What to do and where to stay: Zanzibar’s Beaches & Stone Town

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The Beaches on Zanzibar

Beach on Zanzibar

A beach break on Zanzibar is a blissful addition to any safari in Kenya or Tanzania, or as a holiday in its own right.  Touching down in Zanzibar, the first thing you’ll notice are the smells: hot tarmac, kerosene lanterns, clove oil and sea air. Leaving the airport behind you’ll pass through crumbling Swahili villages, where mud huts, coral rag houses and smart modern villas sit side by side. Donkey carts and battered taxis compete for road space with speeding local dalla-dallas, and on roadside stalls traders vie to sell everything from plastic buckets to papayas.  The interior of the island’s stuffed with tiny villages, with chickens scratching in the dust, and tiny farm plots crammed with growing spices. In fact, our top recommendation for any foodies staying on Zanzibar would be a visit to one of the spice farms. The real attraction of Zanzibar however lies around its edges, where there are mile upon mile of white sandy beaches, glorious turquoise waters, and traditional wooden dhows bobbing on the surface. There’s some excellent diving and snorkelling, deep sea fishing, and some fabulous boat trips that you can take from the island. Above all, a visit to Stone Town is a real must.

Where to stay- Our selection of Zanzibar’s Beach Hotels

Zanzibar’s beaches have a stunning range of accommodation from luxury resort hotels, to tiny barefoot, boutique hideways. These are just a selection of the places we know and love, so if you don’t see what you want, just ask us what we’d suggest for you.

Stone Town

Stone Town on Zanzibar

Stone Town is the ancient capital of Zanzibar, a small seafront town of crumbling alleyways, vast studded wooden doors, and tiny, tempting shops.  It smells of cloves and spices and throughout the day the air echos to the muezzin’s call. We’re not immune to the downsides of Stone Town- at times it’s a bit grubby, quite a lot of the buildings are ancient and as a result pretty crumbly and shopkeepers will do their very best to tempt you with their wares. Even with all of this, we can’t help but be charmed. And if you wander down to the seafront at sunset and the gardens fill with life, while ancient dhows moor alongside modern ferries, we hope you will be too.

Stone Town is the perfect place for shopping for treasures to bring home- surely it’s possible to squeeze a Zanzibar chest into hand luggage somehow? We’d also recommend sundowners in one of the city’s numerous rooftop bars, and a trip to the nearby spice plantations if you haven’t already visited. For a fascinating, and extremely moving, insight into the history of the African slave trade, the slave museum alongside the Anglican cathedral is well worth the quick detour.

Editor’s Picks: Our selection of places to stay in Stone Town

There’re plenty more lovely ones where this came from (we’re just quite slow typers, but we’ll put them up here soon), so just ask us if you don’t see what you want!

Have more questions? We’ve lost track of how many times we’ve been to Zanzibar so

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