Situated on the Swahili Coast, adjacent to Tanganyika (mainland Tanzania), lies one of the most beautiful islands in East Africa. Formerly known as a center for spice and slave trading in the 19th century, Zanzibar is much more than a stopping point on an itinerary; it’s 1,020 square miles of pure adventure waiting to be explored.
Whether you are an avid diver, beach comber, hopeless romantic, shopaholic, love horseback riding, enjoy fine dining, or just want to escape and explore new destinations, Zanibar has something for you.
One of the first things you will notice are the countless miles of untouched beaches: romantic, pristine, untouched pieces of paradise waiting to massage your feet. Since this island is not a high-traffic tourist destination, there are plenty of beautiful seashells to be found in the early mornings, before the locals awake to gather these gems for the market.
Zanzibar hosts many luxury resorts waiting to pamper your every need. While I stayed at several resorts on the island, my favorite is the Sea Cliff Resort, situated on the east cost, twenty-five minutes north of Stone Town. Whether you like horseback riding, golf, sailing, fine dining, the spa, or simply relaxing by one of their two infinity pools, Sea Cliff will soothe your senses.
D I V E R D O W N
Whether you enjoy snorkeling or deep water diving, Zanzibar offers an array of excursions to meet your needs. Diving The Royal Navy Lighter shipwreck at 30m, Zanzibar. The journey to the dive site is a relaxing experience as we head out, north of prison island. Visibility under water ranges from 70 to 80 feet depending on depth and conditions. Much of the ride out to the site is over deep rocks which you can see below the boat.
S T O N E T O W N
If you love to barter, then the markets of Stone Town are the place for you. The city is a virtual maze of alleyways, all lined with merchants eager to sell their goods.
The best deals are waiting to be had if your bartering skills are firm. Whether you are looking for coffee, fresh vanilla, fish, antiques, artwork, or whatever tickles your fancy, you will find it in the market in Stone Town. Be willing to walk if you do not get the price you want; the merchant will follow you for blocks to seal the deal.
Open-air fish market in Stone Town. Some unique smells for sure.
P R I S O N I S L A N D
There are plenty of day excursions to keep you busy. Only a thirty minute boat ride from Stone Town lies a little piece of paradise named Prison Island. This was a former prison-turned-tourist-attraction that also serves as an animal preserve for the endangered tortoise population.
The road to vanilla heaven. Before departing for East Africa, I created a bucket list of items I wanted to purchase in each country. Coffee and chocolate were on the list for every country while vanilla was my primary target from both Madagascar and this island of Zanzibar. Below are photos of one journey to a vanilla plantation, located in the middle of the island.
S P I C E P L A N T A T I O N S
Farm Country…getting close.
Young vanilla on the vine.
The history of slavery is ever-present. This is a former slave cave: over 100 years ago, slaves were stored in these caves after a full day of labor on the spice plantations.
These kids from a local village want to model for the camera.