Things to do in Zanzibar

Our most recommended things to do in Zanzibar

Zanzibar: Quad Bike Tour and Visit to Local Village

1. Zanzibar: Quad Bike Tour and Visit to Local Village

Meet your guide at the meeting point, then you drive along the main road going to Pwani Majangani, for about 4 km. The tour usually stops for a few minutes at a local shop where you can buy some food to offer as a present to the village (flour, rice, and biscuits for the kids). Clients are encouraged to support the local community. After this small pit stop, you leave the tarmac road to ride the quad off-road through the rice fields, where your guide stops for about 15 minutes to explain the economy, culture, and habits of the villages in the middle part of the island. After this explanation, the excursion goes ahead through the environment of the island to arrive at the local village, where you'll stop for about 1 hour. Travelers will have the opportunity to stay with the children, play with them, and be in contact with the community of the village. After this first contact, your guide will offer guests local fresh fruits (Madafu, seasonal fresh fruit). Next, head to the House of Mad, a typical home in the rural village, as your guide discusses the life and culture of the Zanzibarian people. Before getting back on the quad, visit plantations of cinnamon, cloves, lemon grass, and other varieties, which are cultivated by the people of the village. You finally leave the village riding to Pwani Majangani to reach the fishermen's village. At the village, you will stop for a few minutes to explain the difference between the rural village and the community based on the coast of the Island. Following the sand road, passing through the fishermen's houses, you arrive at Waikiki Resort, where you will stop for about 15 minutes. At Waikiki, you can enjoy Focaccia (typical Italian white pizza). You will be able to rest at the beach, relax, and swim in the ocean, before hopping back on the quad and ending the excursion by coming back to the main quarter. You will be dropped off back at your hotel.

Prison Island: Private Half-Day Tour

2. Prison Island: Private Half-Day Tour

This private guided half day tour can begin any time from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM. Meet your well-trained guide and boatman as your board your steam-engine wooden boat. Head to the prestigious island and enjoy the 30-minute journey.  Listen to the history of the island and discover the past centuries through the historical buildings, which have served many purposes over the years including a prison, chapel, and hiding place for slaves after the abolition.  Enjoy a swim or snorkel around the colorful coral rocks and turquoise waters. Play with giant tortoises and you may take photographs with these old precious creatures. If you do not have much experience or confidence in the water, you will be provided with a life jacket. 

Zanzibar City: Sunset Sailing Tour with Snacks and Drinks

3. Zanzibar City: Sunset Sailing Tour with Snacks and Drinks

My name is khamis Juma l am from Zanzibar born and raised Unguja' Zanzibar, I am working as tour guide for more then 8yrs here on the beautiful island spices of Zanzibar, l do love my work and am very well experienced on my work I and my team work are very well prepared to make sure the tour going well as everyone expect pleasure trip of the day and l absolutely will make a tour perfect Sunset tour" will take a place from 5:00 and get on boat starting sunset tour including all snakes that will be delicious bits and make tour amazing captain boat will drive/sailing all together very friendly calm waters along the ocean close to the nice waves and beaches along the tour tourists can see beautiful colourful birds. The activity cost all inclusive meals, fruits, drinks, soft drinks, sweets, snacks, boat, transport from hotel to the beach and return.

Zanzibar: Stone Town 3-Hour Walking Tour

4. Zanzibar: Stone Town 3-Hour Walking Tour

After a greeting and short briefing, you will be heading to the old fort which is also known as the Arab fort, the house of wonders, and then to Forodhani Gardens, a darajani fruits and spice market, and the Zanzibar ferry terminal. The tour also includes visits to the Freddie Mercury house, Zanzibar Curio Shop, Jaws Corner coffee shop, and more. Visit the Anglican cathedral, also known as the former slave market which was used for centuries as a hub for the East African slave market, whereby slaves were hunted and abducted from Malawi, Congo, Zambia and other parts of east Africa. With your guide you will have enough time for some leisure time to explore the narrow streets alongside the curio shops. The tour will end after 3 hours.

Zanzibar: Changuu Island and Stone Town Tour with Lunch

5. Zanzibar: Changuu Island and Stone Town Tour with Lunch

The tour begins with a private boat trip to Changuu Island, also known as Prison Island or Turtle Island. The island earned its name after it was purchased in 1893 by the British First Minister of Zanzibar who constructed a prison complex here. Although no prisoners were ever housed on the island, it was eventually used as a quarantine station for yellow fever sufferers, and later became home to more than 50 tortoises who still live there today. On the island, enjoy some free time to explore the beauty of this wild paradise, and get up close to the tortoises that roam freely. Some of the tortoises here are more than 100 years old, and you can even get close enough to feed them and take photos. You can also find peacocks and antelope on the island, then cool off in the crystal clear waters during a snorkel session in search of marine life, colorful fish, and coral reef. After your visit to Changuu Island, head towards one of the most historically prominent and artistic destinations in East Africa, Stone Town. Upon arrival, admire the fascinating architecture of the town, which dates back to the 19th century, and reflects the diverse influences of Swahili, Arab, Persian, Indian and European cultures. Learn about how the town earned its UNESCO World Heritage status, and then visit the Old Slave Market and the City Market. Here you can shop for almost anything whilst soaking up the authentic East African atmosphere and meeting the locals. Once you’ve wandered through the market it’s time to visit the Palace Museum, the local House of Wonder, and of course Freddie Mercury’s former home. There’s also time for a trip to the Peace Memorial and the Natural History Museum before ending the tour with a delicious local lunch at a traditional restaurant.

Zanzibar: Prison Island Tour with Lunch on the Sandbank

6. Zanzibar: Prison Island Tour with Lunch on the Sandbank

Your Zanzibar adventure begins with a visit to Prison Island, purchased in 1893 by Lloyd Mathews, the British First Minister of Zanzibar at the time. Mathews constructed a prison complex on the island which is still visible today, however no prisoners were ever housed on the island and instead it became a quarantine station for yellow fever sufferers. On the island, spend some time exploring the area and discover the collection of over 50 tortoises that live here, some of which are more than 100 years old. Learn about why the tortoises call the island their home, as well as taking photos and feeding them too. The island is also home to peacocks and small antelope too. Once you’ve explored the island, enjoy the opportunity to cool off from the hot weather with a refreshing dip in the surrounding crystal clear waters. Spend some time snorkeling in the water just off the island and search for colorful tropical fish and vibrant coral reef. After you’ve worked up an appetite from swimming, relax on the sandbank with a delicious lunch including a seafood BBQ, Swahili cuisine, cheese, tropical fruit, and more.

Zanzibar: Spice Farm Tour with Traditional Cooking Lesson

7. Zanzibar: Spice Farm Tour with Traditional Cooking Lesson

Visit an organic spice farm on this 3-hour guided tour to learn about one of Zanzibar’s most popular industries: spices. Discover how the islands produce cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, black pepper, and more. See why the Zanzibar Archipelago, together with Tanzania's Mafia Island, is sometimes called the "Spice Islands".   When you arrive, the spice farm guide will describe how the spices are grown and used as medication and flavor in dishes. See spices like vanilla, cardamom, nutmeg, and many more. You’ll be able to touch, smell, and taste the spices and herbs directly from plants—you’ve never smelled spices as fresh as these before. Along with these fragrant plants, there will also be some fresh tropical fruits to see and taste.     Later, take the opportunity to join a cassava leaf harvest, make coconut milk, and practice some cooking. Then, a coconut tree climber will pick some fresh young coconut fruits for you to try. End the trip with lunch at the spice farm and the opportunity to purchase spices from the shop.

Zanzibar: Rock Restaurant and Cave Tour Visit

8. Zanzibar: Rock Restaurant and Cave Tour Visit

Your first stop will be at what is considered the most popular Zanzibar restaurant: Rock. There you will have time for nice photos to make your friends at home jealous. Following that you will leave for Kuza Cave. The tour there will start with you looking at artifacts from the cave, as well as a timeline of Swahili history. You will travel back in time to the beginning of mankind's story, learning how humans originated in East Africa. Following that, you will discover an ancient limestone cave and crystal clear healing mineral water pool. It will take a moment to get into the water, but you'll find it is extremely relaxing once you've acclimatized. After swimming in the cave you will proceed for a cooking lesson.

Zanzibar: Jozani Forest National Park and Dolphin Encounter

9. Zanzibar: Jozani Forest National Park and Dolphin Encounter

Begin your experience early, as the morning is the best time to spot dolphins. Start in the Matemwe fishing village, which is one of the oldest capitals on Zanzibar Island. While looking out for dolphins, dive in to snorkel among the wonderful coral reef and the variety of colorful fish and marine creatures. If the dolphins are in a good mood, you can witness them goofing around.  As you will be in their natural habitat, there is no guarantee you'll have the chance to swim with the dolphins; your guide will do their best to ensure they are comfortable so you can enjoy their beautiful energy, whether up close or from a distance.  The trip to Zanzibar Jozani Forest national park involves a visit to the high, dense groundwater forest. Home to the red colobus monkey, a rare species only found in Zanzibar, take the opportunity to get up close to the wild animals. Other animals within the park include blue monkeys, elephant shrews, and bushbabies. Proceed then to the mangrove, through which the conservation authority has built a bridge to allow visitors to observe the wildlife without trampling on it.  Next, stop at a local restaurant for a Swahili table buffet lunch. Before heading back to your hotel, make a short stop at the community project, Zanzibar Butterfly Center. Even though the site is not so big, it is a lovely place to relax and enjoy the moment before ending your experience.

From Stone Town: Private Tour to Prison Island

10. From Stone Town: Private Tour to Prison Island

Visit Prison Island on a private 3-hour tour, and discover the rich history and beautiful natural surroundings of this location. Meet your guide in Zanzibar, or select the option including hotel pickup, then enjoy the ride to the island on a traditional dhow. Learn how this small island gained its name and explore the place that is now home to more than 50 tortoises, some over 100 years old.   Feed the tortoises and take up-close pictures with them, as you keep a look out for the peacocks and antelope that also live there. After discovering the island and its history, take the opportunity to snorkel in the clear waters off the coast amongst tropical fish and colorful coral. At the end of your tour, return to Zanzibar, where you’ll be dropped off in the city center, or at your hotel.

Other Sightseeing Options in Zanzibar

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What people are saying about Zanzibar

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 576 reviews

Superb experience! Lots of fish and an idyllic sandbank for wading! The two young people who took us were adorable, smiling and full of good humor. Plan to take water because they had forgotten to bring some. Fresh fruit served in the middle of the excursion :-)

Picking it up worked perfectly, we were alone while swimming with the turtles and could really enjoy it, then we still had time and went to the small zoo (admission not included). It was a very nice experience, everyone was very friendly and courteous.

This activity was the highlight of our trip. We really enjoyed it. Our guide was great. I recommend this tour it is an eye-opener. A big Thank you to our guide, Laura and Jo

Very nice visit with a very friendly guide who did his best to make himself understood because we have very limited English Thank you Giklik

We had a great time on the island and then snorkling. It is to be done!