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Snow-white sands, sapphire waters and World Heritage old towns. As first impressions go, Zanzibar hits the mark. A gem in the Indian Ocean, this tropical archipelago - anchored by Zanzibar Island - has long been a favourite spot to unwind after an adventure holiday in East Africa. It’s not difficult to understand why either. With some of the world’s best beaches on the doorstep, there are endless opportunities for some well-deserved R&R. Bask in the sun, float alongside shoals of vibrant fish and toast to the sunset from a beachside bar. It’s a place where time stands still, the pressures of modern life become a distant memory and fun-filled activities are always on the agenda.
Of course, laid-back beach life is a major part of its appeal, but Zanzibar has much more to offer. Stone Town, a historic district in Zanzibar City, is brimming with cultural treasures and provides a fascinating glimpse into the island’s past. Get lost in a labyrinth of narrow streets and stumble across grand palaces, ancient ruins and colourful murals. In the east of the city, you’ll find modern developments known as as Ng’ambo - an eclectic mix of markets, shops, offices, slums and leafy neighbourhoods.
Zanzibar is also famous for its rich tapestry of ethnic influences, including African, Arabian, European and Indian, which have all left their mark in some way or another. The fusion of different architectural styles makes for a mesmerizing sight - tall arab-style townhouses vie for attention with the elegant balconies of Indian mansions, while the baraza (a stone bench where locals meet) and the iconic Zanzibar doorways showcase Swahili culture at its best. The cuisine is also something of a mixed bag - from Indian-Portuguese curries to Zanzibar pizza - but always packed full of spices. It is known as the ‘Spice Island’, after all.
And if that’s not enough to make you want to book your plane tickets, maybe the allure of the lush landscapes and wildlife-rich waters will. Whether you’re delving beneath the waves in scuba gear, exploring the endemic flora and fauna in the national parks or dolphin-spotting off the coast, there’s no shortage of adrenaline-pumping activities in Zanzibar.
Whatever your reasons for visiting, you can rest assured that Zanzibar won’t disappoint. But if there’s one thing this glorious island nation is famous for, it has got to be its beaches.
Want to tailor your holiday around your own interests? Simply add an experience pack to your trip. Have a look at our Itinerary Builder to see what else you could be doing!
Making up the most famed half of Zanzibar City, this labyrinth-like, historical quarter is a cultural melting pot, packed full to the brim of ancient trading-hub secrets. Forget all the cliches of powder white sands and turquoise waters that lure tourists to the archipelago's beaches, this is Zanzibar at its most authentic.Discover more
Whether you’re chilling out on the picturesque beaches or exploring the historic treasures of Stone Town, holidays to Zanzibar won’t leave you wanting for much. To find out how others have spent their time here, have a read of our blogs.
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