Activities in Zanzibar
Honeymoon guide to Zanzibar
Zanzibar is a popular destination for honeymooners, and it’s not very surprising. The island’s tranquil beaches, little developed villages and beautiful sunsets make for an ideal romantic getaway. If you recently got hitched and you are planning your perfect honeymoon, those 6 activities should go on your list:
Candlelight dinner on the beach
Known as “Spice Island”, Zanzibar already offers a great selection of delicious food – but it gets even better if you can enjoy your meal right on the beach.
Many hotels and restaurant offer this special dinner option for honeymooners (and anyone else who is up for it). Overlook the Indian Ocean, listen to the waves, feel the sand between your toes... and enjoy your meal!
What is more romantic than watching the sunset together? Maybe enjoying a nice glass of wine on a traditional wooden dhow, while sailing into the sunset! Feel the wind in the sails, listen to the sounds of the ocean and get carried away by the beauty of the sun setting over the Indian Ocean.
Escape the daily grind with a relaxing massage – and what better way to enjoy this than together with the person you love. Many spas will offer couple massages, some even at a discounted rate or as part of a “Honeymoon Special”. They are so good, you will want to go for a massage every day of your stay!
The Rock restaurant
Located in the village of Michamvi, this is the most famous restaurant in Zanzibar thanks to its unique setting: As its name suggests, the restaurant sits on top of a rock in the Indian Ocean. Depending on the tide, you have to catch a little boat to get there or you can just walk through the lagoon. The restaurant is pretty small and immensely popular, so please make sure you have a reservation before you go.
Honeymoon Star gazing
Zanzibar’s sparsely populated areas make for some great stargazing opportunities! Without much light pollution (unlike in the busy rest of the world) you will be surprised how many stars you can see, including the milky way.
How about you and your partner take a stroll along the beach at night, with thousands of stars shining down on you.
Take a scuba diving course
Explore the underwater world with your significant other! Scuba diving is based on the "buddy principle" and who could be better to rely on than the person you want to spend the rest of your life with? Choose one of our PADI courses or book the Open Water course directly.
For more activity suggestions, read our post Top things to do in Zanzibar.
Top things to do in Zanzibar
"What activities can I do while I'm in Zanzibar?" is a question most of the travelllers ask when coming here. Of course, our first answer is always to come diving and snorkelling or take another PADI dive course, either at Mnemba or around Stone Town.
However, if you don't want to get wet or you have to find something to do between your dive and your flight, here are some suggestions:
1. Take a walking tour through Stone Town
Most tourists arrive in Stone Town just to grab a taxi and move on to a beach somewhere on the island. But the historic city center of Zanzibar is worth some exploring!
Zanzibar city’s old town was long known as the flourishing center of the spice trade and the capital of slave trade. Today visitors can explore maze-like alleys lined with countless houses, shops, galleries, bazaars and mosques. Because of the unique mix of Arab, Persian, Indian, European, and African traditions and styles, Stone Town was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.
By the way: The name “Stone Town” comes from the frequent use of coral stone throughout the whole city.
2. Explore Prison Island
Before this small island close to Stone Town became a tourist destination, it was used as a prison for rebellious slaves and was meant to be turned into an even bigger prison complex. This never happened, but instead the island was used as a quarantine station for yellow fever patients.
Today, Prison island is a favourite amongst tourists: everyone wants to see the giant tortoises (originally a present from the British governor of the Seychelles) that inhabit the island. We offer afternoon trips to this beautiful place.
3. Visit a Spice Farm
Zanzibar is known as “Spice Island”, so a visit to one of the many spice farms is a must. You will learn about a lot of exotic spices and fruits, with guides often climbing trees and digging up roots to show you as much as possible. In many places you will also get a hat or bag made from banana leaves – it’s an art how fast the locals can make them.
4. Learn (some) Kiswahili
Kiswahili is the local language of Zanzibar and the most widely spoken of the African languages. And it’s really not that hard to learn! Try to remember a few basic words, like “Jambo” (Hello), “Asante sana” (thank you) or “tafadhali” (please) and it will win you a big smile from the locals.
5. Shop at Darajani Market
Looking for souvenirs? The main market in Stone Town is a very good option to find cheap and authentic souvenirs for yourself or your friends at home. From Spices to Kangas (local kind of Sarong), handmade flip flops or woven baskets – you can find it all here. All the locals shop at this market too, so it’s usually very busy.
6. See the red colobus monkeys in Jozani Forest
Jozani Forest is the only National Park in Zanzibar and home to the Kirk's red colobus monkeys. This sub-species of red colobus monkey can only be found in Zanzibar and is at the centre of the island’s conservation efforts. Currently about 1000 of the little primates are living in the park.
7. Relax on the beaches
Zanzibar is famous for its long stretched white beaches, and every single one of them has a different vibe: relax on the little developed East coast between Matemwe and Kiwengwa, enjoy the view of Tumbatu island from Kendwa, take your perfect picture at Muyuni Beach or experience a busy night life in Nungwi.
With the flat lagoon and quiet beaches, Zanzibar is the perfect place to learn Kitesurfing. There are many kite surfing centers on the land, most of them located on the East coast of the island.
The weather in Zanzibar allows for great Kitesurfing most of the year – except April/May and November, since these 3 months are almost completely without wind.
9. Go to a festival
Zanzibar hosts 3 major festivals throughout the year that are well worth a visit if you are here during the right time:
The music festival Sauti za Busara (‘Sounds of Wisdom’) kicks off the season in February and features a wide range of African musicians over several days.
The Zanzibar International Film Festival was founded in 1997 and is today East Africa’s largest cultural festival. It features an international film competition, music, theatre and performing arts, seminars and much more. It takes place in the first 2 weeks of July.
The Zanzibar Beach and Watersports Festival takes place in November in the village of Jambiani. It’s a community festival that presents different kinds of watersports, competitions and delicious food options.
10. Take a sunset cruise
The best way to watch the stunning African sunset over the Indian Ocean is from a boat! Enjoy the ride on a traditional wooden dhow boat, all while sipping your favourite drink and listening to the waves. It’s a very popular activity for couples and honeymooners – book your trip here.
11. Find the Bush Baby
These small primates are found throughout East Africa, but Zanzibar has its own sub-species. If you listen closely, you can hear the cries of the local bush babies at night. While the cute possum-like creatures can be found all over Zanzibar, it’s not easy to actually spot them. Some hotels and restaurants have “resident” bush babies that like to visit the guests in the evening (and take all their bananas with them…).
You don't have to stay for several weeks or months, you can even volunteer for a day at Tamani Foundation. This school is located close to our dive centre in Matemwe and covers early childhood, primary & adult education. Tamani is a Foundation committed to helping students meet the challenges of secondary education through an English bilingual Nursery and Primary educational programme. They also offer computer classes for adults. Make a difference during your holiday by helping out, even just for a day!
If after all these "dry" activities you miss the ocean and its inhabitants, come back to take the plunge with us!
Donkey dive – Helping Zanzibar’s animals in need
Everywhere you go, you will find one of these small but strong associations trying to make
a difference. ZAASO is a community-based registered non-profit organisation that rescues,
adopts and provides shelter, foster care, medical treatment and valuable services to
animals in need.
ZAASO is not only fostering stray dogs and mistreated donkeys, they are keeping all our
pets healthy around the island. That’s right! Without them, all our beautiful dogs and cats
would be sick and suffering since finding vets on the island is nearly impossible and when
you do find one, well...
These people start working at 6:00 am and finish around midnight EVERY DAY. Their
passion gives them the energy to keep going forever, and thank god for them, because
they really are making a difference around here. How great are these people!
We cannot all give our time, our job and even our nationality (as the beloved founder did)
to help, but you can donate, you can help them treat our hairy friends.
We know that these days it feels like everyone around you is asking for money, and that
you can never be sure the money goes in the right hands. Well, think again, any small
contribution will go straight to the animals in need and we can guarantee you
that your money will go a long way.
If you still need any convincing you should visit the “donkey sanctuary” to see how magical
and special this organisation is. They welcome volunteers from all over the world who
come to spend their days doing magic all over Zanzibar, going along and assisting the in-
house veterinarians. Unfortunately, there is a real lack of awareness among people in
Zanzibar towards animal rights, and any aid to deal with mistreated and abandoned
animals is really appreciated.
Dive for animals in need
And we, One Ocean, want to do our part. We care, we are animal lovers and we are
happy and proud to organise our famous “Donkey Dives” and help ZAASO however
we can. Donkey dives are special days when all profits from diving and snorkelling
are given to ZAASO. So as well as giving to charity, treat yourself to a great day at sea,
under the sun, visit some fish friends and help our hairy friends in need. It is the perfect
Visit our facebook page to check our album on our last Donkey Dive! It was a lovely
Saturday, July the 2nd in Stone Town and it was grand! A lovely bunch joined us for diving and
snorkelling, it was nice and sunny and legen... wait for it... dary! Oh yes... over TZS
700,000 were raised in one day for this amazing association, we couldn’t be happier and
we cannot wait for the next one.
So if you are a resident living on this great rock, or simply a passing tourist, join us next
time we’re taking the plunge for ZAASO!