Zanzibar: an Overview

Some 50 miles off the Tanzanian coast, and six degrees south of the equator in the Indian Ocean, lies the tropical idyll of Zanzibar. Zanzibar is the largest and most famous of Tanzania's Spice Islands, with endless miles of white sand beaches. Despite the fact that more hotels have started popping up over the last few years, it for the most part remains unspoilt.

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Isabel, Eleanor, Louise Fitzgerald and Ra are here to help give you the inside track.

Why we think you’ll love it

Aside the obvious attraction of blindingly white beaches and azure seas, the added attraction of Zanzibar is Stone Town, with its old world charm still very much intact - spend the day getting lost in the windy cobbled streets past old merchants houses, enjoying the street markets and mixing with the locals.

Luxury Beach Holidays and Honeymoons in Zanzibar

Stress-free days can be idled away on Zanzibar, swimming in the clear turquoise waters, strolling along the beach or indulging in a therapeutic massage. Alternatively, relax in a hammock in the shade of a palm tree with a good book and a cool drink and watch the dhows drift by. Meals are based on delicious fresh seafood, caught locally and served under the stars in the evenings.

Head inland to explore the mangrove and forest ecosystems in the Jozani reserve, which is home to the rare red colobus monkey, and aders' duiker, or get your hit of history and culture as you wander the streets of Stone Town.

Zanzibar Diving

If you can drag yourselves away from the powdery sand beaches, the waters around the Zanzibar archipelago host a wealth of marine life, from colourful reef fish to dolphins, turtles and whale sharks, and offer some fantastic snorkelling and diving.

Other watersports available include fishing, kayaking, windsurfing and waterskiing.

Should you have the time or the inclination, there is no better way to explore the Spice Islands than by hopping around them, and with regular flights between Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia - we think it makes perfect sense.


Original Highlight

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A sunset cruise on a traditional wooden dhow boat is the ideal way to spend an evening.

Eleanor, Original Traveller

Weather in January January February March April May June July August September October November December
  • Average Temp. — 27°C / 80°F
  • Rainfall — 6cm / 2.7 inches
  • Water Temp. — 29°C / 84°F
Flight from London

9:00 hrs

Time Difference

GMT +3 hrs

Top picks for Zanzibar

The beach at The Residence Zanzibar, luxury hotel in Tanzania

The Residence Zanzibar


The sister property to one of our favourite hotels in Mauritius, The Residence in Zanzibar opened in April 2011 and brings a new lease of life to the Tanzanian coastline and its main man Zanzibar.

Where to stay

Pool with ocean view at Fumba Beach Lodge, luxury hotel in Tanzania

Fumba Beach Lodge


Located off the beaten track in Zanzibar’s most southern west corner, Fumba Beach Lodge is set in 40 acres of lush wilderness and is the understated luxury that we love.

Where to stay

The Palms hotel, luxury hotel in Tanzania, Africa

The Palms


Situated along a pristine white beach on the enchanting Island of Zanzibar, The Palms is the ultimate private get-away retreat providing a stunning recluse for the discerning traveller.

Where to stay

The Swahili House

The Swahili House


The Swahili House started life as a 19th Century Indian merchant House, and then became a Sultan’s palace before being renovated to make it the hotel that it is today. The history speaks for itself.

Where to stay

Beach at White Sand Luxury Villas

Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas


Located on the east coast of Zanzibar, White Sands Luxury Villas & Spa is a new luxury beach resort on the Paje beachfront.

Where to stay

Matemwe Lodge and Retreat, luxury hotel in Africa

Matemwe Lodge and Retreat


Comprised of Matemwe Lodge, Matemwe Retreat and the Matemwe Beach House, this property on Zanzibar’s northeast coast suits everyone from families to couples and honeymooners.

Where to stay

Our trip was AMAZING!! I can truly say that everything was perfect. Thank you again for arranging everything and attending to every detail.


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