Zanzibar is a unique island and is a semi autonomous part of the United Republic of Tanzania. Unlike the mainland, it has a rich history that has been influenced by the fusion of the Arab, Indian and African cultures. When Vasco Da Gama, passed through the East African coast in 1498, the Arabs had already an established commercial presence, trading between India, Africa and Persia. It is this rich history that makes Zanzibar an ideal destination not just for the lovers of ancient history and the diverse architecture but also for those looking for beach destinations.

Zanzibar island is the main island but it is also part of other smaller island that are either inhabited by small populations or have just one lodge or two. The main islands are Pemba in the North, Mnemba in the North East, Prison Island, Bawe, and Chumbe in the West and Mafia further South of the Island. Each of this islands is unique in its own way, from the large tortoises in prison island to the dolphin diving sites in Kizimkazi.

The main island of Zanzibar can be divided into five distinct regions, stone town, north east, north west, south east and south west. The reason that stone town is different from the other regions is because it forms the first Arabic settlements in the island with the sultans building their castles and mosques. Some of the castles that the sultans build for themselves or for their wives are still standing and are part of historical buildings, ruins or converted to hotels. The centre of stone is marked by narrow alley ways that meander among the residential buildings, coffee houses and markets.

For accommodation in stone town, please click here.

The North East is as different as it is from the north west. The private island of mnemba island is the main feature of the north east. The mnemba atolls is a unique diving spot for those who are diving and snorkeling enthusiast. Mnemba island is an exclusive private island offering a world class accommodation in the only lodge in the island. For accommodation in Mnemba island please click here. On the main Zanzibar island, there are various accommodation options along the beach. One thing to note is that due to the tides, the beaches are not as prinstine and have weeds that are washed onto the beach by the tides. The beaches are constantly swept and cleared off the sea weeds by the various lodges that line the coastline.

For accommodation on the North East, please click here.

Unlike the North East, the North West is a complete contrast. The beaches on this side of the island have the picturesque, white sands. They are not affected as much by the tides that wash the sea weeds onto their eastern neighbours. Another selling point for the north western beaches is that they afford the visitor with an interrupted view of the sunset in the evening. There are several excursions that can be arranged through the hotels or lodges for a dinner on a dhow. There are various accommodation facilities in the North West ranging from budget to five star facilities.

Take a look at the various options, for accommodation here.

While it is relatively unknown, there is a national park as one drives from the North to the South past Stone Town. The Jozani Forest is home to the rare Red Columbus Monkey. The extensive forest that covers an area of about five kilometers, provides a unique experience of walking amongst the flora and fauna. Unlike in the mainland where walking is hindered due to the presence of dangerous animals, in Jozani national park there are no dangerous animals, and visitors can walk freely observing the many species of bird life and a variety of unique plants. The only dangerous animal is the Zanzibar leopard that is thought to be extinct as it has not been seen in years.

After the Jozani national park, further down to the west is the little village in the island of Kizimkazi. Around this region, the main features are the excursions to watch the dolphins in the southern point of the island of Zanzibar. The beaches on the South West are as good as the one in the North West, but it also varies with the lodge location. The lodges offer various excursions from diving to snorkeling and watching the dolphins.

Please check here for accommodation in the South West of Zanzibar Island.

What the Eastern lacks in beaches, it makes up with great accommodation facilities. The South East is unique in this aspect that it has been able to attract five star facilities that are at par with the standards offered in other parts of the world. The service and product presentation is offered by well trained and presentable personnel that come from the different parts of the world.

These facilities in the South East can be viewed here.