Tours of Zanzibar are a rewarding experience. Visitors will travel past fragrant plantations of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and other spices on their way to numerous places of historical interest; to the unique flora and fauna of Jozani Forest; to picturesque fishing villages; and to one of many white sandy beaches.
Cruise around the islands on a traditional Arab dhow while enjoying a seafood lunch of grilled fish and lobster with an exotic fruit juice, icecold soda, chilled beer or glass of wine. All followed by coffee and liqueurs as the sun sets.
Watching or, particularly, swimming with dolphins, in their natural habitat can be both exciting and educational. However, care must be taken to avoid disturbing the animals as this could have a negative effect on their daily life. Dolphins are marine mammals that spend their entire lives in the water. Like other mammals, they are warm blooded and breathe air. Most commonly seen around Zanzibar are the bottlenose and humpback varieties although spinner dolphins are also seen north of the island.
Brilliant white beaches provide the perfect place to take a break from busy sightseeing. The beaches are a paradise but there are also numerous picturesque fishing villages where the people live a simple way of life, unchanged through the years. So, as well as all forms of water-sports, there is also ample opportunity for fishing or just watching the activities of the local fisherman. Nungwi, at the northernmost tip of the island, offers possibly the best swimming on the island. There is also a turtle aquarium there and a boatyard where fisherman’s dhows are still built in the old traditional way.
Thirty-five kilometres south-east of Stone Town is the Jozani Forest Chwaka Bay Reserve, an area of 50 sq km, whose thick forests, with trees over 100 years old, are the last remaining sanctuary of the Zanzibar Red Colobus monkey. Other residents include Sykes blue monkey, bushbaby, bush pig, chameleon, civet, genet, mongoose and tree hyrax. There are also two species of very small antelope – Ader’s duiker, one of the two rarest antelope in the world, and the even smaller suni.
Both are extremely shy and unlikely to be seen. The forest is also home to over 40 different bird species as well as over 50 species of butterfly. South of the park an elevated boardwalk runs through the mangroves providing easy sightings of hundreds of tropical fish.
During this tour you will see seaweed harvested and learn to make natural beauty products from raw seaweed.
Zanzibar is a shopper’s paradise. Stone Town’s narrow winding streets are crammed with stores selling antiques, art, books, clothes, coffee, gemstones, jewellery, paintings, perfumes, printed fabrics, silver, tea and, of course, spices.
An organised spice tour is probably the best way of seeing the island. While taking tourists on a walking tour, local guides will pluck bunches of leaves from various bushes and ask visitors to guess what they are. Most will be found in the average kitchen spice rack – black pepper, chillies, cinnamon, cloves, coconut, garlic, ginger, lemon grass, nutmeg, saffron, turmeric and vanilla.