The best of Zanzibar 2023

Picture of Frank Neumann

General information

Zanzibar is an island in the Indian Ocean and part of the country of Tanzania. The island is located east of the African mainland and northwest of Madagascar. The island is about 90 kilometers long, 30 kilometers wide and consists of several islands, the two largest of which are Unguja (also known as Zanzibar) and Pemba. There are also a number of smaller islands, including Mafia Island, Chumbe Island and Latham Island. All of these islands together form the Zanzibar Archipelago.
The island is also known as the Spice Island, is a dream destination for those seeking nature, culture and adventure. The island is located in the Indian Ocean and is part of Tanzania. With its white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and exotic landscapes, the island offers a unique vacation experience. The archipelago is also known for its rich history and culture, which is reflected in the ancient buildings, markets and temples.
Zanzibar offers a wealth of activities for adventurers and nature lovers. Visit the turtle reserves and observe the sea creatures in their daily activities. Dive into the underwater world and discover the colorful coral reefs and exotic fish species. Or wander through the green tea and spice plantations and learn more about the history of spice production on the island.
Whether you want to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature, get an insight into the island’s history and culture or experience exciting adventures, there is something for everyone. Visit the island to enjoy an unforgettable vacation experience and get an insight into the unique culture and history of Africa.
The most beautiful beaches are located in the northwest of Unguja Island.
This is where we spent our vacation. The drive to the south of the island, e.g. to Zanzibar Town, takes about 1 1/2 hours from the northern tip.
Sansibar Map
Zanzibar Map

Best travel time and weather

When is the best time to visit Zanzibar?

The best time to visit depends on personal preferences and activities. Generally speaking, the dry seasons in January and February and from June to October are the best time to visit, as the weather is stable and warm during this time. The rainy season lasts from March to May and there can be heavy rainfall and strong winds.
The climate is tropical and humid. The average temperature is around 27°C to 32°C all year round. The island’s location on the equator ensures plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures. However, it is important to note that sudden rain showers can occur during the rainy season. Nevertheless, it is warm even in the rainy season and it does not rain constantly.
To summarize, there is no bad time to visit. Just choose the best travel time for you based on your plans and preferences.

Tips on entry, money and electricity

Entry & Visas

To spend your vacation in Zanzibar, you must apply for a visa in advance. If you want to save yourself the stress at the airport, you can do this online from the comfort of your own home. The best way to do this is to go to the Tanzanian Immigration Department website. The cost per visa is currently 50 US dollars. The visa is compulsory for all visitors. In addition, your vaccination status will be checked on arrival at the airport (vaccination card or app)

Money and payment options

The currency in Zanzibar is the Tanzanian shilling. The current exchange rate is 1 euro = approx. 2,400 shillings. However, it is highly advisable to take dollars with you. On the one hand, it is a stable currency for the people there, which is very popular, and on the other hand, small denominations are also very good as a welcome tip. You can also pay by card in the hotel and in some stores in StoneTown. However, you should not set off with this requirement, but rather stock up on cash.


Zanzibar has 220-240V at 50Hz, just like in Germany. Type D and G plugs are normally used here, but many hotels have already converted their sockets to multi-standard so that Euro plugs can also be used without any problems.
However, short power cuts are to be expected regularly in the evening. However, most hotels have their own powerful emergency power generators to cope with these and guests will hardly notice.

Excursion tips on Zanzibar

the rock

"The Rock is a small but very fine restaurant on the east coast of the island. The special thing about this restaurant is not only the very good quality of the food, but also the location. The restaurant was built on a rock very close to the coast. At low tide you can reach it on foot, and at high tide there is a boat shuttle. However, quality plus an exposed location comes at a price.

jozani forrest

The Jozani National Park or Jozani Forest is located in the southern part of the main island. It is home to the red colobus monkeys, which can only be found on Zanzibar. There are also many other animals and mahogany trees to marvel at. It is advisable to book a half-day tour of the park with a visit to "The Rock" restaurant. The price for this is between 50-75 dollars.


Manemba Island is a beautiful private island in the north-east. The owner of this island is none other than Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who has created an exclusive resort here. Around the island, however, is the playground of many dolphins. Unfortunately, we can't really recommend the snorkeling excursions on offer. They have degenerated into real dolphin hunts.

spice garden

Spice Garden bzw. Gewürz Gärten oder Plantagen gibt es zu Hauf auf Sansibar. Die meisten davon gehören privaten Bauern und sehen eigentlich eher wie natürlich gewachsene Flora aus. Was aber definitiv beeindruckt, ist die schiere Vielfalt. Neben Nelkenbäumen, Kaffee, Vanille, Zitrusfrüchten, Muskat, Zimt gibt es bis auf Apfelbäume fast nichts, was hier nicht wächst.Fast vergleichbar mit
Sri Lanka.
Es empfiehlt sich, Spice Garden in einem Tagesausflug mit Stonetown und Prison Island zu verbinden.

stone town

Stone Town is the name given to what is now a small part of the capital city of Zanzibar. The old district is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and takes its name from the many buildings that were built from the early 19th century using light-colored coral limestone. Unfortunately, many of the buildings are still not in the best condition. But a visit to the market, the narrow alleyways and the former slave market is still worthwhile. As an insider tip, I would like to suggest a visit to one of the many rooftop cafés. These offer a very nice view over the city.

prison island

Prison Island or Changuu Private Island is a small island off Stone Town. It can be reached after a 30-minute boat ride. This island was never really a prison island. Rather, it served as a quarantine station for yellow fever patients. Today, the island is mainly known for its giant tortoises. The up to 198-year-old Aldabra giant tortoises weigh around 250 kg and grow up to 1.22 meters long. You can watch the turtles hatch between April and May.

Hotel recommendation

Riu Palace Zansibar


Nungwi Rd, Nungwi, North Coast Zanzibar 73107, Tansania

Fon: +255 24 550 1500

One of the top 5 hotels on the island of Zanzibar is the RIU Palace

The hotel is located directly on Kendwa Beach, one of Zanzibar’s dream beaches, almost at the northern tip of the main island of Unguja.
The 5-star resort is approx. 66 km (1 1/2 hours by car) from the airport. It is built on a slight slope so that you have a wonderful view of the sea from every room.

The rooms range from normal double rooms to Jacuzzi suites and exclusive villas. The reception is located at the highest point.

The main restaurant, the 3 specialty restaurants as well as the pool and show stage are all down by the sea. If you have your room in the upper part of the complex, it is a good workout. A shuttle service is also available for older people or guests who are more comfortable. In addition to a spa area, there are also many opportunities for sporting activities.

The hotel is an Adults Only hotel. The minimum age for hotel guests is 18 years. Particularly worth mentioning is the extremely good service, which is not a matter of course in other 5-star hotels.

I can really only recommend this hotel, without any ifs or buts.

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