Zanzibar and Pemba lie between 40 52' and 6 0 31' south of the equator, and about 40 and 50 km respectively from the coast of Tanzania in the Indian Ocean. The Archipelago covers about 2640 sq. km in total, (Zanzibar covers 1660 sq. km and Pemba covers about 980 sq. km). The Archipelago is surrounded by the coral reefs, beautiful sandy beaches, natural and unexploited lagoons and mangrove swamps, which are rich in marine life. The island is accessible by air and water bodies.
Zanzibar and Pemba are widely flat and low-lying islands. Pemba is which is hillier and more fertile, is situated about 50 km north of the Zanzibar (Unguja) Island, and 50km east of the mainland Tanzania, than Zanzibar.
Zanzibar is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful islands in the Indian Ocean, if not the world. It is one of the best-kept travel secrets and remains unspoilt by mass tourism. Zanzibar archipelago is approximately 35km off shore from the Tanzania mainland and only six degrees south of the Equator.
It is comprised of two main Islands, Unguja (also called Zanzibar Island), and Pemba, along with many smaller islands and atolls. These provide miles and miles of palm lined beaches and colourful coral reefs perfect for diving or just soaking in the laid back atmosphere. Zanzibar has been popular throughout history with artists, musicians and poets and still captivates people to this day. The very name conjures wondrous images and evokes intrigue.
The Island has some of the best beaches anywhere in Africa and arguably the world, the best of which are to be found along the east coast on the northern part of the island. The beaches in this region are protected by off shore coral reefs and have fine white coral sand.
This is a large village on the northernmost tip of the island. It is a lively fusion of traditional and modern styles and is a destination in itself. The beach again boasts beautiful white sands and idyllic setting, whilst only a few steps back you will find a host of guesthouses, bars and restaurants. Nungwi definitely has the party atmosphere and is considered by some as the only place to be, however others may choose to give it a wide berth in favour of more tranquil parts of the Island.
Best Places To Stay: The Z Hotel
This is a long idyllic stretch of coast, offering fine sand and a great base from which to go snorkelling or diving. Guests to this part of the Zanzibari coast will also witness the traditional ways of the local village. Each morning the women harvest seaweed, whilst the fishermen string up their catch to be dried in the sun.
Best Places To Stay: Matemwe Beach Village | Matemwe Bungalows
Kendwa is about 3km southwest of Nungwi and has a distinct atmosphere. It's mostly quiet and laid-back, unless there is a full moon, then the party goes all night. By day this is a long wide stretch of coast offering lots of activities and accommodation choices, slightly more spread out than Nungwi.
Best Places To Stay: La Gemma dell Est
Pongwe beach is about as close to the quintessential tropical island paradise as you can get. It is set in a small cove along the palm lined coast which protects it from debris and seaweed being washed up on the shore. This is a good spot on the East coast, not too far from any of the islands other attractions although probably best suited for couples and romantics.
Best Places To Stay: Pongwe Beach Hotel
Stone Town is located along the west coast of Zanzibar Island and is considered to be one of the most traditional of remaining old Swahili trading settlements that would have been prevalent along East Africa. It resembles the labyrinth style medina's of north Africa and Morocco with all the narrow streets, twists and turns. Influences have come from the Portuguese who developed Stone Town as a trading port in 1503 and the Omani Arabs who expelled the Portuguese and built a fort, which stands largely unaltered, completed in 1701. The Omani quickly established themselves with the riches brought from the slave trade and soon the mud huts turned into stone. The first stone buildings were constructed during the reign of the Omani sultan, Seyyid Said, who in 1832 shifted his capital from Muscat to Stone Town. This building boom lasted approximately 60 years and accounts for most of what we see today.
When the British Protectorate over Zanzibar was enforced in 1890 Stone Town was more or less complete, and remains largely unchanged except for a few buildings along the waterfront which the British bombarded in 1896 during, what's called the 'Shortest War in History'. This 'War' lasted for around 45 minutes and was undertaken to ensure their choice of Sultan took power. Aside from this the British impact to the architecture of the city was nominal. Instead they concentrated their efforts on cleaning up the city which during the 19th century had been synonymous with filth, squalor and slavery.
Getting married on Zanzibar is becoming more and more popular. Maybe it’s because of the warm azure water and the white powder beaches, or maybe it’s because of the guaranteed sunshine and the famous Zanzibari hospitality, or maybe it’s because you can hire your own private island for you and your party or take exclusive use of an entire resort; with so many good reasons to get married on Zanzibar it’s hard to pick one. Whatever you’re looking for talk to us and we can make it happen.
Explore Stone Town
Stone Town is a World Heritage site and is the most atmospheric and vibrant of all the remaining traditional Swahili settlements. Architecturally it’s a fusion of African and Arab influences not dissimilar to the medinas of Morocco with its narrow streets, twists and turns. Culturally modern Stone Town is a lively melting pot that embraces visitors and manages to offer a selection of fine dining and curious attractions without compromising its old world charm. Consider one or two nights depending on your preferences. We would recommend the Zanzibar Palace or The Swahili House.
The Jozani Forest Reserve is located about 35 kilometers southeast of Stone Town. Like most of western part of Tanzania mainland, Zanzibar is the home of primates no wild cats. With its variety of vegetation the forest accommodates the rare Red colobus monkey, which is endemic to the Island, bush babies, bush pigs and small buck. Majority of these primates are social and can be sight at a close range.
The Palace Museum is a large white building that was formerly the official residence of the Sultan of Zanzibar. The first Sultan to rule the Island was from Oman (Said Sayyed) within the house is old unrefined Sultans' furniture and other possessions that survived the renovation. The National Museum (Beit el Amani) is a small building with a lovely garden. It includes sections on slavery, palaces, mosques, cloves oil, production, traditional crafts and household items.
Dive the Mnemba Atoll
Mnemba Island is an atoll set just off the northeast coast near Matemwe. Diving at Mnemba is stunning, on the inside it’s like being in a giant aquarium and the outside offers excellent wall and drift dives. The island itself is a breeding ground for turtles and they are often seen gliding by along with dolphins, huge schools of fish, whale sharks and humpbacks when in season.
For those interested in culture and history, no trip to Zanzibar would be complete without a tour of a traditional spice farm. Over the years Zanzibar has been one of the largest exporters of cloves and other spices and has been used as a welcome stop over for the many merchants exploiting the trade winds on route to India.
The Anglican Cathedral
It's the first Cathedral in East Africa been built in 1870s by the Universities Mission to Central Africa. To date the service are still held on each Sunday. Along the same place one can visit the slave chambers where the slaves were kept before shipped to the Arab and Europe.
Swim with Wild Dolphins
Zanzibar offers a unique opportunity to track and swim with one of the oceans most captivating creatures. This is a truly magical experience that will stay with you forever. Each morning the local pod of dolphins wake from their overnight spot in Menai Bay and prepare themselves for the day ahead, playing with the tourists is just part of their morning routine.
The safari blue excursion offers full day sailing around mangroves and snorkeling along some of the best coral reefs Zanzibar has to offer followed by the best seafood barbeque you will ever have and an exotic fruit tasting session. This trip can be done from anywhere although it departs from Fumba in the south west. If you would prefer a less structured day then head to Matemwe. The snorkelling around the world famous Mnemba Island is amazing.
It is wood boat trip to one of Zanzibar shore islet. It's a most popular Island where visitors often go for relaxing. The island has a large number of giant tortoises and was imported from Seychelles in 19th century. The prison ruins, coral rag forest trail and also beautiful peacocks. It has also beautiful coral reef ideal for snorkelling and lovely white sand for sun bathing.