7 Reasons to pack your bags and travel to Zanzibar

Zanzibar, an archipelago with so much character, history and stunning natural beauty, has been on my bucket list for quite some time and I finally got to experience this slice of paradise this year! This picture-perfect island is a true hidden gem and much more than a pretty beach destination. As I boarded the plane with flydubai on my first trip to Africa, I was excited to explore a corner of the world that I had never visited before and Zanzibar truly exceeded my expectations.

Here are 7 reasons why you should pack your bags and travel to Zanzibar now:

1. Breathtaking nature

As soon as you land at the airport in Zanzibar, you will know you’ve landed in tropical heaven. The endless view of coconut trees and green jungles is a sight you will see every single day of your trip, but wait till you catch your first glimpse of the crystal clear white sand beaches… Now that will surely take your breath away. I had to stop and stare for a while before I could jump in for a swim, because I really couldn’t believe my eyes. The beaches are so blue, clear and mesmerizing that I thought I was looking at a painting.

Jetsetter recommendation: flydubai offer affordable business class flights, which fly direct to Zanzibar (only 6 hours from Dubai). Join their newly launched rewards program called OPEN to enjoy more benefits.

Coconut Trees Zanzibar

Zanzibar beach island

Zanzibar beach

Tulia Unique Beach Resort

2. The locals

What makes a destination extra special is the people you meet during your journey. In Zanzibar, the locals will make you feel right at home. It wasn’t difficult learning some basic Swahili expressions with the friendly locals around. Being greeted with a big smile and “Mambo” which means “Hello” is a norm everywhere you go. What I loved about my time there is that the locals are so proud of their heritage and eager to show you around.

Spice farm Zanzibar locals

Family at the spice farm

3. The history, culture and spices!

Stone Town, the old city of Zanzibar, is a Unesco World Heritage Site with a distinctive character and historical importance. Walking around in the city with Zantours made me feel like I went back to a simpler time with cute little shops, houses and kids playing in the narrow streets. One of the kids ran to me and gave me a beautiful little flower, which made me fall more in love with the locals. To enjoy the best panoramic views of this 19th century city, head to Maru Maru Hotel right in the center and grab some lunch at their rooftop restaurant.

Stone Town

Stone Town

Slavery memorial tanzania

Slavery memorial

Stone Town ZanzibarStone Town

 

Stone Town Zanzibar

Stone Town

Stone town Tanzania

Stone Town view from Maru Maru rooftop restaurant

The most unique experience I had during my trip was the spice tour. I had no idea what to expect and was so positively surprised with how interesting it was. Our guide took us to a spice farm and we spent a couple of hours smelling and tasting different plants, as he explained to us how each spice is made. It’s strange how we use some of these spices every day and have no idea what they look like in their natural form. At the end of the tour, we met a lovely man who introduced himself as “Butterfly”. I soon came to realize why, because he suddenly started climbing an extremely tall palm tree all the way to the top! He grabbed a fresh coconut for me and it was definitely the most delicious coconut I ever had.

Spice Farm Zanzibar

Mr. Butterfly grabbing me a coconut

Jetsetter recommendation: Book a full day Spice & Stone Town tour with Zantours to get to know more about the heritage and culture of Zanzibar. Our local guide was so kind and informative and was able to answer all 1000 of my questions. They also offer all types of ground transfer options in comfortable air-conditioned vans, which I used throughout my trip.

4. The water activities

I made thousands of friends in Zanzibar and most of them were underwater! After seeing the turquoise beaches, I couldn’t wait to go snorkeling. One of my favorite action packed days in Zanzibar was with Safari Blue. We boarded a traditional Dhow boat and visited sandbanks and mangroves in the middle of the ocean, went snorkeling with thousands of colorful fish and came across so many families of dolphins.

Safari Blue Snorkeling

Snorkeling with Safari Blue.

Zanzibar island beach

Safari Blue

Zanzibar island beach

5. The wildlife

As an animal lover, close encounters with wildlife is something I adore. Zanzibar is home to a rare breed of monkeys called Red Colobus. You don’t even have to look very far to find them. As we were driving past the Jozani Forest, I spotted so many of them on the trees, but that wasn’t my closest encounter… On my last morning at Xanadu Villas, I was enjoying my morning coffee, when I suddenly saw a big furry friend jump onto the tree right next to me. I was so excited to get up and grab my camera that I scared him away quickly, but he still made my day.

Jetsetter recommendations: Visit the Jozani Forest to see more of the monkeys and Prison Island to see 200-year-old giant tortoises.

Prison Island tortoise

155 year old Tortoise on Prison Island

6. Spectacular beach resorts

If you’re looking to enjoy cocktails on the beach and get pampered from head to toe then Zanzibar is the perfect destination for you. I stayed in two different luxury beach resorts and never wanted to leave.

I first checked into Tulia Zanzibar Unique Beach Resort, which offers luxury villas along the coast of one of the most stunning turquoise beaches I have ever seen. The resort itself is so beautiful and green and the villas are tastefully designed, spacious and have a large outdoor terrace with lounge chairs and a hammock. You won’t need an alarm clock to wake up in the morning, because you can enjoy their superb breakfast on your terrace with the spectacular view of the beach.

Tulia Beach Resort Zanzibar

Hammock at Tulia Beach Resort

Tulia Zanzibar Unique Beach Resort

Breakfast at Tulia Resort

Tulia Beach Resort Zanzibar

Tulia Beach Resort

Tulia Beach Resort Tanzania

Bubble bath with a view – Tulia Beach Resort

Tulia Unique Beach Resort

Tulia Unique Beach Resort

Dinner Seafood Tulia Zanzibar

Delicious seafood dinner at Tulia Beach Resort

Tulia Beach Resort

Tulia Beach Resort at night

Next, I checked into Xanadu Villas, a property with only 6 exclusive luxury villas. Mine was a two-story villa close to the beach with the bedroom on the second floor and an open space seating area, kitchen and a mini private pool on the ground floor. The highlight of my stay was the talented chef who was cooking up some of the most exquisite dishes I had throughout my travels this year.

Xanadu Villas Zanzibar

Xanadu Villas

Xanadu Villas Zanzibar

Xanadu Villas

Dinner Xanadu Villas

Dinner at Xanadu Villas

Xanadu luxury villas Zanzibar

Private dinner in Xanadu Villas

Luxury resort Tanzania

Xanadu Villas

Xanadu Villa luxury

Bedroom at Xanadu Villas

7. The weather

Imagine enjoying all of these activities with warm tropical weather year round. The best months to visit are January and February which is the dry season and avoid the monsoon season from March till May. We experienced some rain during my trip in November, but it only made the stunning green landscapes even more beautiful.

flydubai Zanzibar

Boarding my first trip to Africa

Dhow boat ZanzibarTraditional Dhow

The Rock Restaurant Zanzibar

The Rock Restaurant

Zanzibar paradise

Zanzibar Beach

Hammock Zanzibar

Baobab Tree

Baobab Tree

Tulia Unique Beach Resort

Tulia Unique Beach Resort

 

A big thanks to flydubai, the Tourism Board of Zanzibar (Destination Zanzibar), Tulia Resorts, Zantours, Xanadu Villas, Safari Blue and Maru Maru for hosting me and making this trip extra special. As always, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

5 Responses to “7 Reasons to pack your bags and travel to Zanzibar

  • There is really only one reason to visit Zanzibar and that is to see Freddy Mercury’s childhood home! The man had one of the greatest vocals of all time in rock music belting hit after hit after hit for Queen in the 1970s and 1980s. Everything else you just listed is an added bonus for visiting this beautiful island!

  • Zanzibar is a country on my radar. Look how stunning those beaches are.

    I would love to explore more of the history surrounding the spice trade.

  • Zanzibar certainly has changed since I visited in 1996… but it looks every bit as gorgeous. When I think of clear tropical beaches my mind instantly goes to Zanzibar, where the water is transparent and the sand smooth and silky. When I traveled across Africa if I had to list my top three places, Zanzibar would definitely be in that short list.

  • Ahh I love this post. Brings back memories of a great trip. Your pics are beautiful.

  • This is so great! I’m planning on going to Zanzibar in November so I will be sure to save this for later. You made me so excited for my trip!

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