Zanzibar & Stonetown
Sultry and mysterious, the island of Zanzibar is the biggest of the “Spice Islands”. Tourists flock to Zanzibar for the beautiful beaches, snorkelling, spice tours, centuries old Arabic architecture and the ambiance that isn’t replicated anywhere in the world. It is a perfect paradise for indulging after climbing Kilimanjaro or a bone-jarring safari on rough roads.
Stonetown was awarded status as a World Heritage Site in 2000 and is accessed by a short flight from Arusha or a two hour ferry ride from Dar es Salaam.
Part of the archipelago of Zanzibar, Pemba is an unspoilt utopia with few visitors. Situated in the warm blue waters of the Indian Ocean, this tropical paradise has little tourist infrastructure, providing a genuine island experience of culture and landscape. Attractions in Pemba include swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, fishing, forest trekking, historical ruins, and bull fights- though the bulls are not killed, but decorated and praised with flowers!
Mafia Island has less than 1000 visitors per year, and is absolutely unblemished; a picture-perfect Swahili coastal destination. Having been described as the best place for diving in all of East Africa, Mafia Island has been elected a Marine Park by the World Wide Fund for Nature, as it is surrounded by a dense coral reef. You can enjoy visiting a population of pygmy hippopotamus in a discreet lagoon, the excavated ruins of Kua, as well as cycling and hiking.
Set upon the Pangani River, this was once home to historic Arab slave traders. This coastal destination is on the Tanzanian mainland, a perfect stop point between the Northern and Southern Circuits. Untouched beaches, coconut tours, and dinosaur fossils are some of the attractions in this beach side village.
One of the largest cities of Tanzania, Tanga, lies between the North and South Circuits. Here you can enjoy the beaches, bike riding, and visiting the imaginative Amboni Caves. A major attraction close to the port is the ruins of a large mosque from the trading era, containing over 40 tombs.
Approximately four kilometers from the coast of the mainland, Kilwa Island is considered one of the most important Swahili historical sites in East Africa. The ruins here have been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and are the main attraction on the island. Mahdali, the main city, was once the most powerful and prosperous city of the Asian-African trade in gold, iron, ivory, textiles, jewellery, and spices.
A quaint coastal town of the mainland, Bagamoyo was once the centre of slave and ivory trading. History’s presence is strong here, with 19th century architecture, and an original slaving building still standing. Here attractions include the Kaole ruins, sailboat building, lovely beaches, and Bagamoyo College of the Arts, a famous school of visual arts.
Just outside of Stonetown, Jozani Forest was established to preserve some of the last indigenous forest on the island of Zanzibar. This National Park is home to the rare and unique Kirk’s Red Colobus monkey and there is a beautiful boardwalk that snakes deep through the mangrove forest.
Saadani National Forest
This is a coastal national park on the mainland of Tanzania. This is only park that embraces the Indian Ocean, and is the genuine “bush to beach” adventure. Saadani’s 1100 square km is home to countless species of animals, and affords game drives and bush walks to rival the other more-frequented parks, with the added benefit of tranquility and the ocean.