top of page

Zanzibar: A complete Guide To Your Island Adventure.

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

I have been wanting to travel to Zanzibar, Tanzania, for some time now; but I kept putting it off due to lack of knowledge about traveling there and the intimidating prospect of a solo journey. However, this year I decided to take the plunge and treat this trip like any other solo trip I've taken. With that, I decided to embark on a 13-day trip to Zanzibar with an open-mind, patience, and willingness to embrace the culture. So join me in exploring an island off the coast of Eastern Africa where ancient and diverse cultures intersect, full of exotic spices and adventures.

If, like me, you are ready to take the leap, here are some things to keep in mind when planning your trip:

  • Zanzibar is a predominantly Muslim country, so remember to be respectful of the local culture and customs when exploring the island. It's advisable to pack modest clothing that covers your shoulders, arms, and legs for when you’re visiting non-tourist areas.

  • Make sure to check the dates of Ramadan in Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania before your trip. During this time, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, so some restaurants and tourist spots may have limited hours or be closed. Keep in mind that, though there may be some disruptions to your travel plans, you can still visit during Ramadan.

  • Although I visited in March, the ideal time to visit Zanzibar is during the dry season from June to October. The weather is perfect for enjoying outdoor activities, which make up a significant portion of the things to do there.

✈️ Flying to Zanzibar: Getting here is accessible from major US cities with flights that typically include a layover in continental Europe or other African Countries. I personally flew with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and my round trip ticket cost $1,560, making it the priciest aspect of my trip.

Main Airport: The name of the airport in Zanzibar is Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (ZNZ).

📃Immigration: To enter Tanzania, both American and Canadian passport holders need a visa. Visas can be obtained upon arrival at the airport or online before your arrival. It's best to apply online ahead of time. American passport holders like myself will be required to purchase a multi-entry visa for 100 USD, which is valid for up to one year. Check the latest visa requirements here: Tanzania Immigration.

👤Tour Guide: Before reaching Zanzibar, I coordinated with Zanzibar Crystal Tours guide to arrange airport transfer and inquired about pricing for the activities I was interested in. Kindly contact the guide, Issa, via Instagram DM to discuss pricing, as it varies depending on the activities. Let him know I referred you.

🚗Transportation: Depending on where you are staying in Zanzibar, private transportation is your best option. For one, it allows for greater flexibility and convenience in terms of travel arrangements and scheduling, plus It is your safest and most reliable mode of transportation.

🏨Where to Stay: Zanzibar offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets, from high-end resorts to affordable boutique hotels and a few hostels. Popular areas to stay include Stone Town, Nungwi, Jambiani, Kendwa, and Paje, each with its own distinct appeal and attractions. Here's some information about each location.

  • Stone Town, the historical quarter of Zanzibar City, is a must-visit for anyone interested in history, culture, and architecture. It is famous for its narrow streets and alleys lined with historic buildings, and bustling markets and the must see Stone Town’s Jumpers (A group of local young men jumping from the pier) , which are a feast for the senses. Additionally, you can take a boat from here to visit Prison Island and Nakupenda Sandbank.

  • Nungwi, a picturesque fishing village located on the northern tip of Zanzibar, is popular among tourists for its stunning beaches and lively nightlife.

  • Jambiani, a laid-back village on the southeastern coast, has pristine beaches such as Jambiani beach, and is great for water sports like kitesurfing and paddleboarding. I noticed that it was mostly couples on this side of town, and there were not many restaurants within walking distance from my hotel. You will need a personal driver to get around.

  • Kendwa, a small village located on the northwest coast, is known for its beautiful beaches, lively music scene, and stunning sunsets.

  • Paje, a more chill village on the southeastern coast, is a great spot for budget travelers like backpackers, and solo travelers that are in their early 20s to late 40s. It has a relaxed atmosphere, street food within walking distance, and opportunities to interact with the locals.

I spent 10 nights at Aurora Boutique Hotel Jambiani for less than $100 per night, including breakfast. You can reserve your stay through and enjoy a double room with a pool view. The hotel has an on-site restaurant where you can purchase lunch and dinner separately. To see more of the property, please click here Aurora Boutique Hotel Jambiani. If you plan to stay in Kendwa, I suggest the Zuri Hotel, and for a Stone Town stay, check out the centrally located Tembo House Hotel on the waterfront.

Trip Cost: Here's a Tiktok video on the cost breakdown of my Zanzibar trip to assist with your budgeting: Zanzibar Cost Breakdown.

Places for Nightlife: Coral Rock, Summer Dream, Comando, Tiki Beach Club.

Things to Do: Whether you're looking for relaxation, adventure, or to learn about the history and culture, there are plenty of things to do in Zanzibar. Here’s my itinerary for the trip:

Day 1:

  • Experience the wonders of the Menai Bay conservation area on the Safari Blue Tour, a full-day boat excursion that showcases the breathtaking marine life and crystal-clear waters. The tour includes local fruits and a delectable seafood lunch while you’re basking in the sun.

Day 2:

Online bookings: MAALUM

📱: 255 772 628 924

  • Head to Kae Beach for some dancing and a breathtaking sunset view.

Day 3:

  • Visit Mtende beach.

  • On your way back, stop at a local restaurant near the beach in Paje for dinner.

Day 4:

  • Discover the spices of Zanzibar by joining a guided tour of a spice farm. Learn about the origins and uses of the different spices.

  • Experience the opportunity to observe, swim with, and feed the turtles at Baraka Natural Aquarium in Nungwi, Zanzibar's finest turtle aquarium.

  • On the way back, stop at Kendwa beach.

Day 5:

  • Either schedule a day at the spa or unwind at the beach.

Day 6: Head to Stone Town (old town)

  • Check in at your preferred hotel.

  • Ask your tour guide to organize a Walking Tour of Stone Town. This includes a visit to Darajani market where you can sample a variety of spices, fruits and other goods.

  • Enjoy lunch at Lukmaan, a popular Swahili restaurant.

  • Catch the Stone Town Jumpers performance around 5pm in the evening.

  • Cap off your day with a meal from the Forodhani food stalls.

Day 7:

  • Experience a visit to Prison Island.

  • Enjoy a seafood lunch on the beach, complete with tropical fruits and refreshing beverages at Nakupenda Sandbank.

Thank you for reading, and don't forget to subscribe to this blog for more helpful content.

276 views0 comments


bottom of page