About Zanzibar

Perhaps nowhere captures the traveler’s imagination more than Zanzibar and its tales of Sinbad the Sailor.

Zanzibar’s Stone Town is a living museum of influences brought here from Persia, Arabia, Europe and the Indian subcontinent.

With beaches to rival anywhere on the planet and clear seas where pods of dolphins playfully swim amongst the shoals of brightly colored fish, Zanzibar is an island delight just waiting to be explored.

Find your ideal place to stay – right on the beachfront – with FlipKey

About Zanzibar Island

Shirazi traders from Persia were the first group to establish a settlement on Zanzibar in the 8th century, with the island developing into a powerful city-state under Arab rule that supplied slaves and traded gold, ivory and wood with Asia in return for spices textiles and glassware.

The Golden Age of Zanzibar came to an end when the Portuguese arrived in the 16th century only to be replaced by Omani Sultans who eventually surrendered to the British 300 years later ruling by ruling under a British protectorate until joining an independent Tanzania in 1964.

Throughout the city there lies relics and museums that speak to the history of this wonderful vacation spot. You just need to know where to look, so keep that guidebook handy!

For the more adventurous, you should try the Octopus Curry (mchuzi wa pweza). It's a favorite in Zanzibar and a delicious creamy dish. Yum!

What to do

Ease into Zanzibar with a visit to the formal Forodhani Gardens where you can relax at a waterfront café before exploring the delights of Stone Town.

Visit the Beit el-Sahel Museum, a reconstruction of Sultan Seyyid Said’s palace that was destroyed by a British bombardment in 1896. See how the Sultan and his family lived while also visiting the adjacent harem.

For an insight into Zanzibar’s dark past, take a tour of the old slave quarters found beneath the Anglican Cathedral and St Monica’s Hostel.

For unbelievable sights, sounds and smells, visit Zanzibar’s main Darajani Market early in the morning to witness the fish auction and to search for that hard to find souvenir.

Top Zanzibar Island travel tips

For the best weather we suggest that you book your Zanzibar vacation anywhere from June till October when temperatures average 26°C.

Rent a bicycle or moped from one of the shops near to the Darajani Market and explore Zanzibar at your own pace away from the other tourists.

When arriving in Zanzibar by either ferry or plane you will be surrounded by taxi drivers all looking to pick up a fare. Agree on a price before you get in knowing that the fare to Stone Town should be Tsh 11,000 (around $10–$15).

For the perfect start to the evening, take a sunset cruise on a traditional Arab dhow before enjoying an amazing seafood dinner.

Take time for tea. Being a Muslim nation the locals love their tea, so be sure to go and say hello at one of the local cafés. Try the tangawizi (ginger) chai tea and add some vanilla – you are in the Spice Islands after all!

A beach vacation in Zanzibar is a perfect way to relax after an exciting Tanzanian Safari and with FlipKey offering affordable beachfront accommodation, there’s no reason not to spoil yourself with a week in the sun.