Holiday on Zanzibar
The tropical island of Zanzibar is one of a kind and a favourite holiday destination after a safari on the mainland of Tanzania. Zanzibar Island is a jewel in the ocean, surrounded by beaches that rate among the finest in the world. Here you can swim, snorkel or just lounge the hours away, while shoals of luminous fish graze over nearby coral gardens and pods of dolphins frolic offshore. The picturesque capital city Stone town with its impressive buildings and lively markets, the tropical rainforest of Jozani in the centre of the island and of course the many wonderful beaches.
Visit to Stone town
What you cannot miss during your stay on Zanzibar Island is a tour of Stone town. This beautiful city is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site for a reason! What characterizes Stone town? Think of spices on colourful markets, but also an urban sprawl of historic buildings, shops, offices, apartment blocks, crowded slums and middle-class neighbourhoods. In the historic quarter you can wander for hours through a maze of narrow streets, easily losing yourself in centuries of history. Each twist and turn brings something new – a former palace, a Persian bathhouse, a tumbledown ruin, a coral-stone mansion with carved doors and latticework balconies, or a school full of children chanting verses from the Quran. Your hotel can organize a historic tour / spice tour for you but everything is within walking distance so if you prefer, you could explore on your own.
The Spice Tour is one of the most popular excursions in Zanzibar. Since the island is also nicknamed the Spice Island, you can imagine Zanzibar was one of the world’s leading producers of spices. Spices and herbs were originally introduced to Zanzibar by Portuguese traders in the 16th century, brought from their colonies in South America and India. Think of large production of clove, nutmeg and cinnamon. On the Spice tour you visit an organic spice farm (Shamba) with a wide variety of plants. Very educative as to find out how some seemingly plain looking plants turn out to be lemon grass, vanilla, cardamom, etcetera. While there, you shall see how the spices, herbs and fruits grow and are cultivated and you how the crops can be used. You get the chance to not only smell but also taste samples of the spices, herbs and tropical fruits such as clove, lemongrass, nutmeg, cinnamon, turmeric, vanilla, coconuts, papaya, chili, black pepper, jackfruit, cardamom, cassava and oranges.
Snorkelling and Scuba diving
The Zanzibar archipelago is surrounded by coral reefs, hidden in the sparkling blue waters of the Indian Ocean, great places for snorkelling and diving. Tanzania has over 900 miles (1400 kilometers) of coastline bathed by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Zanzibar's coral reefs vary in quality. While certain spots are accessible from the continent, you will mostly need to go to the reefs off the coast, particularly the archipelago, to find the best snorkelling spots. The protected areas Mnemba Island and Chumbe Island Coral Park, both paradise for enjoyment of the most spectacular sea beds. Many lodges in north and north-east Zanzibar will do many of their dives at Mnemba Island, so it's not a quiet reef, but here you will see shoals of blue surgeonfish, lionfish, clownfish in their anemones, giant clams, and if you are lucky, turtles and small whitetip reef sharks. As a fanatic of the colourful underwater world you cannot miss tiny Chumbe Island which, thanks for historical protection, has some of the best coral gardens in the world. The only way to visit this is via Chumbe Island Lodge - and to preserve the reefs, only snorkelling is allowed, guided by one of the lodge team. Very different, but equally very attractive, are the relatively undiscovered reefs of the Menai Bay Conservation Area in southwest Zanzibar. These are fairly untouched as there's been little development, and currently there are only few lodges here.
Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park or shorter – Jozani Forest is the only national park on Zanzibar. Even though it is small, only 50 km2 (19 sq mi), it is a beautiful and tranquil place to visit! Jozani forest is a natural pharmacy, an amazing source of natural remedies! Every plant or tree cures something. What is so beautiful about Jozani forest tour, that height of the trees and the palms are just outstanding! Jozani is also famous for rare red Colobus monkeys, these are not camera shy! A little harder to spot are the Zanzibar Sykes’ monkey; a very rare monkey species unique to Zanzibar. Along with Red Colubus Monkeys you can expect to see Bushbaby, 50 different species of butterflies and 40 species of birds. To protect the wildlife it is not permitted to walk off the paths without an official guide. A network of various nature trails leads visitors through the forest. The main trail begins at the park entrance and takes about an hour at a leisurely stroll. In order to support community benefits, a knowledgeable resident will be your forest guide. He will lead you through the paths in the forest and mangrove area on the other side of the park. He introduces various plant and tree species and explains their medical benefits as natural remedies.