What to do in Zanzibar, the spice islands

The Zanzibar islands are part of Tanzania in east Africa and they have so much to offer. We decided to make the trip to the main island because it was such a short flight from Nairobi where we were staying while in Kenya.

What you’ll need/ need to know:

  • A passport
  • A visa, which can be done online, however you will really, really want to pay attention and make sure you have the correct site. You can always do it upon arrival.
  • BE SURE TO BRING YOUR VACCINATION CARD – this is the one place I’ve been where they really did check for it.
  • Bring cash – aside from our lodging, we paid for everything in cash and everyone quoted us prices in U.S. Dollars.
  • Respect the culture and don’t wear shorts!

Basque in the Sun

Zanzibar has so many options for enjoying the incredible ocean and white sand beaches, but we opted to spend the majority of our time relaxing at a resort on the east side of the island after our non-stop adventures in Kenya. You can read all about it in our posts, What to do in Kenya: a traveler’s guide and Packing for a safari in Kenya – a guide. Resort life consisted of eating, drinking, spa time, long walks on the beach and relaxing in the sun. If you enjoy diving or snorkeling, there are options to do these activities as well.

Legs relaxing at beach in Zanzibar

Dance at the Full Moon Party

We were lucky enough to be in Zanzibar for the epic Full Moon Party. This beach dance party goes all night and is such a blast. There is music, dancing, food, drinks, hookah, lights, cool sand, the ocean, and of course the brilliant full moon. So, if after your relaxing day you are ready to get out and have a great time, this is the place to be. People come from all over the island for the party! After spending several days tucked quietly away at our resort, I was astonished to see that there were so many people around!

Moon over Ocean in Zanzibar

Visit a Spice Farm

If you want to get out and about but are looking for something a little more low key, you should visit a Spice Farm. We went to Tangawizi Spice Farm and it was so much fun and so incredible to see where so many of our spices come from! We saw cardamon, cloves, nutmeg, pepper, cinnamon, vanilla, lemon grass, pineapple and even the lipstick plant annatto. The list goes on and on. We also got to see how coconut trees are climbed and had fresh coconut along with many other fruits.

Pineapple grown from plant

Spend some time in Stone Town

This UNESCO World Heritage Centre is a relaxed but busy ocean-side town with winding streets and allies where you could wander for hours. It has such a deep history and it is well worth taking a little time to explore. From seafront restaurants and coffee shops perfect for watching an ocean sunset to beautifully designed doors reflecting a mixture of influences to it’s history in the slave trade, Stone Town has a lot to offer. It’s also the birthplace of Freddie Mercury! Check out my blog, 14 things to do in Stone Town for even more suggestions.

Old door in Stone Town
View All Posts