There are over 50 islands in the Zanzibar Archipelago and include highlights such as pristine beaches, dhow cruises, diving and snorkeling, Swahili culture and wildlife.
Zanzibar Island is one of Africa's top destinations because of its fascinating history and its incredible beaches. Zanzibar's location in the Indian Ocean (off the coast of Tanzania) has made it a natural trading centre throughout its history. Famous for its spices, Zanzibar also became an important slave trading post under Arab rulers. The Arab influences are obvious throughout Zanzibar but especially in Stone Town, is one of the island's biggest attractions. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Stone Town boasts beautiful traditional houses, narrow alleyways, a Sultan's palace and many mosques.
There are many pristine beaches to choose from for rest and relaxation. Alternatively, go snorkeling or scuba diving which is sure to impress.
Pemba Island is one of the world’s top dive spots. The warm Indian Ocean waters surrounding Pemba Island are home to thousands of species of tropical fish and exotic marine life. The shallow waters surrounding the islands offer stunning snorkeling in aquamarine lush coral gardens. Not only is Pemba known for it unspoiled coral reefs but also for its vertical coral cliffs, which plummet to depths of more than 800 metres. Underwater visibility is often up to 40 metres or more.
Pemba Island is covered in forests, swamps, mangroves and lagoons and is scattered with ruined mosques and tombs. Reclaimed by vegetation, these sites date back to the Arab conquest in the 10th century.
Mafia Islands are arguably the most beautiful of the islands and a haven for fauna and flora. Covered in rainforest, thick grassland and giant baobab trees, the island is dotted with tiny villages. In the turquoise waters is where you will find the islands’ biggest attractions. Unspoiled barrier reefs surround the island, rich in soft corals, sea anemones and an amazing array of fish. While snorkeling, turtles, rays and dolphins are never far away. At dusk, flying foxes take off from the trees, dipping quickly into the ocean before heading for the cashew and mango trees. From sunrise to sunset, Mafia is magical and, as yet, little visited. The island is also rich with history, colourful culture and religious makeup.
If it’s diving that really interests you, the period from October to the end of March is best, however, January to March can be very hot and humid.