Welcome to Zanzibar, an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania that boasts of stunning beaches, rich culture, and vibrant history. With so much to see and do, planning your itinerary can be overwhelming, especially if you only have a few days to spare. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you make the most of your 3-day trip to Zanzibar. From exploring the historic Stone Town to relaxing on the beach, we’ve got you covered.
Travel Tips in Zanzibar
- Bring mosquito repellent as mosquitoes can be a problem in Zanzibar
- Wear sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the sun
- Cover your knees and shoulders when visiting mosques or other religious sites
- Cash is king in Zanzibar, so make sure to have some on hand as not all establishments accept credit cards
- Don’t forget to negotiate prices when shopping at markets
What to See in Zanzibar
Zanzibar has a rich history and culture that is reflected in its architecture, cuisine, and way of life. Here are some of the must-see places in Zanzibar:
- Stone Town – This historic town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the cultural heart of Zanzibar. Stroll through the narrow streets and alleyways and admire the architecture that fuses African, Arab, Indian, and European influences.
- Prison Island – Take a boat ride to this island to see the giant tortoises and snorkel in the clear waters.
- The Spice Farms – Zanzibar is known as the Spice Island, and a visit to one of the spice farms will introduce you to the variety of spices grown here. You’ll also have a chance to taste the spices in the local cuisine.
- Jozani Forest – This protected forest is home to the endemic Red Colobus Monkey and other wildlife.
- The Beaches – Zanzibar is famous for its pristine beaches, and there are many to choose from. Some of the popular ones include Nungwi Beach, Kendwa Beach, and Paje Beach.
Most Important Places Highlighted in Zanzibar
- Stone Town
- Prison Island
- The Spice Farms
- Jozani Forest
- The Beaches
Routes in Zanzibar
Here are three different routes that you can follow to make the most of your 3-day trip to Zanzibar:
Route 1: Historic Stone Town
- Day 1 – Explore the historic Stone Town, including the Sultan’s Palace, the House of Wonders, and the Old Fort. Take a break at one of the rooftop cafes for a stunning view of the city.
- Day 2 – Visit the spice farms and learn about the various spices grown on the island. You can also take a cooking class to learn how to use the spices in local cuisine.
- Day 3 – Take a boat ride to Prison Island to see the giant tortoises and go snorkeling in the clear waters.
Route 2: Beaches and Relaxation
- Day 1 – Head to Nungwi Beach and spend the day relaxing on the white sand beach and swimming in the turquoise waters.
- Day 2 – Take a dhow boat ride to Mnemba Atoll and go snorkeling in the coral reefs. You might even spot dolphins on the way!
- Day 3 – Visit Paje Beach and try your hand at kite surfing or simply relax on the beach and watch the fishermen at work.
Route 3: Wildlife and Nature
- Day 1 – Explore the Jozani Forest and spot the endemic Red Colobus Monkey and other wildlife.
- Day 2 – Take a boat ride to Chumbe Island and go snorkeling in the coral reefs. The island is also a marine sanctuary, so you’ll see plenty of marine life.
- Day 3 – Visit the Mnarani Marine Turtle Conservation Pond and learn about the efforts to protect the endangered turtles.
Where to Sleep in Zanzibar
Zanzibar has a wide range of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. Here are some recommendations:
- For luxury: Baraza Resort and Spa, Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas and Spa, and The Residence Zanzibar
- For mid-range: Zanzibar Coffee House, Jafferji House and Spa, and Warere Town House
- For budget: Zanzibar Lodge, Mizingani Seafront Hotel, and Lost & Found Hostel
Where to Eat in Zanzibar
Zanzibari cuisine is a fusion of African, Arab, Indian, and European influences, making it a unique and flavorful experience. Here are some recommendations:
- For seafood: The Rock Restaurant, Langi Langi Beach Bungalows, and The Zanzibari
- For local cuisine: Lukmaan Restaurant, Swahili House Restaurant, and Darajani Market
- For international cuisine: Puzzle Coffee Shop, Tea House Restaurant, and Zanzibar Coffee House
Free Tours in Zanzibar
Here are some free tours that you can take in Zanzibar:
- Stone Town Walking Tour – Many of the historic sites in Stone Town can be explored on foot. You can take a self-guided walking tour or join a free walking tour led by a local guide.
- Nungwi Village Tour – Take a walk through the local village of Nungwi and learn about the daily life and culture of the locals.
- Forodhani Night Market Tour – Visit the popular Forodhani Night Market and sample local street food.
- Prison Island Tour – While the boat ride to Prison Island requires a fee, you can explore the island on your own for free.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the best time to visit Zanzibar? – The best time to visit Zanzibar is during the dry season from June to October and from December to February.
- Do I need a visa to visit Zanzibar? – If you are a citizen of the US, UK, or EU, you can get a visa on arrival at the airport in Zanzibar. However, it’s best to check the latest visa requirements before you travel.
- Is Zanzibar safe for tourists? – Zanzibar is generally safe for tourists, but it’s always best to take precautions like not walking alone at night and avoiding carrying large amounts of cash.
- What currency is used in Zanzibar? – The local currency in Zanzibar is the Tanzanian shilling, but US dollars are widely accepted.
- What language is spoken in Zanzibar? – The official language of Zanzibar is Swahili, but English is widely spoken.