An island synonymous with spicy flavours, Zanzibar, a hidden gem of the Indian Ocean is quickly becoming known for its white palm fringed beaches, rich history and its boutique yet beautiful hotels. Providing a slice of paradise for every type of traveller, the isle is the ideal destination for honeymooners, family holiday or the perfect relaxation spot after safari in Kenya or Tanzania. Teeming with natural beauty that beckons to be explored, at the heart of island life lies the capital of Stone Town, where every adventure starts. Home to the legendary Freddie Mercury, Stone Town was also the reason the small island was first put on the international map.
Known in its youth as the ‘The Spice Island’ due to the abundance of cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper grown throughout the lands, a trip to this humble town involves a sneak peek into local life. Start your visit to the city of Stones Town by enjoying the food – especially the famous dish Zanzibar Urojo and Zanzibar Pizza which can be found at Forodhani night market. This famous market is found in the heart of the city in the Forodhani garden near Ngome Kongwe (Old Fort). Eating Lunch at a rooftop restaurant in the city is also a not to miss magical experience. There are several restaurants in Stones Town where you can book a rooftop lunch or sunset experience most complimented by local, live music.
Be sure to also leave some time to take to the streets and learn about the old days, when Sultans of Arabia ruled, slave markets were rife and Palaces with golden gardens stood strong. A visit to Prison Island is also highly recommended, a place built in 1893 that was used as a quarantine hospital. Nowadays, the abandoned island is home to a family of giant tortoises that were banned from the city back in the 90s.
From the city, guests can head in a number of directions, either by exploring the Spice Trail and experiencing Swahili cooking styles or visiting the red Columbus monkey, a species endemic to the island of Unguja, at Jozani Forest. Those who love the water can explore the crystal clear waters with Safari Blue Tour, an exhilarating excursion that discovers the area of Fumba and beyond. Still a remote area of the island, guests will be able to spot dolphins playing around in the shallows of Menai Bay or enjoy a snorkelling expedition around the reefs of a deserted sandbank, between dining like kings on fresh seafood caught from the fisherman that morning.
In between kite surfing, sipping on fresh coconuts, exploring indigenous wildlife and catching rays on sandy shores, head to the South East Coast to visit the famous ROCK restaurant. Positioned on a rock in the ocean, this tiny spot serves the freshest seafood in a surreal location. Make sure you also catch sunset on one of the sandy shores and see some of the local boys perform acrobatics and play love music during golden hour.