Zanzibar: 6 add-on activities to consider
Safari Blue is possibly the most famous sea adventure on the island, says Proos. “It is a long, full day of activity, but an absolute blast. They are really amazing regardless of whether you are already a snorkeller or a first timer,” she boasts.
This activity sees guests sailing off into the sunshine on a skilfully constructed dhow made of African mahogany; allowing guests to experience the best of Zanzibar. The tour showcases the island’s rugged scenery; visiting several uninhabited islets along the way. Several reefs are snorkelled, and it also includes sailing on the mangrove lagoon and exploring on Kwale island. The day includes a feast of delicious grilled fresh seafood with local sauce followed by a tasting of ten to 15 exotic fruits.
Quite a few Zanzibar activities centre around the beach; where those who love water sports will enjoy the excellent scuba diving in offshore reefs, says Ridler.
Zanzibar, or the ‘Spice Island,’ therefore a spice tour is a must-do activity.
Says Proos: “Many people have no idea what spices look like in their fresh form and this is a fascinating half-day tour.”
The walking tour takes place in a spice farm, or shamba, and showcases how the spices, herbs and fruits are grown and cultivated and, of course, used. Afterwards, enjoy a traditional Swahili lunch.
The history of Zanzibar is absolutely fascinating and makes for a great activity, says Choula.
With one of the oldest slave trading posts having been in Stone Town; which is also the birth place of famous singer Freddy Mercury; the tour allows visitors to get to know the mystical culture and historic heart of the town, and the island at large. Take a visit to the local market; and several historic sites including the old slave market memorial and church and the Sultan’s palace.
According to Ridler, the World Heritage site of Stone Town is the possibly the most evocative. “Its streets and winding alleyways can draw visitors into hours of exploration, while its palaces and museums hold keys to Zanzibar’s past as a centre of trade and culture.”
Palace of Wonders
One of the top places to visit is the Palace of Wonders, a Sultan’s home converted into a museum celebrating Zanzibar’s culture and language.
Visitors can also enjoy the must-see Old Fort next to the Palace of Wonders, a four-hundred-year-old structure that now hosts daily exhibitions of dance in addition to housing a range of artisan shops and venues showing the skill of Zanzibar’s craftspeople to best advantage, says Ridler.
Swimming with dolphins
Described as an experience of a lifetime, there is at least an 80% chance of seeing the dolphins when in Zanzibar. Swimming with the animals does require some level of experience, though.
Following the swim with the dolphins in their natural habitat where they are officially protected in the conservation area off the island, swimmers can also snorkel a coral reef. The activity is about four hours long and starts very early in the morning.
Sunset dhow cruises
No visit to Zanzibar is complete without watching the sunset from a traditional wooden dhow with a cool drink in hand. A variety of sunset tours are available on the island and are combinable with other activities such as a visit to Prison Island, about 30 minutes from Zanzibar itself.