Zanzibar, the legendary “Spice Island”, is a place with endless white sand beaches, transparent lagoons, palm and coconut trees, lush vegetation, spice plantations and tropical trees. Here, several worlds coexist: an African background, a bit of Britain, a touch of Arabia, all wrapped in the scents of India.
The Africa House Hotel in Stone Town is one of the oldest hotel of the island, as it was built in 1888. At that time, it received the English Club, marking the beginnings of local tourism. If the history of the island interests you, the hotel's library has a collection of old books, which will help you to know more about the brilliant past of Zanzibar.
The Hakuna Matata Beach Lodge & Spa in Bububu Village, owned by a german couple is made of 13 private bungalows and a villa with a beautiful view of the Indian Ocean. This location is full of history, as the resort is built within the ruins of the palace of Chuini! A very romantic place, ideal for a honeymoon.
If you come to Zanzibar, you have to taste the many fish and seafood available. They are accommodated in various ways: grilled, curry or masala (mixture of spices), coconut milk, accompanied by pilau rice and ugali (boiled cassava).
Forodhani Gardens in Stone Town: In front of the old fort and the House of the Marvels (House of Wonders). Every evening, a multitude of stands of local cooking settle in those gardens patronized by local people as well as tourists. You will find meat skewers, fish, falafel, samossas and other local products, but also of local "pizzas".
The Rock in Michamvi: You may have seen a picture of this restaurant as it is one of the most famous in the world. And the least I can say is that its reputation is not stolen. It is a stunning place. As its name says, this restaurant is perched on a rock in the middle of a lagoon, accessible on foot when it is low tide and by boat on high tide. Sofas on the terrace facing the lagoon are the ideal spot to sip a cocktail or a glass of wine. The quality of the meals is equal to the standing of the place!
Even if Zanzibar is a small island, there are so many things to discover. It was very hard to highlight only three sights.
Jozani forest is a natural reserve protected since the sixties, which is 2512 acres wide. It is a little more than the size of Disneyland Paris! It is thus a small forest located on a small island.The iconic animal of the park is the red Colobus monkey of Zanzibar. It is an endemic species and it was declared in danger of disappearance in the 90s (mainly because of deforestation). Until recently, the monkeys were also threatened directly by locals. The natives call him "Poisonous monkey" and, according to some local superstitions, it would bring bad luck.
On the way back you can stop to visit the “Butterfly Centre”. It was created in 2006 by a Scottish ecologist and aims at encouraging the fight against deforestation, which is a real plague in Zanzibar.This ecologist decided to push the farmers to protect trees by trading with them the chrysalides of butterflies. He buys each for 300 to 600 Tanzanian shillings ($0.15 to $0.30). With this system, the farmers become dependent on trees and thus are naturally going to make every effort to protect them. Furthermore, they get a significant income which durably improves their living conditions.
Mnemba Island is an almost virgin island, with crystalline waters and fine, white sand. A piece of confetti lost in the azure, surrounded by extraordinary coral reefs renowned for snorkeling and diving. The small atoll of Mnemba is known internationally for dolphins, manta rays, sharks, tiger sharks and whale sharks, and even sometimes humpback whales. If you have the chance to go snorkeling or diving there, do not hesitate a second!
If you already visited a souk in an Arabic country, you will feel exactly the same ambiance in Darajani Market. Here, you will find all you can dream of: mountains of spices, vegetables, meat, fish, alive chickens, as well as mobile phones or clothes are for sale in a series of covered halls and twisting alleys. If you want to buy souvenirs and local stuff it is the place to go!
How to talk about the “Spice Island” without mentioning the famous “spice tour” and the spice farms? It is a must! In the Kidichi spices farms, the farmers practice a sustainable agriculture, as all their products are certified “organic” under UE laws. A huge range of spices, tropical fruits & plants are growing there: cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, pepper, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, banana, cassava, coconut, citrus, Jack Fruit, pineapple, coffee, Aloe Vera, the list could never end! At the end of the visit you will have the chance to sit and relax with a delicious masala tea and buy packages of spices, soaps or essential oils.
Kendwa Rocks in Kendwa village is one and a half hour drive away from Zanzibar Town at the northern tip of the island. It hosts one of the most fantastic beaches of the island, maybe even of East Africa! Sunbathing there may be enough, but in the evening the place turns into an open-air dance floor with the stars as lights. They organize one of the most famous night event of Zanzibar the “Full Moon party”.
The Tatu nightclub is located right in the middle of the old town. Tatu has three levels (tatu means "three" in Kiswahili) offering both a bar and a restaurant. Very nice atmosphere, especially in the last floor where the party is going on until in the middle of the night.