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Top 15 Things to Do in Zanzibar

If you’re planning a trip to Zanzibar, then you’re in for a real treat! Zanzibar is an enchanting island paradise off the coast of Tanzania. Rich in culture, beauty, and adventure, there are so many things to do and explore in Zanzibar. From visiting historical monuments to relaxing on pristine white sand beaches, Zanzibar has something for everyone. 

In this blog post, we’ll go over the top 15 things to do in Zanzibar that you won’t want to miss out on.

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1. Visit Prison Island (Changuu) – Top 15 Things to Do in Zanzibar 

One of the top 15 things to do in Zanzibar is to visit Prison Island, also known as Changuu. Located just off the northeast coast of Zanzibar, Prison Island was once home to a 19th-century prison and is now home to one of the island’s largest populations of giant Aldabra tortoises. A visit to the island provides the perfect opportunity to observe the gentle giants up close and learn about their interesting history.

The island was first settled by Arabs in the early 18th century and was used as a quarantine station for slaves before being transformed into a prison. Though it was never used for its intended purpose, the ruins of the prison are still visible today and provide an interesting glimpse into the past. 

But Prison Island is best known for its resident Aldabra tortoises, which have been living on the island since they were brought here from Aldabra Atoll in Seychelles in the late 1800s. The giant tortoises are now protected by the government and can be found roaming freely around the island. Visitors are welcome to observe the tortoises in their natural habitat, take photos and even touch them if they wish! 

Prison Island is a great place to spend a few hours exploring, with plenty of fascinating sights to see. The beautiful white-sand beaches provide a perfect spot for relaxing or swimming, while the large saltwater pool near the beach is an ideal spot for snorkeling. There’s also a restaurant and bar onsite for refreshments or a light snack. So don’t miss out on this unique experience – a visit to Prison Island is sure to be an unforgettable experience!

2. Eat Lunch at The Rock Restaurant

If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience while in Zanzibar, then you should visit the Rock Restaurant. Located on a sandbank just off the coast of Michanwi Pingwe, the restaurant is accessible only by boat and offers some of the most beautiful views of the Indian Ocean.

The Rock Restaurant is best known for its romantic atmosphere, delicious seafood dishes, and fun activities like snorkeling, kayaking, and paddle boarding. You can also enjoy some live music while you eat and sip on refreshing cocktails. The menu features a variety of fresh fish dishes such as grilled red snapper, tuna steaks, and kingfish, as well as an array of sides like French fries, coleslaw, and salads. 

Whether you come to the Rock Restaurant for lunch or dinner, be sure to admire the stunning views while savoring the mouthwatering cuisine. You can also take a walk around the island after your meal and explore the fascinating coral gardens and marine life. So don’t forget to add this unique experience to your list of things to do in Zanzibar!

3. Go to the Full Moon Party at Kendwa Rocks – Top 15 Things to Do in Zanzibar 

For those looking to experience a night of unbridled fun, the Full Moon Party at Kendwa Rocks is the place to be. Located on the stunning beaches of North Zanzibar, this event occurs every full moon. Thousands of people from all over the world gather here to enjoy a night of music, dancing, and lots of cocktails. The atmosphere is always electric and buzzing with excitement as revelers watch amazing fire dancers, DJs, live bands, and lots more! The whole event takes place on the beachfront and offers plenty of opportunities for you to take amazing photos to remember your time in Zanzibar. It’s a truly unique and unforgettable experience so don’t miss out!

4. Take a Spice Tour

A trip to Zanzibar would not be complete without a visit to the famous spice farms. Many of the island’s traditional spices have been used for centuries and are still cultivated today. A guided tour is an excellent way to learn about the variety of spices grown on the island, including cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, and more.

Visiting the spice farm will allow you to discover the secrets behind the spice trade and the age-old techniques used in harvesting and drying spices. You can even participate in some hands-on activities such as plucking a clove flower or rubbing your hands on a nutmeg tree.

At the end of the tour, you will have the chance to sample some of the fresh spices and buy some to take home with you as souvenirs. This is one of the best things to do in Zanzibar!

5. Go on Safari Blue – Top 15 Things to Do in Zanzibar 

If you’re looking for an adventure, Safari Blue is the perfect way to explore Zanzibar. Safari Blue offers visitors a unique experience with their four-hour excursion around the Menai Bay Conservation Area. Visitors will explore the bay on a traditional “dhow”, which is a traditional sailing boat. As you sail around the bay, you’ll get to admire the stunning views and spot some amazing wildlife, like dolphins and turtles. The best part of the tour is that you can even hop off the boat and take a dip in the crystal-clear waters if you want. 

Safari Blue also offers a delicious lunch of freshly caught seafood on a sandbank. In addition to enjoying a delicious meal, visitors also have the opportunity to relax on the beach and take in the beauty of Zanzibar. This is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of Stone Town and explore the islands at your own pace.

6. Ride a Dala Dala

If you’re looking for an authentic experience in Zanzibar, then you have to try the local transportation – a dala dala! A dala dala is a local minibus that transports passengers from one destination to another, and it’s a great way to explore the island. 

You’ll be able to see much more of the local life while riding on a dala dala, since they’re the primary means of transportation for many locals. The drivers are friendly and knowledgeable, so don’t hesitate to ask questions or get recommendations. 

The fares are usually very affordable. The buses don’t have any set routes and there are no stops, so make sure you know exactly where you want to go before hopping on board. When you’re ready to get off, just signal to the driver and he’ll let you know when it’s time. 

Riding on a dala dala is an experience you won’t soon forget! So make sure you take a ride or two during your visit and see what it’s all about. You never know what adventure awaits around the corner!

7. Admire & Photograph the Zanzibar Doors – Top 15 Things to Do in Zanzibar 

Zanzibar Doors

Zanzibar Doors

Zanzibar is home to an array of vibrant and colorful doors, each one telling a unique story. These doors are one of the most popular attractions on the island and you can find them all over Stone Town, as well as in some of the more rural areas. 

The majority of these doors were crafted in the 19th century by Swahili carpenters and decorated with intricate designs. Each one has its style and reflects the social status of the owner. Taking photos of these Zanzibar Doors is an absolute must-do when visiting the island. 

As you explore Stone Town, keep an eye out for these unique doors. Some of the more noteworthy ones include the door at the Old Dispensary Hotel, which was hand-painted by Italian artist Fabrizio Savoldelli; the House of Wonders, which has an elegant brass knocker; and the House of Wonders Museum which has a lovely rosewood door.

If you’re feeling brave, why not knock on one of the doors to try and gain access? Who knows what you might find inside! 

No matter what you do, make sure to admire and photograph these beautiful Zanzibar Doors while you’re in town. You won’t regret it!

8. Try the Local Foods at Forodhani Gardens

Forodhani Gardens is a great place to sample Zanzibar’s local cuisine. Situated right by the seafront, this bustling garden comes alive at night with food stalls serving up a variety of dishes. Seafood options are abundant, from grilled octopus, shrimp, and fish to calamari. You will also find classic Swahili dishes such as pilau rice and nyama choma (grilled meat) on offer. Vegetarian options are available too.

If you don’t feel like having a full meal, try some of the traditional snacks, such as mandazi (doughnuts), bhajia (fritters), and samosas. There are also plenty of fresh fruit juices to quench your thirst.

Forodhani Gardens is a great place to people-watch, especially in the evenings when locals come out in their colorful attire. And don’t forget to bring some money with you – most of the dishes here are incredibly affordable!

9. Go on a Sunset Dhow Cruise – Top 15 Things to Do in Zanzibar 

Nothing quite compares to the beauty of a sunset in Zanzibar. One of the best ways to experience it is by going on a sunset dhow cruise. These traditional wooden boats can be found all around Zanzibar, and they offer an unforgettable experience. On the cruise, you’ll sail along the coast, past mangrove forests, coral reefs, and secluded islands. As the sun sets, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the horizon and an incredible show of colors. There’s even a chance to spot some dolphins during your cruise! The cruises usually provide snacks and drinks, so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery while the breeze fills the sails. A sunset dhow cruise is one of the most romantic and magical experiences you can have in Zanzibar, and it should not be missed!

10. Learn Some Swahili

One of the best things to do in Zanzibar is to learn some Swahili. Swahili is the official language of Tanzania and one of the most widely spoken African languages. Learning a few phrases will make your trip to Zanzibar even more memorable and will help you get around easier. You can find language classes and private tutors in Stone Town or online. There are also lots of great books and audio materials available to help you get started. Whether you want to learn some basic words and phrases or dive deeper into the culture and language, learning Swahili will give you a better understanding and appreciation for the people and the place.

11. Go on a Yoga Retreat – Top 15 Things to Do in Zanzibar 

A yoga retreat in Zanzibar is an amazing way to immerse yourself in the island’s culture while nourishing your mind and body. Zanzibar is known for its warm and sunny climate, making it the perfect destination to practice yoga outdoors. There are plenty of yoga studios and retreats scattered around the island, offering a variety of classes that cater to all levels. The retreats usually include accommodation, food, transportation, and a variety of activities such as beach meditation sessions, yoga classes, spa treatments, excursions, or even cooking lessons. You can also take part in workshops to learn more about Zanzibari culture and history. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or an adventure-filled yoga retreat, Zanzibar is the perfect place to spend some quality time reconnecting with yourself and nature.

12. Watch Acrobatics and Capoeira on the Beach

One of the most entertaining and exciting activities to do in Zanzibar is to watch acrobatics and capoeira on the beach. Every day, a group of acrobats performs an amazing display of flips, somersaults, and other incredible tricks along the beach. The show is set to live drum music and is truly a sight to behold! 

Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art combining dance and music, can also be seen performed on the beach by local artists. This powerful and captivating show is usually done in pairs, with each pair competing against one another with daring flips and spins. It’s also incredibly fun to participate as spectators get involved in some of the moves!

So make sure to carve out some time during your Zanzibar trip to witness these incredible performances!

13. Buy Spices and Fabrics at Darajani Market – Top 15 Things to Do in Zanzibar 

Heading to Darajani Market is a must-do while visiting Zanzibar. This vibrant and bustling market is located in the heart of Stone Town and offers an array of unique products from all over the island. Spices are especially abundant, ranging from cloves to cardamom and everything in between. Shop for freshly ground spices, or buy them pre-packaged as souvenirs. The fabric vendors also offer an array of fabrics for clothing, curtains, or whatever your heart desires. Bright colors, intricate patterns, and unique designs make the perfect memento for your trip to Zanzibar. The prices here are some of the best in town, and it’s always fun bargaining with the vendors. Whether you’re looking for a special ingredient for your cooking or a special fabric for your wardrobe, Darajani Market is the place to go!

14. Take a Walking Tour of Stone Town

Top 15 Things to Do in Zanzibar

Stone Town, the old part of Zanzibar’s capital city, is a must-visit when you’re in Zanzibar. There’s plenty to explore and the best way to do that is to take a walking tour of the city. The guided tour will take you around the narrow alleys and streets of Stone Town where you can learn more about its unique architecture, culture, and history. 

You’ll be able to get up close and personal with some of the most iconic landmarks such as the House of Wonders, Old Fort, and Old Dispensary, as well as visit churches, mosques, markets, and other attractions. Your guide will also point out the hidden gems such as the underground slave chambers, charming tea shops, and the old Persian baths. 

Walking around Stone Town can be overwhelming due to its intricate network of alleyways. Therefore, it’s best to join a guided tour so that you don’t miss out on any of its wonderful attractions and cultural experiences. A walking tour is a great way to explore Stone Town at your own pace and get to know more about this magical part of Zanzibar.

15. Go to a Festival: Sauti za Busara, The Zanzibar International Film Festival and The Zanzibar Beach and Watersports Festival

If you’re looking for a unique and thrilling way to experience the culture of Zanzibar, why not check out one of the many festivals that take place throughout the year? The Sauti za Busara music festival is held in February and showcases traditional African music. The Zanzibar International Film Festival takes place in July and celebrates films from around the world. Last but not least, the Zanzibar Beach and Watersports Festival takes place in November and offers visitors a chance to try out various watersports such as kite-surfing and windsurfing. With so much to do, festivals in Zanzibar are a great way to explore the culture and have some fun!

Don’t you think these places to visit in Zanzibar are really interesting? Are you excited about visiting these places in one of the happiest archipelagos in the world? 

If yes, plan a trip to Zanzibar, head to your favorite destination, and spend some wonderful time with your family or friends! 

There’s a whole world out there for you to explore!

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Make sure you’ll see the entire collection in Framey App, including addresses, opening hours, and contact information!