Zanzibar Island is famous for its spices and the slave trade of the 19th century. The Island is much more than a stopping point on an itinerary, and can be seen as a destination in itself. What the island offers is a unique combination of outstanding beaches, delicious food, best sunsets, interesting activities, such as visiting a working spice farm, and the cultural delights of Stone town. Our safaris in Zanzibar are conducted by knowledgeable guides with deep knowledge of local culture.
Spice, Fruits & Food Market Tour
Spices from Zanzibar are famous around the world and a holiday to Zanzibar would be incomplete without a visit to the spice plantations. The spice tours are actually quite informative and good value. Spice tour is probably the best way of seeing the countryside and meeting members of rural communities. The geographical nature of the island makes the spice tour to be organized in many villages both in Unguja and Pemba. However, the very popular village for spice tour is Kijichi or Kizimbani, approximately 5 kilometers from Stone town. The tour starts from 8:30 am and takes 2 to 3 hours depending on the activities to be done..
You will be overwhelmed by the abundance of botanical species growing in these gardens – exotic spices, fruits and vegetables. Many of the spices have medicinal properties and are still used by the local population to cure certain maladies. Savour different spices, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, vanilla or black pepper. Taste a variety of fruits ranging from the rose apple to the guava. Some rare plants like henna, perfume tree and lipstick tree are used for their value in preparing cosmetics. Our guides will take you on a walking tour of the spice farms at Kizimbani.
Tour begins after breakfast when you are picked up from your hotel and transfered to the fishing village of Kizimkazi. Before the tour start you will be given a life jacket demonstration followed by a briefing on the day’s excursion. You will then board the dhows and set off in search of the Dolphins (85% chances). The species frequently found at Menai Bay are Spinner and Bottlenose dolphins. You will be able to swim with the dolphins as long as they stay close to the boat, but is unlikely to be able to touch them, as they are of course wild animals. During the tour the guide will send you to one of the selected snorkelling locations. On the way to your hotel you will have an opportunities to visit the site of a 12th Century mosque, the earliest evidence of Islam in East Africa, and is thus worth a visit for both natural and cultural reason.
Stone Town is the heart of Zanzibar and an old town with winding narrow streets, historical buildings and the best food market in the evenings. This part of Zanzibar is referred by the local people as Mji mkongwe our guided safaris in this part of Zanzibar includes visits to the house of wonders, old dispensary Old Fort, former slave market, bazaars, old harbour , angelican cathedral and fruit, spices and good market.
Prison Island tour
Prison Island also known as the Changuu Island lies jusy off the Old Stone Town about 30 minutes by boat from stone town. Changuu Island was used as a penitentiary for rebel slaves by the sultans from the 1860s until the end of the slave trade. After which the British began building a prison on the island under the guidance of First Governor, Lloyd Matthews. This was completed in 1894. However, the ‘prison’ was only ever used as a quarantine centre for possible yellow-fever victims. Nowadays the island gives you the chance to escape for some peace and quiet. the island is a home to giant land tortoises that were imported from Seychelles in the 19th Century.
The tour starts from 9:00am-3:30pm, there you will be able to see the Giant tortoises, beautiful marine creatures, coral reef and it is also a best site for doing Snorkeling.Once on the island ,you have the opportunity to feed and pet the tortoises, some of which are over a hundred years old. If you have time you may also like to take a stroll through the forested interior where you will see a wide variety of birds,colorful peacocks, bats and beautiful butterflies.Keep your eyes peeled too for the shy and elusive Duikers – an unusual tiny antelope species.
Zanzibar Red Colubus monkeys
Jozani forest lies about 35 km south-east of Zanzibar town. It contains about 100 tree species from a total of 43 families. One of the most famous and endearing residents of the Jozani National Park is the Zanzibar Red Colobus monkey. Found only on the main island of Zanzibar, the Zanzibar Red Colobus is recognised as a separate species and is said to be endemic to Zanzibar. A visit to Zanzibar is not compete without seeing one of the rarest monkeys in Africa, with less than 2000 remaining in the world. Colobus Monkeys are leaf-eating arboreal spices and spend most of their time in trees. It is somewhat surprising to find, therefore, that the opposable thumb deemed most essential for dexterous arboreal primates, is reduced to a mere stump in the Colobus family (hence the name Colobus-from the Latin for “deformed”). Our local guide will take you on a walking trail inside the forest.
Zanzibar National Museum of History & Culture
The House of Wonders (Beit-al-Ajaib) is a very large square-shaped building, with several stories, surrounded by tiers of pillars and balconies, and topped by a large clock tower. It was built in 1883 as a ceremonial palace for Sultan Barghash and was the first in Zanzibar to have electric light and an electric lift. Not surprisingly, when it was built, the local people called it Beit el Ajaib, meaning the House of Wonders. It was damaged in 1896 during the Shortest War in History (only lasting 40 minutes), the palace was the target of British bombardments intended to force the Sultan Khalid bin Barghash, who had tried to seize the throne after the death Sultan Hamad, to abdicate in favour of a British nominee.
After its rebuild, Sultan Hamad, who ruled Zanzibar from 1902 to 1911, used its upper floor as a residential palace until his death. Nowadays the house is used a National Museum of History & Culture. Inside it houses exhibits on the dhow culture of the Indian Ocean (ground floor) and on Swahili civilisation and 19th-century Zanzibar (1st floor). Everything is informatively labelled in English and Swahili, and well worth visiting. Just inside the entrance is a life-size mtepe – a traditional Swahili sailing vessel made without nails, the planks held together with only coconut fibres and wooden pegs.