Best 10 things to do in Zanzibar: Tanzania

Zanzibar, located in the Indian Ocean off the Tanzanian coast, is a highly sought-after beach resort in Africa. Its popularity is justified because of the exquisite long stretches of white sandy beaches and crystal-clear blue waters surrounding the island, making it an ideal tourist destination.

However, not many people know about the rich history and culture that the island possesses. Due to its strategic location, it has attracted a diverse group of people, including Omanis, Arabs, and Europeans, resulting in a blend of cultures that can be observed in various aspects of the island, such as the unique Indian/Arabic cuisine and the combination of European, Indian, Arab, and African architectural styles.

Despite the picturesque beaches and rich cultural heritage, Zanzibar has a dark past that tourists should be aware of, such as its association with the slave trade. However, there is still much to explore in Zanzibar, and a comprehensive travel guide can be useful for organizing a fantastic vacation on the island. In this article, we will provide information on the top 10 things to do in Zanzibar. Keep reading.

1: Visit Stone Town

Stone Town in Zanzibar.

Stone Town is the old city core of Zanzibar City, the capital of Tanzania’s Zanzibar island in East Africa. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognized for its rich history, distinctive architecture, and lively culture.

The following are some of the prominent attractions in Stone Town:

The House of Wonders:

A museum showcasing Zanzibar’s history and culture.

The Old Fort:

A historical fort erected by the Portuguese in the 17th century.

Forodhani Gardens:

A famous beachfront area where you may eat local delicacies and watch the sunset.

The Palace Museum:

A museum that was previously the Sultan of Zanzibar’s house and is now an exhibition of Zanzibar’s rich cultural history.

The Zanzibar Cathedral:

A stunning cathedral constructed in the late 1800s.

The Spice Market:

A vibrant market where you can buy a variety of spices, fruits, and vegetables.

It is crucial to observe local traditions and dress modestly while visiting Stone Town, particularly when visiting mosques and other religious places. It’s also a good idea to hire a local tour who can tell you about the city’s history and culture.

Take a Stone Town Private Walking Tour here.

2: Go on a Spice Tour

A Spice Tour is a popular excursion for visitors visiting Zanzibar due to the island’s extensive and diversified spice industry. Being an AI language model, I can tell you a little bit about what to anticipate on a Spice Tour in Zanzibar.

A typical Spice Tour brings guests to a spice farm where they can view and smell the island’s many spices and fruits. Visitors may learn about Zanzibar’s spice trade history as well as how spices are gathered and processed.

You may expect to see and taste spices like cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, as well as tropical fruits like mangoes, papayas, and pineapples, throughout the trip. You may also observe how these spices are employed in traditional medicine and local recipes.

Some trips include a visit to a nearby town where you may engage with the inhabitants and learn about their way of life in addition to the spice plantation. You may also be able to sample some traditional Swahili meals, which often include a blend of spices and ingredients inspired by the island’s history of commerce and colonialism.

While taking a Spice Tour, be sure to wear comfortable shoes and clothes that is appropriate for strolling in a tropical environment. To protect yourself from the sun, pack sunscreen, bug repellent, and a hat.

Also read: 7 Tanzania culture and traditions to know

3: Relax on the Beaches

Zanzibar beach

Zanzibar is well-known for its stunning beaches with crystal-clear water and white sandy beaches, making it a popular tourist destination for those wishing to unwind and enjoy some sun, sand, and sea. As an AI language model, I can supply you with some facts and recommendations for resting on Zanzibar’s beaches.

Some of Zanzibar’s most popular beaches include:

Nungwi Beach:

Nungwi Beach, located on the island’s northern point, is recognized for its clean water and good snorkeling and diving possibilities.

Kendwa Beach:

Kendwa Beach, located on Zanzibar’s north coast, is known for its spectacular sunsets and active nightlife.

Paje Beach:

Paje Beach, on the island’s east coast, is a famous place for kite surfing and other water activities.

Matemwe Beach:

Matemwe Beach, located on Zanzibar’s northeast coast, is a calmer and more isolated beach ideal for people seeking a more serene escape.

While visiting Zanzibar’s beaches, it is important to take care to protect oneself from the sun and heat. To keep hydrated, apply sunscreen on a regular basis, wear a hat and sunglasses, and drink lots of water.

While visiting the beach, it’s also crucial to be conscious of local norms and dress modestly, particularly if you’re a woman. Bikinis and swimsuits are permitted on the beaches, although it is best to cover up with a cover-up or sarong before leaving.

4: Snorkel or Scuba Dive

Snorkeling in Zanzibar enables you to enjoy the Indian Ocean’s crystal-clear waters without the need for any particular equipment or expertise. In shallow waters, you may witness a variety of colorful fish, coral reefs, and other marine life. Several snorkeling programs include swimming with wild dolphins.

Scuba diving in Zanzibar, on the other hand, enables you to explore deeper seas and feel the excitement of diving down to observe shipwrecks and other underwater formations. Certification and training are required for scuba diving, but the experience is well worth the effort. Zanzibar is well-known for its diverse marine life, which includes turtles, rays, and other fish species.

Snorkeling is a fantastic alternative for beginners or those who want a more leisurely aquatic sport. Scuba diving, on the other hand, is a terrific way to discover Zanzibar’s underwater environment if you’re an experienced diver or want to push yourself. In any case, these activities provide a one-of-a-kind and amazing experience.

Join a quad biking tour in Zanzibar here.

5: Visit Jozani Forest

The beach of Zanzibar in Tanzania is one of the best things to do

Jozani Forest is a lovely wildlife reserve in the middle of Zanzibar Island. The forest supports a rich range of flora and animals, including numerous endangered species like the red colobus monkey. Here are a few fun facts about Jozani Forest:

The forest is the biggest surviving natural forest on Zanzibar Island, covering around 50 square kilometers.

Many indigenous species live in the jungle, including the Zanzibar red colobus monkey, the Zanzibar bushbaby, and the Zanzibar leopard.

The most renowned tenant of the woodland is the red colobus monkey, which is found nowhere else in the world. They are quite friendly and often approach tourists.

Almost 50 kinds of butterflies live in Jozani Forest, including the magnificent African swallowtail.

The forest is densely forested, with a wide range of trees, shrubs, and ferns. African mahogany, wild date palm, and mangrove apple are among the most prominent trees.

The forest features a well-maintained network of hiking paths that snake through the lush flora and allow visitors to get up up and personal with the park’s fauna.

The forest also has a mangrove swamp, which is home to a variety of marine species such as crabs and oysters.

Nature enthusiasts and anybody interested in seeing the natural treasures of Zanzibar Island should visit Jozani Forest.

Also read: Best 15 National Parks to visit in Tanzania

6: Take a Dhow Cruise

One of the coolest things to do in Zanzibar is go on a Dhow Cruise. A Dhow is a classic sailing vessel that has been used for generations by fishermen and merchants in the Indian Ocean. These are some of the reasons why you should take a Dhow Cruise in Zanzibar:

Take in the breathtaking scenery:

A Dhow Cruise provides stunning views of the Indian Ocean’s turquoise seas and Zanzibar’s pristine sandy beaches. You may sit back, relax, and enjoy the breathtaking surroundings.

Experience traditional sailing:

A Dhow Cruise is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to enjoy traditional sailing. The boats are built using traditional techniques and materials, and the crew sails the vessel using traditional ways.


Snorkeling in the crystal blue waters of the Indian Ocean is available on many Dhow Cruises. There is a wide variety of marine life to witness, including colorful fish, coral reefs, and even dolphins.

The Sunset Cruise:

A Dhow Sunset Cruise is a once-in-a-lifetime event. While you cruise over the calm seas of the Indian Ocean, watch the sun set behind the horizon. The hues in the sky are breathtaking.

Cultural Knowledge:

The crew aboard the Dhow is often comprised of locals who may share their knowledge of Zanzibar’s history and culture with you. You could also get to witness some traditional fishing techniques.

In Zanzibar, a Dhow Cruise is a must-do excursion. It’s an excellent chance to enjoy the grandeur of the Indian Ocean, learn about Zanzibar’s culture and history, and unwind in a traditional atmosphere.

7: Visit Prison Island

Prison Island is a famous attraction for visitors visiting Zanzibar. These are some of the reasons why you should include Prison Island on your list of things to do in Zanzibar:

See the giant tortoises:

The enormous tortoises are one of Prison Island’s primary attractions. These magnificent animals may live for more than 100 years and weigh up to 200 kg. You may feed the tortoises and get up up and personal with them.

Explore the island’s history:

Prison Island has an interesting history that you may learn about throughout your visit. The island was first utilized as a slave quarantine facility and afterwards as a jail. Nowadays, you may visit the prison remains and learn about the island’s history.

Relax on the beach:

Prison Island boasts a lovely white sandy beach where you may unwind and enjoy the sun. The Indian Ocean’s crystal-clear waters are ideal for swimming and snorkeling.

Enjoy the view:

Views of Stone Town and the Indian Ocean may be had from Prison Island. The island provides a tranquil respite from the bustle of Zanzibar’s main metropolis.

Visiting Prison Island is an excellent opportunity to learn about Zanzibar’s natural beauty and history. You may see the gigantic tortoises, learn about the island’s history, relax on the beach, and even go snorkeling. It is a must-see attraction for anybody visiting Zanzibar.

For a prison Island Half-Day Tour from Zanzibar click here.

8: Explore Chumbe Island Coral Park

Chumbe Island Coral Park in Zanzibar

Visiting Chumbe Island Coral Park is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that is a must-do for anybody visiting Zanzibar. These are some of the reasons:

See the coral reef:

The coral reef at Chumbe Island is one of the most beautiful and clean in the world. It is home to a wide variety of marine life, including brightly colored fish, sea turtles, and even dolphins. Snorkeling or scuba diving are two ways to explore the reef.

Learn about conservation:

Chumbe Island Coral Park is a conservation area that is committed to safeguarding the coral reef and marine life surrounding the island. You may learn about conservation activities and witness the good effects they have on the environment.

Stay in an eco-bungalow:

Chumbe Island Coral Park provides eco-bungalows that are created using sustainable materials and are meant to have a low environmental effect. Staying in one of these bungalows is a unique and eco-friendly way to explore Chumbe Island’s natural beauty.

Explore the forest:

A little forest on Chumbe Island is home to a variety of bird species as well as the unusual coconut crab. You may take a guided trip into the forest and learn about the island’s unique flora and animals.

Enjoy the peace and tranquility:

Chumbe Island is a tranquil and isolated retreat from the rush and bustle of Zanzibar’s main metropolis. Relax on the beach, read a book, or just soak up the sun and admire the island’s natural beauty.

Chumbe Island Coral Park exploration is a must-do excursion for anybody visiting Zanzibar. You may visit the gorgeous coral reef, hear about conservation efforts, stay in an eco-bungalow, explore the forest, and relax in the calm and tranquillity of this one-of-a-kind location.

9: Visit the Old Fort

One of the greatest things to do in Zanzibar is to visit the Old Fort, particularly if you are interested in history and culture. These are some of the reasons why:

Learn about the history of Zanzibar:

The Old Fort, also known as Ngome Kongwe, was erected in the 17th century by the Portuguese and afterwards utilized as a military barracks by the Omanis. It is now a cultural center where visitors may learn about Zanzibar’s history and culture.

Participate in cultural events:

The Old Fort is a popular site for cultural events such as music and dance performances, art exhibits, and film screenings. Attending one of these events will allow you to immerse yourself in Zanzibar’s lively and varied culture.

Investigate the fort:

The Old Fort is a well-preserved historical landmark that may be explored on foot. You may wander around the fort’s walls and towers, see the museum within, and climb to the summit for panoramic views of Stone Town.

Souvenir shopping:

The Old Fort has a lively market where you may buy goods such as homemade jewelry, textiles, and artwork. You may also taste some local street cuisine at the market.

Unwind in the gardens:

The Old Fort boasts lovely gardens that offer a calm respite in the center of Stone Town. Relax on the seats, enjoy the shade of the trees, and take in the sights and sounds of this lively metropolis.

Visiting the Old Fort is a terrific chance to learn about Zanzibar’s history and culture, enjoy cultural activities, tour a well-preserved historical landmark, shop for souvenirs, and relax in the gardens. It’s a must-see for everyone interested in history and culture.

10: Attend a Cultural Show

Watching a cultural performance is an absolute must while visiting Zanzibar. Zanzibar is renowned for its lively culture, and attending a cultural presentation is a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in it. These are some of the reasons:

Discover the local culture:

A cultural presentation in Zanzibar is a fantastic way to learn about the island’s culture and customs. You will see traditional dances, music, and costumes, as well as learn about the history and traditions of the Zanzibari people.

Have fun with the music and dance:

The music and dance performances in Zanzibar are colorful and dynamic, and they will undoubtedly get you up and moving. The artists use a range of traditional instruments, such as drums and ouds, to produce a distinct sound unlike anything you’ve ever heard before.

Taste some local cuisine:

Many cultural presentations in Zanzibar involve a lunch, which is a great way to sample some local food. You may enjoy typical Zanzibar cuisine like as biryani, pilau, and samosas.

Make new friends:

A cultural presentation is an excellent opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. You’ll be surrounded by locals and other tourists who are all come to enjoy the performance and learn about Zanzibar’s culture.

Help out local artists:

Attending a cultural event helps to support local artists and performers. Many of these events are organized by community organizations, and the earnings benefit the local cultural scene.

Watching a cultural event in Zanzibar is a great opportunity to learn about the local culture, enjoy music and dance acts, sample local food, meet new people, and support local artists. It’s an absolute must-do for everyone visiting Zanzibar.


Zanzibar is an enthralling and attractive location that combines history, culture, and leisure. Whether you want to learn about the island’s history and culture, relax on the beaches, or enjoy water sports and wildlife, Zanzibar offers something for everyone.

Other things to do in Zanzibar

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