Zanzibar archipelago is renowned for its sun, sand & sea – boasting some one of the world’s top beaches and diving spots. It’s difficult to resist that really however, Zanzibar is also a very diverse nation; multi-cultural people, eclectic cuisine and a rich history dating back to Stone Age.
There’s plenty to discover and we’d like to showcase just how much you can ‘pack in’ with just 72 hours in Unguja (commonly known as Zanzibar).
Arrive at the Abeid Amani Karume International airport – spend the day and night in Stone Town.
Being the capital of Zanzibar, Stone Town is literally the heartbeat of the archipelago, specifically Unguja. Embark on a Stone Town walking tour to learn more about the history and culture of the Spice Islands – walking through the winding narrow alleyways will literally transport you back in time.
We recommend doing a morning tour to get the full buzz of the town – walking you through the chattering of folks sitting outside at the ‘barazas’ to the food market. Alternatively, an afternoon tour leading on to sunset will end your sightseeing at Forodhani Gardens for the majestic sunset complemented with a crowd of ‘jumping boys’ showing off their diving skills.
Grab dinner at a teahouse restaurant for a spectacular view of the ancient town – or simply feast on tropical seafood at one of the leading restaurants in town.
We highly recommend spending at least 1 night in Stone Town, not just to immerse yourself into the destination but it also serves as great stepping stone to discover the rest of the island (saves you the time and $$$ on transportation ). On plenty of occasions, visitors are told to skip town because there is (supposedly) not enough to do, that’s a misleading myth – we can tell you that.
Get ready to check out – you can either do that and head straight to the coast. You can also ask the hotel to hold your bags for a few hours whilst you do some souvenir shopping, get a traditional massage or simply take a scroll through town, now that you have a better understanding (and a sense of direction) of what’s happening.
Depending on whether you head North or East/South of the island, you can always squeeze in a tour en route to your beach hotel.
A spice tour at a local farm is a great experience and can be done heading to either coast. During the tour, you will explore the various plants and trees growing in Zanzibar and what they are used for. There are always a couple of pleasant surprises once you discover the root of a specific spice or fruit for the first time .
When heading to the East/South coasts, adding on the Butterfly Center with Jozani Forest is ideal especially to the nature lovers and for those travelling with children, even as young as 2 years old. The excursion is child- friendly and a wonderful way to explore Zanzibar’s rare creatures.
Enjoy the rest of your day at the beach, soaking in those rays. Don’t forget that there are no nude beaches in Zanzibar and to keep the beach wear to the hotel vicinity. It is always advisable to bring something to cover up when walking along the beach or through villages. It is a sign of respect to the local community as more than 90% of Zanzibaris are Muslims. It is a sign of respect when visitors do dress modestly.
Relax, sit back and enjoy your last day in the tropics.
You may be lucky enough to soak in some more Zanzibar flavours before heading to the airport.
Do factor in that it takes roughly 90 minutes from any coast to the airport – so give yourself enough time for the drive.
That’s that – 72 hours in Zanzibar packed with history, culture, nature and some well sought after sun, sand & sea.
Safari njema (Bon voyage)!