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Top 15 things to do in Zanzibar in 2023

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

Zanzibar, also known as the Spice Island, is a tropical paradise located in Tanzania. With its stunning beaches, crystal clear waters, and rich cultural heritage, Zanzibar is a must-visit destination for any traveler.

If you plan to visit Zanzibar in 2023, here are the top 10 things you should not miss out on.

Section 1: Nightlife

Zanzibar may be known for its idyllic beaches and laid-back but the island also has a vibrant nightlife scene. From beach parties to rooftop bars, Zanzibar has it all. One of the best places to experience the island's nightlife is Stone Town, the historic center of Zanzibar City. Here you'll find a range of bars, clubs, and music venues. For a truly unique experience, head to the Forodhani Night Market, where you can sample local street food and enjoy live music performances.

If you're looking for something more laid-back, head to one of the beach bars along the coast. The Kendwa Rocks Beach Hotel is a popular spot for sunset drinks, while the Rock Restaurant in Pingwe offers stunning ocean views and delicious cocktails.

No matter what your nightlife preference, Zanzibar has something for everyone.

Here are our favourite spots, the best drinks, hangouts & Nightclubs, in Zanzibar

Kae Funk Sunset Beach Bar:

This bar is great for drinks and live music with the best sunset views.

Kendwa Rocks :

Check out their Full moon party every month

Forodhani Gardens :

If you’re looking for fun after dark, but want to avoid the usual clubs and pubs, try heading down to Forodhani Gardens. The street market comes alive at night with performers, food stalls, and vendors. Some youth jump in the ocean at sunset, which is an excellent time to people-watch.

Why not club x Jambo beach house :

Why not club usually host weekly events for Electronic music lovers? Jambo Beach house often hosts beach parties with DJs as special guests.

Taarab Restaurant :

If you're in Stone Town make your way to this restaurant for dinner and live music.

Rooftop bar, Z hotel :

Our all-day dining 2-floor restaurant & bar – cinnamon/rooftops is situated on the 1st & 2nd floor overlooking the ocean and the amazing Zanzibar sunset

The Sunset Bar

Africa House Hotel - Great for drinks and a great sunset view.

6 Degrees South:

Stonetown, Website: Plot 60, Waterfront Shangani St, Zanzibar

Beach House Club,

Shangani Street Zanzibar, Stonetown TZ, 4255,

If you want to find out the best parties & night event you can check out the website: We are Zanzibar

Section 2: Excursions

Zanzibar is full of natural beauty and unique cultural experiences, and there's no better way to explore the island than by taking an excursion. One of the most popular excursions is the Spice Tour, where you can learn about the island's rich history of spice farming and sample fresh spices straight from the source.

If you're feeling adventurous, take a trip to Jozani Forest, the last remaining indigenous forest in Zanzibar. Here you can see rare species such as the red colobus monkey and explore the mangrove swamps.

For a more relaxing excursion, take a sunset cruise along the coast or visit one of the many secluded beaches on the island.

Here are our favourite excursions for a week to 10 days holidays:

Safari Blue:

Bucket-list Zanzibar experiences come by the bucket load on this full-day tour. You'll sail in a traditional wooden dhow boat into Menai Bay Conservation Area to see the sandbank that grows and disappears, have a seafood lunch on Kwale Island on a sandbank, snorkel at two reefs, spot dolphins, and even climb ancient baobab trees... Snorkeling is the order of the day.

Visit a Spice Farm :

You will learn about the benefit of each plant/ tree/herb and being treated to fresh coconut and plant-based decorations:

Prison Island:

Enjoy a half-day tour of Changuu Island and learn more about its rich history. Take a look at the giant tortoises and feed them with salad then chill out snorkeling and sunbathing before going back to Stone Town...

Stonetown tour:

If you want to make the most of your time in Stone Town, taking a walking tour with a knowledgeable guide is a great way to do it. They’ll take you to many of the main sights in town, whilst explaining the history of the island and pointing out all of the intricate details of the architecture that you may not notice or understand on your own. Check the directory to book a Stone Town tour guide.

Mnemba Island Snorkelling:

A trip out to the Mnemba Atoll and go snorkelling or scuba diving in one of the most beautiful spots around. You’ll find an abundance of marine life and may even see some dolphins!

Nungwi Turtle Mnarani Baraka Aquarium:

Experience a real turtle at the Nungwi Mnarani Aquarium. Here, turtles are treated and healed of any illnesses before being released into the ocean. Get the chance to swim with these incredible animals and feed them.

Visit Migumi Safari Park:

A great introduction to Tanzanian safari, with a 1-day Safari game and Private jet landing inside the park. An experience to remember.

Tanzania is an East African country and is home to one of the most beautiful islands in the Indian Ocean, Zanzibar, the highest mountain in Africa, Kilimanjaro, and the Serengeti national park recently crowned the best safari park in Africa. Mikumi National Park is a national park near Morogoro, Tanzania with an area of 3,230 km² that was established in 1964. It is the fourth largest in the country. The park is crossed by Tanzania's A-7 highway

Visit Jozani Forest:

Be ready to hike a bit on flat ground, and observe the redback and blackback monkeys. This expedition takes you straight into the heart of nature. Follow your guide to hear about the delicate ecosystem, see its animals, learn the medicinal properties of its plants, and view the stunning scenery.

Kuza Cave:

Many visitors miss out on the hidden caves in different areas of Zanzibar as it's off the beaten path. Kuza Cave is my personal favourite as it offers a unique experience for adventurous nature lovers and has a crystal clear mineral water pool that you can swim in.

Section 3: Food places

Zanzibar's cuisine is a fusion of African, Indian, and Arabian influences, making it a food lover's paradise. One of the best places to sample local cuisine is the Forodhani Night Market, where you can try everything from grilled seafood to Zanzibar pizza.

For a more upscale dining experience, head to the Emerson Spice Hotel in Stone Town, where you can enjoy a traditional Swahili dinner in a beautiful rooftop setting.

If you're looking for something more international, Zanzibar has a range of restaurants serving everything from Italian to Japanese cuisine. The rooftop restaurant at the Maru Maru Hotel is a popular spot for sushi lovers, while the Livingstone Beach Restaurant in Stone Town offers a fusion of African and European flavors.

Here are our favourite spots:

The Rock Restaurant:

His is the most famous restaurant in Zanzibar which is located in the middle of the ocean near the beautiful Michanwi Pingwe beach. It’s well worth the visit just before sunset! It's best to make a reservation before you visit.

Blue Dongwe Jetty (££-£££):

This restaurant has beautiful views of the ocean and serves the best seafood. They also serve African and Italian food.

Kae Funk Sunset Beach Bar (££-£££):

This is a good place to come for lunch!

Fishers Restaurant(£):

An affordable seafood restaurant, perfect for budget travelers.

Baladin Zanzibar Beach Hotel & Restaurant (£££):

A good restaurant at a boutique hotel.

Forodhani Market (£):

Simply head there for a variety of local food in Stone Town. It’s where most of the people head for dinner and have a real first taste of traditional local food.

Emerson Zanzibar (££££):

They actually have 3 restaurants onsite all offering different experiences. I would recommend going for a traditional tea ceremony and then dinner at sunset at their rooftop restaurant.

Section 4: Further exploration - Pemba island & Mafia Island

If you have extra time in Zanzibar, consider taking a trip to Pemba Island or Mafia Island. Pemba Island is known for its pristine coral reefs and is one of the best places in the worldeling. Mafia Island, on the other hand, is a more off-the-beaten-path destination, known for its untouched beaches and laid-back atmosphere.

Both islands are easily accessible from Zanzibar by plane or ferry, and offer a unique glimpse into the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Tanzania.

Overall, Zanzibar destination that has something for everyone. Whether you're looking for adventure, relaxation, or cultural experiences, Zanzibar is sure to deliver.

You can also read our previous blog posts about Zanzibar & Tanzania mainland:

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Client testimonials which we have helped planning their trips to Zanzibar & Mainland Tanzania

Ayoka, Joanna and Friend & Family group trip to Zanzibar & Tanzanian Safari, October- November 2022, Travel planner service

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Giselle and Family, London, UK, group trip to Zanzibar & Tanzanian Safari (Day trip to Migumi), February 2023, Travel planner service

"Christina- Melanin Travels Magic- was fantastic, so glad I found her!

I told Christina what I wanted to do and also asked for her advice. Christina put it all together effortlessly, no hassle, no stress and then sent me my itinerary.

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