Is there anywhere in the world that sounds more beguiling than Zanzibar? You can virtually feel the sea breeze, hear the rustle of palm leaves, and smell the spices by just saying Zanzibar. I had always been intrigued by this Indian Ocean spice island, just by the name alone, but once I set foot on the island and watched the iconic dhows, with their triangular sails, on the ocean, sampled the cuisine, and experienced this interesting mix between African and Arabian cultures, I truly fell in love with it.
Zanzibar is an archipelago of four islands off the coast of East Africa. Its main island, Unguja, is often referred to as Zanzibar. Because of its strategic location along the spice and slave trade routes in the Indian Ocean, Zanzibar has been a stronghold for many countries throughout its history. Oman even declared Zanzibar its capital for 30 years in 1832. Zanzibar then became a British protectorate until it joined Tanganyika in the 1960s to form Tanzania.
Morning: Arrive in Stone Town. Stone Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site whose winding streets are straight out of Aladdin. My advice for your first few hours? Just stroll. Take photos of the famed Zanzibari doors, enjoy a traditional Zanzibari lunch at 6 Degrees South, pop into a few shops.
Afternoon: In the afternoon, arrange a walking tour with your hotel. Most walking tours will take you to sites like the Old Fort and Christ Church Cathedral. Our tour cost $20 each for two hours.
Evening: Have dinner at the magical Tea House Restaurant, located on top of the Emerson on Hurumzi Hotel. Make sure to make reservations in advance! And arrive at 6 p.m. to watch the sunset over Stone Town and to enjoy a few sundowners.
Arrange a taxi to go to Jambiani Beach – it will cost around $50 for two people. Jambiani Beach is a small village on Zanzibar’s southeastern coast. It’s relaxed and laid-back, and less touristy than other parts of the island.
There’s not a lot to do in Jambiani, but that’s kind of the beauty of it. You can take a half-day cooking class at Tangawizi Bistro, learn how to play bao at Coral Rock, or just swim to your heart’s content in the beautiful aqua waters.
Basically just relax, drink a few beers, and eat seafood.
You can’t go to Zanzibar and not have lunch at The Rock Restaurant! The Rock Restaurant is a tiny restaurant perched on a rock in the Indian Ocean, and it’s only a twenty-minute drive from Jambiani.
Make sure to make reservations in advance – it’s popular.