Zanzibar Beach Holidays
Known as the Spice Island, the beautiful island of Zanzibar on Africa’s east coast is bursting with culture and history, seemingly at odds with its idyllic geography of white-sand beaches with palms swaying lazily in the sea breeze.
Tanzania’s semi-autonomous Zanzibar is located in East Africa. The Zanzibar Archipelago is located in the Indian Ocean, 25–50 kilometers (16–31 miles) off the coast of Tanzania, and comprises of numerous small islands as well as two large ones: Unguja (the largest island, often known as Zanzibar) and Pemba. Zanzibar City, on the island of Unguja, is the capital. Stone Town, the historic heart of the city, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The beaches along Zanzibar’s coastline are some of the best in the world, but the sand and surf differ depending on which side of the island you’re on. Waves wash over coral reefs and sand bars along the east coast, revealing little pools of starfish, small minnows, and anemones at low tide. Ocean swimming is much less affected by the tides up north, and the smooth beaches and white sand make for beautiful days in the sun.
The west coast is dominated by Stone Town, and while the beaches of Mangapwani, whose slave caverns may be seen at low tide, and neighboring Bububu are only a half-hour drive away, a night or two spent on the east or north shore is well worth the extra hour it takes to get there. However, the Chole Island Marine Park, located just off Stone Town, as well as the adjacent Prison, Grave, and Snake Islands, provides a refreshing day trip and a welcome break from touring the old city’s twisting alleyways.
The Menai Bay Conservation Area, located on Zanzibar’s south coast, is a sea turtle conservation area for endangered species that come to breed on the island. The Jozani Forest, home to Zanzibar’s unique Red Colobus monkeys and a variety of other primate and small antelope species, is accessible by road from the southeast shore.
Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is the world's tallest freestanding mountain and the only site on land where you can clearly observe the curvature of the Earth. Climbing Kilimanjaro will leave you with a sense of accomplishment as well as awe as you gaze down at Africa's natural splendor and observe the infinite panorama before it vanishes over the horizon.