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Zanzibar – where you can kick off your hiking boots and shake off the safari dust.

It’s been an amazing week. Unforgettable. Your memory cards are full of the animals of the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater or the view from the top of Africa’s highest peak – Mount Kilimanjaro. Tanzania has taken your breath away and you’re contentedly tired. But you’re not ready to go home just yet.

Here, the culturally rich and astoundingly beautiful island of Zanzibar steps in. It’s the perfect hop over the Indian Ocean from Tanzania and the balmy turquoise waters are ever ready to welcome those feet that have been cooped up in boots for the past week or two.

First you have to fuel up on a touch of history in Stone Town. At 200 years, it’s the cultural heart of the island. Walking the cobblestoned streets and marveling at the intricately carved wooden doors, you’ll learn of the island in the 19th century when it was the base for the great explorers such as John Hanning Speke, Richard Burton and David Livingstone and when this was one of the world’s major hubs for spice trade – hence the charming nickname, Spice Island.

Learn of the slave trade that dominated the era as you admire the grand Arab mansions and strike a bargain at colourful bazaars. From here, it’s only a skip and a jump to the East Coast and your base for spending the next few days in nothing but your bikini.

Photo: Solly Levi

During August, September, December and January you’re bound to end up kiteboarding, whether you’re a pro or keen to try it for the first time. It’s the ideal way to get up close and personal with the crystal-shaded Indian Ocean waves cascading around you, the sun warm on your back and the cool air lashing through your hair.

Diving in Zanzibar is considered a bucket list for many and Mnemba Atoll is regarded as the best diving area in Zanzibar with excellent visibility of 20 to 30 metres. Mnemba Atoll is a diver’s paradise, home to floral coral gardens and many different species of fish such as puffer fish, frogfish, jackfish and Napoleon fish.

Launched in 2018, Linda Bahari Zanzibar aims to repopulate Coral reefs suffering from global warming and destruction, engaging the local community by way of ownership and education.  Communities are offered three-month internships where they are taught scuba diving, marine conservation, and beach cleanups. A visit to the coral nursery can be arranged, please support this important initiative. 

But maybe you’re still too tired for all of this. You simply don’t feel like exerting yourself any more than what is necessary. After all, you’re at one of the world’s most beautiful exotic destinations.

A stand-up paddling excursion through the mangrove swamps in Michamvi may suit your mood, or maybe you’re still not honest enough with yourself and you’d simply curl up in the shade somewhere with a book. For this, the endless beaches will welcome you. Find yourself a palm tree, roll out your towel and disappear in the quiet.

The day is drawing to a close and you’re keen to meet up with your friends and family again to tell them of the adventures you had. Do it in style on a sunset cruise on board a dhow – the traditional fishing boat used on the island. The cruise departs from Michamvi Bay, a beach barely touched by development, and takes you on a three-hour journey of the coral coves and prolific birdlife of this coastline.

After a few days of salt, sunscreen and swimming, you’re finally ready for the long-haul flight home. Some of the hundreds of pictures of elephants on your memory card may have been compromised, but at least you can say that you ended your African adventure in the best way possible – on the island of spice.

Stay at some of our favourites

The tricky part of any holiday is finding the type of accommodation that suits your style and budget. Luckily there are a myriad of options in Zanzibar to choose from. From 5-star boutique luxury and all-inclusive resorts to beach rustic vibes. That’s what makes it such an attractive destination to visit. Zanzibar has something for everyone. Check out our favourites here:

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