Best time to travel:
Zanzibar’s sea breezes have a cooling effect on a typical tropical climate which is generally hot and humid throughout the year.
- Mid-March to Late May is the time of the long rains and travel at this time is not recommended.
- June to October is the dry season with cooler temperatures and is the best time to visit Zanzibar
- November is the time of the short rains
- December – February is hot and dry with little rainfall and is also a good time to visit.
The name alone is likely to conjure up images of spice markets, palm-fringed beaches and white-sailed dhows on a turquoise sea. Zanzibar or “Unguja”, the Spice Island, has a history dating back to the 1st century AD, when the Greek and Roman ships sailed down the east coast of Africa. The exotic island was a favourite of the Sultans of Oman in the Middle Ages. Zanzibar still exudes Middle Eastern charm which now blends seamlessly with the beat of Africa. Only a short distance off the Tanzania coast, Zanzibar is the perfect extension to an African wildlife safari.
Unguja consists of two islands, Zanzibar and Pemba. Although not too far from each other they have different climates and vegetation. Both islands boast world class beaches, opal coloured seas and hotels to suit every taste. World famous for diving and snorkelling these seas offer unspoilt coral reefs with a variety of marine life including whales, dolphins, dugongs and big game fish.
South of Zanzibar lies another island – Mafia Island. Mafia Island is the largest of a small archipelago of islands and atolls and is famous for deep sea fishing and scuba diving. Aquatic life is abundant and the coral gardens are pristine due to the protection of the Mafia Island Marine Park.
Areas to visit
- Stonetown – is a fine example of the Swahili coastal trading towns of East Africa. It retains its urban fabric. One can go on spice tours, taste local dishes and walk the cobbled streets of the capitals old quarter. Stone Town is a UNESCO world heritage site, buzzing with colourful back street markets and local flavours.
- Slave Route – over 15 000 slaves were exported annually from Zanzibar. Visit the Dhow Harbour, the Anglican Church and Mbweni Ruins where you will find the slave chambers.
- Chumbe Island Coral Park – 10 km south of Stone Town, this park has a protected reef and is home to 350 species of fish including turtles, sharks and dolphins, 60 species of bird and the famous Coconut Crab.
- Jozani Forest – Zanzibar’s only National Park and the largest area of mature forest found within Zanzibar. With mangrove forests and saltmarshes the area is an extremely rich mosaic of Zanzibar’s diverse natural habitats, a haven for much wildlife, including rare, endemic and endangered species such as the Zanzibar Red Colobus monkey. There are only approximately 2000 of these monkeys left in the world.