It’s time to put the tropical island of Zanzibar – just off the coast of Tanzania - on your travel bucket list for 2018. Why should you take our word for it? Well, we’ve been running volunteer projects here for over 10 years and during this time have come up with our Top 10 Reasons to Visit Zanzibar.
1. Stunning beaches and romantic sunsets
Imagine basking in the late afternoon sun, on silky white sand just a stone’s throw away from the Indian Ocean. You’re in one of the lesser-known travel paradises in the world. On the horizon you see a pod of dolphins as the sun starts to go down. Sounds like the stuff of dreams, doesn’t it? But in Zanzibar, it’s real.
With the average temperature between 24 and 28 degrees Celsius each day, there’s no need to book for a particular time of year. Such is life for Zanzibar locals – c’est la vie!
2. The perfect backdrop for #travelgram pictures.
Dhows, dolphins and food markets make for the perfect photos! If turquoise oceans and white sandy beaches are more your vibe, you’re in luck too. If you’re an enthusiastic travel photographer, Zanzibar should be top of your list.
3. Stone Town, Zanzibar’s cultural capital, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Stone town is a national treasure. The only word that can be used to explain this town is ‘ancient’. The untouched architecture boasts of the medieval century it was built in and has earned it the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The narrow alleyways leading to bazaars and mosques create a romantic notion of the “old days” in Zanzibar and are a must-visit for tourists.
4. Love marine life? Zanzibar has world-class coral reefs.
The fauna and flora around the coast of Zanzibar is indescribable – definitely a site to be seen with your own eyes. Snorkeling is an everyday activity for visitors to this island; but when you stay in a place like Zanzibar, why wouldn’t you snorkel every day?! Pods of dolphins, colorful reefs and shoals of beautiful fish are quintessential parts of life in Zanzibar’s underwater world, which can be explored best by scuba-diving.
For an even more immersive experience, check out our marine conservation volunteer program that works to protect all marine life in the area.
5. Sustainable Ecotourism Experiences
We are all about responsible travel; exploring a destination in such a way that both respects and benefits the local people and environment. Zanzibar has got this right. They offer visitors a wealth of different eco-tourism experiences that ensure the long-term sustainability of their ecosystem and cultures. Whether you’re staying in an eco-lodge, volunteering with us on our community or marine conservation program, or undertaking an ethical dolphin tour, add the ‘responsible traveler’ badge to your belt when you next travel.
If watching a pod of dolphins dancing in the waves is not enough, Zanzibar offers visitors the once-in-a-lifetime chance of swimming with wild dolphins. The income from dolphin tourism is a huge part of Zanzibar’s economy, which is why our volunteers help train local boat drivers in how to conduct ethical tours that also consider the conservation and preservation of these incredible animals.
Booking your flights to Zanzibar already? Be sure to find an ethical dolphin tour.
7. Friendly people
Tanzanians are lovely, friendly people. As a Swahili nation, you might initially have trouble communicating with the locals, but it won’t stop their efforts to ensure you feel part of the community. Whether you stop to buy fresh fish on the beach, browse through the fruit markets, or island-hop on one of the traditional boat taxi’s, the Zanzibaris are always ready to welcome you and show you their way of life.
8. The Spice Island
Zanzibar, also known as the ‘Spice Island’, farms aromatic spices that are often used in Western homes – cloves, black pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemongrass. Ever wondered how these herbs make it from their homeland to your kitchen? Well, spice farms are open for touring.
9. Local Markets and Fresh Seafood
The nature of island life means fishing is an integral part of a local’s daily life. While a restaurant in the US or UK might serve up a freshly caught line-fish to your table to enjoy, the experience is certainly not as beautiful as the one in Zanzibar. As a foodie, understanding the story behind your plate is an experience in itself. To see fresh seafood and smell the spices – the de facto of the land – makes every meal a memory.
1 Tanzanian Shilling (TZS) is 0,00045 US Dollars (USD). Yes, you heard that right. Foreigners really can get bang for their buck by visiting this beautiful spot, while the income generated from tourism goes a long way to ensuring a brighter and more sustainable future for the local people who called this island their home. That being said, the memories you create and experiences you encounter in Zanzibar are priceless.