Why Zanzibar Island should be on your travel bucket list this year

The beautiful blue waters at Nakupenda beach, Zanzibar. Photo | Pool

What you need to know:

If these places and activities don’t prompt you to plan a trip to Island, then you have lost your wanderlust

If I had to choose between a mountain safari and a beach destination, I would choose the beach for the simple reason that, beaches are therapeutic. That barefoot evening walk by the shore while feeling the gentle breeze on your face, listening to the waters, and watching the sun fade into the horizon is unsurpassed. Visiting Zanzibar made me realise why every travel enthusiast should visit the place at least once in their lifetime. 

Zanzibar also known as the spice island is one of the most popular beach destinations in East Africa and most people take it simply as a honeymoon destination or a place to get affordable spices but there is more to it than that. Zanzibar is a destination that offers something for every kind of traveler; be it for a wildlife lover, food traveler, watersport enthusiast, or eco-tourist. During our one-week stay, my new friends and I got to engage in several activities that made us fall in love with Zanzibar. Here is why you should also visit the spice island.

Swimming with turtles 

Swimming with sea turtles at Baraka Natural Aquarium in Nungwi beach, Zanzibar. Photo | Pool

Ever had an opportunity to swim with dolphins in Diani? Now imagine swimming with turtles at the Baraka Natural Aquarium in Nungwi Beach. This was one of my trip highlights. The aquarium is a small natural lagoon that serves as a sanctuary for sea turtles. They allow tourists to swim with the turtles and even feed them with seaweeds. The experience was a bit spooky at first but as time goes by, you get used to it. You don’t need to be a good swimmer as some of the spots in the aquarium are shallow enough and the turtles will swim toward you. The best time to visit the aquarium is before 11 am as afterward, it tends to be a bit crowded. The charges are $10 per person for unlimited time.

Nakupenda Beach

One thing you are assured of in Zanzibar is clean white sandy beaches and Nakupenda beach is proof. The beach has clear blue waters perfect for swimming and snorkeling to see the beautiful corals and the tropical fishes. If you are lucky enough, you can swim with the dolphins early in the morning. The most interesting part about Nakupenda beach is the sandbank which feels like a tiny sand island and is great for picnics or just chilling. 

Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park

This is the only National Park in the whole of Zanzibar. Don’t expect to see lions, elephants or any of the big five in this park as its main inhabitants are the endangered Zanzibar red colobus monkeys, bushbabies, tree hyrax, dozens of butterflies, and birds. The park is 50 square kilometers wide and is generally flat and suitable for a walking safari. There is a boardwalk leading to the mangrove area in the park that gives an elevated view of the park.

Stone Town and Prison Island

For a jog down the memory lane to understand the history of Zanzibar and get all information about slave trading, a walking tour around Stone Town is a mandatory activity to do. Stone town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for its rich cultural heritage. Most of the iconic landmarks in Zanzibar are found here. Forodhani market is also located in Stone town and is one of the must-visit places if you want to experience the true Zanzibar street food.

Spice Tour

Some of the artistically packaged spices from Jambo spice farm, Zanzibar. Photo | Pool

A trip to Zanzibar is not complete until you experience the spice tour. After all, Zanzibar is known as the spice island. This popular excursion takes about two hours and you get to visit spice farms and see how all these popular spices we buy in powder form are grown. The most surprising spices I saw were nutmeg and the achiote fruit which is used as a natural lipstick and it is what is used to give the tandoori chicken its red-orange colour.

To add to the list, Zanzibar is one of the cleanest destinations I have been to and it has very organised public transport. There is no worry about your movement in the town as they have taxi apps, tuk-tuks, buses, and motorcycles to ferry you from one point to another. The nightlife is on another level! Make sure to visit Kendwa rocks for a full moon beach party and Aluna beach club.

If the above-mentioned places and activities don’t prompt you to plan a trip to Zanzibar, then you have lost your wanderlust. 


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