A getaway to Africa usually conjures up ideas of safari holidays; however, the island destination of Zanzibar – part of Tanzania – couldn’t be more different. It offers everything the discerning traveller could ever ask for, as well as being a place of unique culture and charm. Here’s why a stay at one of our Zanzibar hotels should be on your holiday hit-list.
Beautiful weather and warm climate
Throughout most of the year, Zanzibar offers the perfect temperatures for some holiday sun. The island receives an average of 7 hours of sunshine a day, and even when temperatures are exceedingly high, the coastal breeze is there to gently cool you down.
Amazing shopping experiences
The island’s Stone Town is a shopper’s paradise, featuring a wealth of stores and markets where you can shop to your heart’s content. As you browse the stores, you’ll find a variety of locally crafted goods and souvenirs, including clothes, jewellery, handbags and handicrafts. Stone Town’s traditional food market is the Darajani market, where you’ll find some of the freshest fruits, vegetables, spices and seafood on offer. You can even shop well into the night with the Forodhani Night Food Market in Forodhani Gardens, which is lined with street food stalls for the perfect simple dinner.
Due to being surrounded by coastline, much of Zanzibar’s unique cuisine centres around seafood, with dishes catering for any taste, from mouth-watering prawns to tasty lobsters. Street food stalls will also serve a variety of foods inspired by the several different groups who have settled in Zanzibar over the centuries, including grilled meats, salads and chapatis. Some of the best coffee can also be sampled in Zanzibar, sourced from Kilimanjaro, home to Africa’s finest coffee. Spice lovers can also take a spice tour and learn about how spices such as nutmeg, turmeric and cumin are so important to Zanzibar’s cuisine.
You needn’t go on a safari to see some of Africa’s best wildlife; you can also get up close to it on Zanzibar. Indigenous red colobus monkeys can be found in the Jozani Forest National Park, while after a short boat trip to Prison Island, you can see a colony of giant tortoises.
Zanzibar is a major port and has attracted settlers for more than 20,000 years, meaning that it has an extremely varied history. Stone Town is an ancient city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you can get lost in a mix of old forts and Arab-style houses. There’s also a wealth of museums and galleries to visit, such as the Palace Museum.
Zanzibar’s coastline is blessed with scenic beaches, all of which are clean and well-looked after. There’s also a beach to suit everyone, whether you’re looking for peaceful lagoons, great surfing, or even just a relaxing swim.
Zanzibar is unlike any other place in the world, and therefore offers a wealth of unique experiences seen only on the island. One such must-do thing is to go on a DalaDala ride – a DalaDala is like a truck with benches, and is the authentic way to get around the island. On a dhow safari you can also cruise on a traditional Swahili dhow boat.
A mix of cultures
As a hugely important trading hub over the centuries, Zanzibar has attracted, among others, African, Arab, Persian, Indian and European influences, making for a real cultural mix. This can be seen in many aspects of the Zanzibar lifestyle such as the food, architecture and music. Taarab music is the main style of music in Zanzibar, and this is often performed in venues and clubs across Zanzibar.
Relaxed pace of life
Zanzibar is perfect to visit on a holiday as you’ll find that the pace of life is so much more relaxed here than back at home. Life on the island moves along at an unhurried pace, and by the end of your holiday, you’ll have adjusted to simply letting things take their course.
Where to stay
Matching its beautiful surroundings are a host of gorgeous luxury hotels perfect for your stay on Zanzibar. Among our favourites is Diamonds Star of the East, located on the scenic Nungwi beach. Here you’ll find a collection of 11 spacious luxury villas, as well as an all-inclusive dining service and a number of activities including a relaxing on-site spa.
Looking for some more travel inspiration? Check out the rest of our beautiful boutique hotels in Zanzibar: with stunning settings and top-notch service they are some of Africa’s best!
Image: Rod Waddington, available under Creative Commons