popular tours - zanzibar
Starting with the Zanzibar’s bustling market where local fruits and vegetables are sold, continue to see the Anglican Church, the old slave market, the State House and the Zanzibar Museum (opened in 1925)
Finally, a panoramic tour of the historical Stone Town where history appears to stand still. It is famous for its narrow winding alleyways, ornately carved & studded doors and unique architecture ranging from the 16th century. Visit the colonial mansions, House of Wonders, the Palace Museum (People’s Palace), Dr Livingstone’s House, the Portuguese Fort amongst others. A trip to the site of Sultan Barghash’s harem at Marahubi should also be included and rounds off an insight into Zanzibar’s huge history and vibrant culture. Stone Town has some excellent gifts shops with plenty of souvenirs and handicrafts to choose from. Its small bazaars and curio shops will take you to Christ Church Cathedral which now stands where the slave market used to be.
This is also known as the Changu Island and is situated to the west of Zanzibar Town (30 minutes by motorboat) just off the old stone town.
The island was formerly used by a slave owner as a private detention place for disobedient slaves. General Mathews bought over this island to construct a jail in 1893 and hence the name Prison Island. It was however never used as such but it still stands. It is fringed with a beautiful coral reef ideal for snorkeling and has a lovely white beach for sun-bathing. It is also home to a family of giant tortoises imported from the Seychelles in the late 19th century some of which are over 100 years old. This island is ideal for a day-trip with refreshments available throughout the day. It also has a small restaurant where you can enjoy freshly caught fish.
The Jozani Natural Forest Reserve which is the last natural jungle on the island is located in the central east region of Zanzibar island and is home to the rare and endangered Red Colobus Monkey which is endemic to Zanzibar
These monkeys are full of character and roam freely. They can also be seen at very close quarters just outside the reserve’s perimeter and are incredibly photogenic. Jozani is home to other species including Syke’s monkey’s, small buck and bushpigs. The elusive Zanzibar leopard (last sited several years ago) is said to feed here at night – perhaps this is why the reserve is only open during the day! Jozani has an excellent nature trail and the guides are well trained and informative. You may have the opportunity to see birdlife such as Bee-eaters, Flycatchers, Tambourine Doves and small antelopes (Blue Duiker and the little Suni)
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 Zanzibar town and a good tour includes opportunities to dazzle the senses with fresh spices. A detailed description is given about a variety of spices and their uses in cooking and cosmetics. Visitors will be fascinated by the sheer number of spices produced and their incredible value for many ailments. This is also the cheapest place to purchase spices and spice oils. Spice Trade is the mainstay of the country’s economy and Zanzibar was until recently the world’s biggest producer of cloves. Drive into the hinterland to visit one of the spice plantations. Soak up the smells of vanilla, cloves, cardamom and a myriad of other spices and exotic fruits. Clove trees were introduced in Zanzibar in 1818, which formed the main trade for the island becoming known as the ‘gold’ of Zanzibar. You will see endless rows of coconut palms. Along the route you can visit the Maruhubi Palace built by Sultan Bargash in 1880 to house his harem.
Tours to the unspoilt north coast always end up at Ras Nungwi, a sleepy fishing village on the northern tip of Zanzibar island
It is the dhow building capital of Zanzibar, so you will be able to see the traditional methods of dhow construction in action. This area of Zanzibar has some fantastic beaches and nearby coral reefs which are ideal for diving and snorkelling. The local villagers have built a turtle sanctuary where injured turtles and other marine animals are nursed back to health before being released back into the warm waters of the Indian Ocean
Situated on the southern point of the island, Kizimkazi fishing village is home to several schools of bottle-nosed dolphins which can often be sighted following a short boat trip from the village
If you are lucky, you may be able to swim quite close to the dolphins which can be a very rewarding experience. Kizimkazi is also the site of a 12th century mosque, the earliest evidence of Islam in East Africa and is thus worth a visit for both natural and cultural reasons.