waters are obvious magnets when it comes to visiting Zanzibar. Throw in the balmy weather, scenic sunrises and sunsets, and occasional beach athletics performed by locals, and you have one blissful holiday location.

There's plenty of beaches on the island - some are quieter and more peaceful, while others are packed with activities, locals, and travelers. Try your hand at kiteboarding, surfing, join the locals at deep-sea fishing, go on a sunset cruise, snorkeling, and more.

Kids will love watching and joining the friendly local boys in performing acrobatics outside the Livingstone Beach Restaurant at Stone Town. When it's nearing sunset, the place picks up activity as both tourists and locals enjoy a late afternoon and early evening splash. Children will marvel at the talents of the young gentlemen backflipping and somersaulting all the way into the water.

Zanzibar is easily accessible from Dar es Salaam by boat or by air travel. Book your hotel stay here:

  • Price: Start from AED 93 per/night
  • Book a Hotel Package: Click here
Why Visiting Zanzibar Is The Newest Tropical Getaway

2. Rich in greenery and flora

If you want a break from all the sand and sun, the island is also home to plenty of environmental attractions.

Jozani Forest Reserve

A sanctuary to the endangered Red Colobus Monkeys - they're considered one of the rarest primates in the continent. Thanks to the conservation efforts of the reserve, the monkeys are slowly being saved from extinction. Venture deeper into the Jozani reserve to find a thick and lush forest with hundreds of beautiful butterflies, birds, plant, and other animal species.

Mnarani Natural Aquarium
A turtle conservation centre that was built around a natural tidal pool. The centre cares for injured sea turtles, ensures the safety and upbringing of hatchlings, and holds educational sessions with fishermen and residents about the importance and advantage of protecting the turtles.

Prison Island
Despite its daunting name and tragic history, Prison Island is a popular spot for visitors to Zanzibar. The island was transformed into a sanctuary and reserve for the endangered Aldabra giant tortoise, which are facing constant threats from by dangerous poachers. The conservation efforts have enabled the tortoises to increase in population.

Zanzibar Butterfly Centre

This is an environmental community project dedicated to helping train locals on how to farm butterflies with care, in hopes to generate a sustainable income for the locals as well as protecting a large butterfly sanctuary.

Kizimkazi
Located off the south coast, this is a popular spot for locals and tourists to find dolphins. Grab a short boat ride, head off into the oceans, and fingers crossed you'll see schools of humpback or bottle-nosed dolphins. Seeing these exquisite marine creatures and swimming alongside them will be quite an experience.

Book your hotel stay near Zanzibar's lush reserve:

  • Price: Start from AED 73 per/night
  • Book a Hotel Package: Click here
Why Visiting Zanzibar Is The Newest Tropical Getaway

3. A mouthwatering food tour

Zanzibari cuisine takes its influences from all over the world. Sample local food that meets the east and west, including urojo mix, mandazi (Swahili donuts), mishkaki (a delicious meat snack), octopus curry (octopus is a favourite seafood in Zanzibar), and chips mayai (African style French fries and omelet). Most of these can be found being sold in the markets at various vendors.

If you're interested in a cheap, tasty, and authentically Zanzibari restaurant, there's a wide selection of them including Luukman and at the Passing Show Hotel. Chefs will whip up local dishes, including Eastern favourites like biryani and samosas.

Book your hotel stay near the Zanzibar city centre to stay at the heart of the island:

  • Price: Start from AED 53 per/night
  • Book a Hotel Package: Click here
Why Visiting Zanzibar Is The Newest Tropical Getaway

4. Bustling market scene

Shopping at Stone Town in Zanzibar is an immersive and sensorial adventure. You can find Zanzibari paintings, wooden carvings, jewelry, exotic spices, and more. Most of the stores sell similar looking products you might find anywhere else in Africa, but keep a lookout because among the mass-produced items are some cool hidden gems.

Nestled in the heart of Stone Town is Darajani Market where hundreds of sellers have plenty of things on offer such as clothes, warm bread, fresh fruit and vegetables, gadgets, etc. If you go there early enough, you might even catch the morning fish auctions where fishermen put up their biggest catches for bids.

Live like an islander and book a stay near Stone Town, where everything is happening:

  • Price: Start from AED 33 per/night
  • Book a Hotel Package: Click here
Why Visiting Zanzibar Is The Newest Tropical Getaway

5. A nightlife under the stars

There's always a party in Zanzibar. Most beach resorts have something exciting going on every night, and the best one happens during the Full Moon Party. The Full Moon Party takes place every month on the north of the island at Kendwa Rocks. Dance throughout the night on the sand to some banging Swahili beats, indulge in good food, awe at the fire twirlers, or kick back and relax by the fire pits while listening to some reggae music.

Book your hotel stay where the party's at:

  • Price: Start from AED 248 per/night
  • Book a Hotel Package: Click here
Why Visiting Zanzibar Is The Newest Tropical Getaway

6. Exciting festivals

Zanzibar has three big annual festivals. Best to plan your trip to the island when the festival is in town.

Sauti za Busara:
Sauti za Busara (Sounds of Wisdom) is a music festival held in Stone Town and it's usually held during February. The festival highlights local performing artists, including talents from across Africa.

The Zanzibar International Film Festival:
This is east Africa's biggest film, arts, and music festival. There are different themes each year.

The Zanzibar Beach and Watersports Festival:
A non-profit festival that's created and led by the islanders and it usually takes place in September. The festival has watersports competitions, delicious food stalls, and delightful beats.

Find accommodation packages here:

  • Price: Start from AED 248 per/night
  • Book a Hotel Package: Click here
Why Visiting Zanzibar Is The Newest Tropical Getaway

Photo credit: Helen in Wonderlust

7. Historical sites

History buffs will be keen on visiting Stone Town where you can find leftover marks of the tragic history of the East African slave trade. All though one knows from learning history in school about the brutal industry, one doesn't quite grasp it until you see the holding chambers beneath the slave trade houses. Guides are available to tell the stories of the slave market, including the harrowing process. There is also a modest memorial where visitors can pay respects to, and people can visit David Livingstone's home - an important figure who once called Zanzibar home and contributed in the abolition of the slave market.

Why Visiting Zanzibar Is The Newest Tropical Getaway

8. Sleep with the fishes

Zanzibar is home to the world-famous Manta Resort - it's a fabulous destination located on Pemba island in the northwest of Zanzibar. A popular relaxing retreat where you can take a dive in crystal clear waters, enjoy their diving facilities, oh and, book an underwater room. The ocean is a beautiful, wondrous place - there are trenches unchartered and marine life that are yet to be discovered. You cannot visit Zanzibar without grabbing the chance to sleep surrounded by the waters' deep mysteries.

Reading to dive in and explore Zanzibar's Pemba Island? Book a stay here:

  • Price: Start from AED 334 per/night
  • Book a Hotel Package: Click here
Why Visiting Zanzibar Is The Newest Tropical Getaway

Photo credit: The Manta Resort

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