Zanzibar is an island off the east coast of Tanzania, it is one of the most picturesque islands in the Indian Ocean and is surrounded by wonderful tropical waters. It’s perfect waters provide a world-class destination for diving and watersports. Away from the shoreline the capital city Zanizibar City (often referred to as Stone City) is a World Heritage Site by UNESCO due to its unique blend of Moorish, Indian, African and European architecture. Travel accommodation on Zanzibar usually comes in the form of villas or guesthouses. Although some African cottages exists in Zanzibar. Wimdu has a great range of offers to suit all tastes, not only on Zanzibar but across Africa. Check out some of our excellent African villa and bed and breakfast options in Sharm el-Sheikh , Marrakesh and Durban .
Staying in the town and using guesthouses in ZanzibarMost travelers stay in Zanzibar City due to its transport links to other areas of the island and because of its sheer beauty. The architecture is spectacular and its inhabitants offer a rich buzz of lively culture. Markets run nearly every day and get crowded, but it is these crowded events that you can see the city at its best. Other dwellings on the island also offer excellent villas and guesthouses, but a villa in Zanzibar city is usually the most desirable option. Wimdu offer a great range of accommodation options in the city, from fabulous apartments to cosy guesthouses. We also offer apartments and bed and breakfasts around the world.
- Zanzibar is the location of the world’s shortest war – it was in 1896 and lasted 38 minutes!
- The name Zanzibar means ‘the coast of the blacks’ and comes from the Persian word Zangigbar.
- Freddie Mercury, the late lead singer of rock band Queen, was born and grew up on Zanzibar!
- Zanzibar was the first place in Africa to introduce colour television in 1974!
Things to see and do on ZanzibarVisitors to Zanzibar cannot miss the Stone Town area of Zanzibar City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The crooked streets are charming to walk along and there are many interesting types of architecture including Moorish and Middle Eastern designs to marvel at. Take your time, drink some tea, browse some of the unique shops and soak up the atmosphere! Visit the old Slave Market and step back into the murky world of the slave trade – you’ll see dungeon cells and a church. Opt for a tour guide to get the most out of your visit – there’s a lot to learn about! Along Zanzibar City’s waterfront you’ll find lots of places to buy souvenirs or try the local cuisine. Wimdu suggests the Forodhani Gardens – there are many options to try the local food here and you can try typical Zanzibar food such as crab claws, calamari steaks and sugar cane juice. Next door the Curio Market is a great and convenient place to pick up souvenirs.
World Famous BeachesThe most popular waters are on the eastern shore facing outwards to the vast Indian Ocean. Here one can sit for hours just watching the beautiful white sands and the clear blue sea for hours on end and once you have finally awoken from the trance you can plunge into the temperate waters and go snorkeling amongst the corral and reefs. Further inland, forest tours are also popular and meeting and greeting the endangered but incredibly friendly Red Columbus Monkeys is a particular highlight of the island. Also worth a visit is the Butterfly Centre, a community project built to promote sustainable butterfly farming. To witness these natural attractions one does not need to stay in the busier city, Wimdu has plenty of villas and even guesthouses that are away from the major hotspots.
Getting AroundThe most popular way to get to Zanzibar is to get a ferry or catamaran. There are many connections between Dar Es Salaam and Zanzibar island. The journey takes around 2 hours and is regarded by many as being a very beautiful trip. Ferry schedules are designed so that you can return on the same day – very convenient! Cheaper crossings are available but they are slower! It is also possible to fly to Zanzibar from Dar Es Salaam. Once you are on Zanzibar you’ll find taxis are a popular form of transport with both tourists and locals. The area of Stone Town is best navigated on foot as most of the streets are very narrow! Outside of Stone Town a network of dallas-dallas (small minivans) connect the various important parts of the island. Riding in the back of one of these minivans is certainly an experience and you’ll see a side to Zanzibar rarely seen by tourists.