Zanzibar was part of the paradise islands that I wanted to discover. Seriously, who would refuse to go to an island with crystal clear water? Zanzibar is above all a Tanzanian archipelago located off the coast of East Africa south of the Somali Sea. I landed on the main island “Unguja” which is famously called Zanzibar. So I share with you what there is to do on this beautiful island.
Stone Town – The main city of Zanzibar
Mji Mkongwe is an historic old town called “Stone Town” due to the fact that its houses were built of coral stone. This city is above all a veritable labyrinth of alleys built without any planning.
Visiting a country / island obviously involves discovering local markets. The Darajani market is divided in two parts: the old stone town (food, spices, cigarettes, etc.) and the “new stone town (clothing, jewelry, shoes, makeup etc.). You just need to remember “Jambo, Hapana asante” which means “Hi, no thank you”.
Well for the anecdote, I guess you all know Queen? Freddie Mercury was born in this city! Incredible right?
Enjoy the beaches
Naturally, you’re on an island! Enjoy the white sandy beaches is a no-brainer. Whether to bask in the sun, perfect your tan, read a book facing the waves or even play football with the local children. Here are the names of the most beautiful beaches in Zanzibar: Nungwi; Kendwa; Matemwe; Kiwengwa; Uroa Bay; Paje; Jambiani.
Cooking with a local – Kijiji Restaurant Paje
What I like most about my travels is obviously discovering the culture and meeting the locals. There is no point in traveling the world if it’s to stay locked up in a hotel! It’s possible to take a cooking class in Stone Town but I preferred to do it alone on my side in order to be sure to live the experience locally!
Go to a local restaurant ‘outside of peak hours’ and ask if it’s possible to cook with them. By my side I directly had a big YES! I had the pleasure to cook two local dishes (Kuku Paka made from chicken and coconut & Chapati a kind of pancake that the locals often eat as a snack). Of course I left them a tip but it cost me less than the tourist experience and I lived it in a very local and spontaneous way. Thank you again Kijiji!
Safari Blue – A must in Zanzibar?
I really wanted to try a Dhow cruise, a small traditional boat. So I tried the experience which costs around 40€ and I’m mixed about it because it was very pleasant but too touristy for me…
You go on a Dhow to a small island where you’ll eat fresh fruits with coconut and have the opportunity to snorkel. Then the boat stops in the middle of nowhere so you can dive; the water is magnificent, but there isn’t much to see! This is also why the locals throw food to attract the fish. Then you arrive on an island to eat a delicious barbecue (fish, octopus, prawns, etc.). There are a few stalls on this island but the prices are very high compared to the local market in Stone town. Positive point, you can admire a baobab and taste its fruits.
Several small islands border the main island of Zanzibar. Yet it was that of Chumbe that caught my attention because of its positive effect on the planet. Chumbe Island is a sustainable project. All the revenues from their ecotourism activities are re-invested into their conservation efforts and environmental education work with local communities.
You can choose to spend the day there or spend the night. Chumbe Island offers many different activities. Do you like snorkeling? Go and admire historical monuments by yourself? Do you prefer to take part in guided nature walks? Or maybe read a book facing the sea? Chumbe Island has it all. You can read the full article from my stay on this island right HERE.
Other do’s and don’ts in Zanzibar
There are quite a few other activities to do. Like trying Kite Surf! Zanzibar is an island strongly famous for this practice however it has a certain cost. You can also visit their spice gardens (I’m sad not to have done it for lack of time). You can also choose to spend a day in Tanzania for example.
On the other hand, I don’t recommend the Prison Island, which certainly offers you the chance to meet the largest land turtles but which have nothing to do in Zanzibar since they come from the Seychelles. Clearly a tourist attraction as well as the discovery of the forest of Jozani. I know it sounds tempting! Whether you want to meet these turtles or the monkeys in the Jozani forest, but that goes against my convictions.
I hope you can decide what is good for Mother Nature and make the right choices for your trip to Zanzibar.