Lying off Tanzania's coast, the Zanzibar Archipelago consists of more than 50 islands, most of which have a long history and a rich cultural mix. The best known island here is Zanzibar (or "Unguja Island", as it is more properly known). It is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, which entered into a political union with the mainland after independence.
The larger islands in the archipelago are highly fertile, with many agricultural resources. They're covered with small farms and everywhere the air is thick with the aroma spices – it's an exotic atmosphere. The beaches on these islands are often stunning : many are powdery white sand, shaded by palm trees. The sea is shallow and tropical, and the reefs are great for snorkelling and diving.
We've split Zanzibar up into the following areas :
The heart of Zanzibar Town, Stone Town, is a labyrinth of narrow alleys complete with palaces, mosques, and tiny shops. Come here for a night or two to stay in a small hotel or converted merchant's house – and soak up the atmosphere.
East Coast Zanzibar
The east coast of Zanzibar is lined with long, powder-white beaches; it's very sow and relaxed. We've included here the best small resorts; all quite different !
Or travel offshore to the magical Mnemba Island - for the ultimate private island getaway !
Two or three hours drive from Stone Town, Nungwi has long been a magnet for visitors seeking their slice of paradise. Come for good diving and beaches, and a lively village atmosphere; there's a lot going on here.
Zanzibar's southeast, the Michamvi Peninsula is very similar to the East Coast – small lodges, and the odd larger hotel, on long, stunning, powder-white beaches and palm trees.
South of Stone Town, the Fumba Peninsula is one of the most relaxed and friendly corners of the island – and its very quiet, with few visitors. There are two beautiful lodges here – and offshore is an award-winning eco-resort on Chumbe Island.
See here for day-trips that are possible from virtually anywhere o the island. Talk to us to integrate one or more of these into your time on Zanzibar.
Although part of the archipelago, Pemba is a half-hour flight north-east of Zanzibar. It's a less developed island with a more traditional people, and one smart lodge.
Although not part of the Zanzibar Archipelago, the neighbouring Mafia Archipelago deserves to be better-known, even if we are often glad that it isn't. Come for a handful of great-value tiny beach lodges, and great snorkelling and diving. They're not glitzy or glamorous – but they are good.