COVID-19: Stay up to date with our coverage on the coronavirus pandemic. Read more >



What to see in Zanzibar

Zanzibar Attractions

Most travellers visit primarily for a beach vacation and Zanzibar's beaches alone more than justify the trip. The northern beaches of Zanzibar are particularly celebrated for their beauty, and excursions to Pemba Island and Mafia Island are a treat for beachgoers.

Other tourist favourites include Kendwa Beach and Nungwi Beach, close together on the northwestern tip of the island, with good resort facilities; Uroa Bay, in the middle of the east coast, which still retains a pleasant local flavour; Paje Beach, on the east coast, is said to be the best spot on Zanzibar for some kite surfing; Nakupenda Beach, accessible by a short boat trip from Stone Town, which is pristine and usually deserted, a true paradise beach; and the beaches of Changuu Island (Prison Island) where beach lounging can be combined with a visit to the old quarantine centre and the resident giant tortoises. It is possible to arrange many different water sports and boat trips, and the scuba diving and snorkelling is world-class.

Zanzibar is more than just picturesque beaches. However, with the Islamic heritage infusing the island with an exotic, ancient atmosphere, and the legacy of the slave trade ensuring some historical interest.

The dilapidated beauty of Stone Town is a big draw card for travellers wanting a taste of culture. For those wanting to explore into the interior of Zanzibar, 4x4 excursions are popular, and the Jozani Chwaka Bay Conservation Area is the best place to experience the surviving mangrove forests.

Anglican Cathedral and Slave Market

The colossal Anglican Cathedral in Stone Town is located on the grounds of the island's largest former slave market. The cathedral's altar stands on the exact location of the former whipping post,…

read more

Central Market

A vibrant array of colours and spicy scents lures visitors to the vibrant Central Market in Stone Town. Opened in 1904, the numerous stalls run over with tropical fruits, exotic spices, brightly coloured…

read more

House of Wonders (Beit el-Ajaib)

The first building in Zanzibar to have electricity and the first building in East Africa to have an elevator, Beit el-Ajaib (which translates into the House of Wonders) was the former ceremonial palace…

read more

Jozani Chwaka Bay Conservation Area

The largest conservation area in Zanzibar and the only remaining natural mangrove forest on the island, the Jozani Chwaka Bay Conservation Area is renowned for its hairy ape residents, the Red Colobus…

read more

Mafia Island

Mafia Island, along with Pemba and Zanzibar, form the famous Spice Islands off the coast of Tanzania. While the name conjures images of shady criminals and glamorous heists, the real riches of Mafia…

read more

Mtoni Palace Ruins

If you are looking for a place to escape the bustle of Stone Town for a few hours, head north to the peaceful Maruhubi and Mtoni Palace ruins. Sultan Said bin Sultan first built Mtoni between 1828…

read more

Northern Beaches of Zanzibar

There are many superb beaches and picturesque villages around Zanzibar ideal for those wanting to get away from the bustling town life, particularly along the northeast coast. Modestly veiled women…

read more

Old Dispensary

An architectural symbol of Zanzibar's diverse cultures and histories, the elaborate Old Dispensary was so named because it once housed a pharmacy, dispensary, and doctor. An affluent Ismaili…

read more

Old Fort

The Old Fort was built at the turn of the 17th century on the remains of a Portuguese church and crumbling Arab garrison. It was constructed to protect the lucrative Spice Islands from invading…

read more

Palace Museum

Illuminating the lifestyle of the Sultans of Zanzibar, the Palace Museum became the official residence of the Al Busid dynasty in 1911. Built in the 1890s, the extensive white building is…

read more

Peace Memorial Museum

Home to a wealth of Zanzibar's memorabilia, the Peace Memorial Museum is a great place to discover the intriguing history and culture of the islands. With exhibits including traditional…

read more

Pemba Island

The small and unspoilt Tanzanian island of Pemba is becoming a popular alternative for visitors seeking a quieter and less developed alternative to Zanzibar, located approximately 31 miles…

read more


Become our Zanzibar Travel Expert

We are looking for contributors for our Zanzibar travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Zanzibar or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.