Zanzibar: Postcard Perfect Paradise

World-famous for its spectacular beaches, Zanzibar in Tanzania is the very definition of an exotic holiday destination. As well as being liberally sprinkled with some of the finest beaches on the planet, this archipelago is home to the fascinating and historic Stone Town, as well as important marine reserves.

Its main islands are Unguja, where you will find Stone Town, and Pemba, while there are plenty of smaller, more sparsely populated islands to discover too.

View our Zanzibar Beach Hotels

Or call: 01227 671 154 to speak to a Zanzibar Holiday Specialist.

Zanzibar Travel Information

  • Overview
  • Map
  • When to travel
  • Beaches
  • Stone Town

The archipelago of Zanzibar lies 35km east of mainland Tanzania, just 6 degrees south of the Equator. Two main Islands, Unguja & Pemba and numerous smaller islands and coral atolls combine to make this not only an outstandingly beautiful location for beach lovers, but also for the underwater adventurers that return again and again. Miles and miles of palm lined powder white beaches are lapped by the warm turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean.

Zanzibar has a vibrant past littered with invasions, empires & conquests resulting in a unique language of Kiswahili. Rooted in Bantu and Cushitic tongues but flecked with Hindi, Portuguese, English and Arabic, the spoken word on the Archipelago has an occasional little something of familiarity for many guests to the region. Unguja Island, known commonly as Zanzibar, tells this story of ever changing powers and fortunes uniquely through the Architecture and monuments in Stone Town and beyond. The remains of Sultan’s palaces and the slave caves of the west coast amongst some of the most striking; visually and emotionally respectively. Stone Town itself is a UNESCO world heritage site (one that has been nominated for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and the labyrinth like streets of the Old Town are never more alive than at night with the soft flicker of candle light, alluring aromas of spices for which the Island id famous and ancient sounds of Swahili Taarab music.

The coastal regions of Unguja Island (Zanzibar) each offer something slightly different with the North coast being the liveliest & home to Nungwi, the Island’s second biggest settlement after Stone Town. As such, this is where tourism first evolved in the 1960’s and today offers travellers a wealth of options from back packer hostel style accommodation to luxury eco lodges & private villas.

The east coast is home to those powder white sand beaches that stretch uninterruptedly for miles down the coast & in parts is wonderfully quiet, peppered in places with just a few small independent lodges. Other areas of the East coast are home to the larger ‘resort’ style hotels – specifically the mid east coast where the full service properties thrive with families and sports enthusiasts.

The Southern coast has spectacular sunsets and the waters of menai bay are home to schools of hump back and bottle nosed dolphins. There are much fewer hotels and lodges in this area but the swimming from the beach is the best on the Island as you are not as affected by the tidal characteristics of the North and East coasts which sees you walking out a good 20 minutes at low tide to reach the waters edge.

The West coast is home to Stone Town and many of the historical sites for visitors to explore. Beaches here are less picturesque than other coasts and characterised by smaller bays and a rocky shoreline.

Pemba & indeed the smaller Mafia Island are again luscious, green tropical paradises suited well to the sea adventurers with phenomenal diving & snorkelling opportunities. They are equally magnificent for those really seeking to escape to paradise lost with an abundance of wildlife and far fewer people living and visiting them.

Map of Zanzibar

Of course, the beautiful climate of Zanzibar is a significant part of the destination's appeal. Sitting just south of the equator, Zanzibar has very similar weather to the rest of Tanzania, though you can expect slightly higher humidity.

June to October is the long dry season, when rainfall is rare - and for that reason, this can be a fantastic time to visit Zanzibar. During November and December are the 'short rains', meaning that these months are punctuated with short, light bursts of rain ahead of the short dry season in January and February. The rainfall recommences in March and, until May, this represents the rainiest season - heavy tropical downpours are common during this time, while humidity can be quite high.

Without doubt, the beaches of Zanzibar are among the most beautiful you are ever likely to come across - but they are by no means all the same. Indeed, you will find there are different types of beaches to enjoy depending on exactly where you are.

On Unguja, for example, the east coast is the destination to make for if you dream of relaxing on idyllic white sand beaches - and this area in itself can be quite diverse. Indeed, there are near-deserted beaches where you'll come across just a few small lodges, while others are backed by much larger resort style developments.

The west coast (where you'll find Stone Town) has a much rockier shoreline, and the bays here are much smaller. So, overall, its much less of a beach destination. Over on the southern coast, meanwhile, you'll find charming beaches that are absolutely fantastic for swimming, as well as spotting creatures like turtles and dolphins. If you do spend time on the west coast, be sure to enjoy a sunset or two here - they are truly spectacular.

In terms of cultural attractions not to miss on your holiday to Zanzibar, Stone Town is without doubt the number one place to visit. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a wonderfully well preserved example of a typical Swahili coastal trading town in East Africa. It is home to labyrinthine streets and fascinating architecture, while the scent of spices and sounds of Swahili Taarab music fills the air.

The best way to discover Stone Town is simply to take a walk and get lost in the winding streets. As you do so, you'll come across Arabic-style houses, old mansions and bustling bazaars. It's impossible not to be enchanted.

We can book any Lodge or Resort in Zanzibar. Call: 01227 671 154

A selection of our Tanzania Itineraries & Camps:

  • Title
  • Random
  • Farm House Valley consists of 30 luxury rooms with views to Oldeani volcano in the Rift Valley. From: $430pp per
    Read More

    Farm House Valley

  • Azura Selous is located on the banks of the Great Ruaha River, in the south of Tanzania. From: $544pp per
    Read More

    Azura Selous

  • A spectacular camp with glorious views, joining its two Serengeti sisters, Lemala Ndutu and Lemala Mara. From: $570pp per night.
    Read More

    Lemala Ewanjan

  • Set in an exclusive private concession deep in the heart of Maasai land in the game-rich northeastern Serengeti, Klein’s Camp
    Read More

    Klein's Camp

  • Experience a classic Tanzanian safari in spectacular solitude and soothing comfort - with only the canvas walls of your tent separating
    Read More

    Serengeti U.C.

  • Vibrant and rejuvenating, Grumeti sits nestled among tall evergreen trees right at the water’s edge. A wild and remote experience
    Read More

    Grumeti Serengeti

  • The Serengeti eco-system in Kenya/Tanzania hosts perhaps the greatest concentration of mixed species wildlife, predators & prey in Africa. Best known
    Read More

    Serian's Serengeti

  • Little Oliver's comprises of 5 luxury, en-suite tents overlooking a flood plain of the Minyonyo Pools, part of the Tarangire
    Read More

    Little Oliver's

  • Sabora Tented Camp represents a return to an enchanted time. For those who had the adventurous spirit and the means
    Read More

    Singita Sabora

  • Nestled in the foothills of the famous Ngorongoro Highlands. Framed by majestic mountain scenery, this luxury lodge is set amounts
    Read More

    Kitela Lodge

  • Situated in the northern most tip of the Serengeti National Park, Lamai Triangle, Tanzania, Singita Mara River Tented Camp offers
    Read More

    Singita Mara River

  • Established by pioneer Paul Oliver in 1992 this camp is for safari enthusiasts wanting more than the postcard-snaps of the
    Read More

    Oliver's Camp

load more / hold SHIFT key to load all load all

Tailor-made for you

  •  Your Safari is just that. Each safari we create is built around you and your requirements.

  •  Select your preferred style of accommodation and explore at your own pace.

  •  Co-create your perfect trip with the help of our experts.

Expert Advice

  •  All of our advisers are well travelled and know their areas inside out.

  •  All calls are answered instantly by a destination expert who will help you from start to finish.

  •  Get the most from your time and budget.

Personal Service

  •  The details make the difference. All our accommodation, drivers and guides have been carefully selected by location and service as well as their contribution to conservation or the community.

  •  Our business depends on recommendations. We go the extra mile to give you a trip to remember.

Would you like to make a booking?

We would be delighted to hear from you! Please call any of the numbers below or fill in the contact form with your requirements and we will be in touch.

From the UK

Call: 01227 671 154

From the USA

New York: (646) 513-4227

From South Africa

Cape Town: 021 300 2166