Zanzibar is an amazing island. A place that attracts sun-hungry tourists every year with its extraordinary beauty with its nature and charming landscapes. And no wonder – white beaches and turquoise-blue sea look live exactly like in travel agency folders. In addition, the favorable weather practically all year round gives the image of a real paradise on earth.
However, not all tourists are interested only in lying on the beach with a drink in their hand. Some are also keenly interested in getting to know this relatively small island, its history, interesting places, tourist attractions and local culture.
This type of experience is provided by optional trips to Zanzibar.
This island is a real paradise for boat lovers and diving enthusiasts. However, many more attractions await tourists here.
Zanzibar visited on optional trips shows not only the beauty of wild nature, but also the extraordinary hospitality of its inhabitants. A mix of cultures, plantations of utility plants that we only know from shop shelves or wild, exotic animals at your fingertips will surely be an unforgettable adventure.
Optional excursions in Zanzibar
Arriving on vacation in Zanzibar, we can use the offer of our travel agency and purchase an optional trip. We can also support local business and be tempted to travel with a local guide.
Of course, the latter option will be cheaper if we bargain properly.
Sometimes even two or three times the price of excursions with a resident. However, you have to be aware that, as in other African countries, there is a risk that we will be cheated or tricked.
You can even stumble upon stories about tourists who, taken on a trip, had to pay extra to come back at all. On the other hand, many people took advantage of the services of local travel agencies, or, speaking directly from the offers of nagging locals and driven to places known only to the natives, they returned very pleased.
So we leave the choice to individual consideration.
The truth is that there are five of the most popular attractions in Zanzibar, and thus also optional trips. Therefore, whether we buy them from a resident or a local travel agency, they will be more or less the same trips.
- visiting Stone Town,
- a trip to one of the spice plantations,
- a trip to Jozani Forest and Prison Island,
- or one of the ship cruises, including the so-called Blue Safari, during which you can dive or snorkel,
- you can also take other trips, such as a voyage in search of dolphins and whales,
- to these five attractions, we would also add a visit to the fishing village of Nungwi, where there is a turtle farm,
- some of these optional trips combine two, sometimes three places, so that you can see as much as possible in one day. Most of them are also suitable for the youngest participants.
We will briefly discuss each of these attractions in Zanzibar and what can be seen and visited by purchasing the optional excursion of your choice:
Optional trip to Stone Town
Stone Town – is a district of the island’s capital of the same name, i.e. Zanzibar. A must-see for most of the optional city tours.
Narrow winding streets, bazaars, Arab houses and mosques exist side by side. It is in this part of the city that you can see the influences of various cultures and the rather turbulent history of the island itself.
Construction and architecture in this place show the presence of various nationalities: African, Arab and Indian. All this meant that the oldest district of Zanzibar was entered on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
During an optional trip around Stone Town, we visit the Sultan’s Palace, an old Arab fortress from the 17th century, or the Anglican cathedral, which stands on the site of the former slave market. You can admire the unusually ornate building of the old infirmary or the House of Miracles (Museum of History and Culture).
We will also see a commemorative plaque, embedded in one of the tenement houses, commemorating Freddie Mercury, born in Zanzibar.
Unfortunately, it is not known exactly in which house he lived here for eight years of his life, and there are several versions; )
Another place worth visiting is Forodhani Park, where after 8 p.m. there is a night market every day, where local delicacies are served. Sometimes trips to this night bazaar are organized as a separate optional trip.
Optional trip to the spice plantation
Spice plantation in Zanzibar – few people realize that Zanzibar is a real spice basin. The island has cardamom, pepper, vanilla, nutmeg, cloves, turmeric and cinnamon trees. There are plenty of offers for this type of optional excursions, the main attraction of which is a visit to a spice plantation.
It is an extremely educational trip, thanks to which everyone can see with their own eyes how pepper or vanilla grows in natural conditions, which turn out to be climbers surrounding other plants.
Usually, each tourist gets to taste or see a little bit of a given plant. In addition, the plantation also includes banana trees, pineapples, lime trees, coffee trees and coconut trees.
Therefore, you can try fresh exotic fruits by the way. Of course, it is also possible to buy the local crops, i.e. spices. Optional trip, the so-called the spice tour takes the form of a walk in nature.
Optional trip to Prison Island
Prison Island in Zanzibar – as the name suggests, it is a condemned island. Its name comes from a prison built in the 19th century, which, however, never had the opportunity to fulfill its function.
It did come in handy as a quarantine facility for fear of yellow fever. However, in 1919, the giant tortoises, donated by the king of Seychelles, were placed here. Thus began the breeding of these long-lived animals, which now has more than 50 individuals. Each of them can weigh more than 300 kg and live over 200 years. Their age is marked / written on the shell.
The attraction of this optional excursion is not only to admire these majestic giants, but also to feed them. On the island itself, there is also a small beach and a reef that you can admire while snorkeling.
Due to the close proximity to the city of Zanzibar, this optional trip is very often combined with a visit to Stone Town. However, if you want to avoid the resident’s travel agency margin, you can sail to Prison Island yourself, choosing a boat in the port that will take you there for much less money.
Optional trip to Jozani Forest
Jozani Forest in Zanzibar – is a fragment of a rainforest and a real jungle, located in a nature reserve, which in turn is part of the Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park.
This place is famous not only for its lush vegetation, but also for the presence of the monkey species that can only be found here – the Red Colobus. While walking along the marked paths, you can come across them here. Monkeys tend to keep their distance and are not bothersome. In addition, the treetops are home to 40 species of various birds and even more butterflies and hard to spot Blue Monkeys. The optional Jozani Forest trip takes place in three stages. First, you walk through the jungle among ficuses and baobabs, then look for unique monkeys, and the last stage is walking through the mangrove forest. At this point, above the tangle of roots, a wooden footbridge is built, which makes sightseeing much easier.
In the case of this optional trip in Zanzibar, you can also bypass the intermediaries and get to the reserve yourself, where you buy a ticket at the entrance, which includes a guided tour.
Ship cruises in Zanzibar
Ship cruises – sometimes called Safari Blue, are sea trips during which you can admire the charm of Menai Bay – the bluest azure you can imagine and deserted, sandy islands. During the cruise, you can sunbathe or try scuba diving (equipment is provided) or simply go swimming with a mask and snorkel.
Sometimes there are stops on one of the beaches, but almost always refreshments are provided on board or at the stop in the form of fresh fruit, grilled fish and other sea creatures and drinks. Some of the cruises go to places where you can meet bottlenose dolphins.
Optional trip to the village of Nugwi
Nungwi Village in Zanzibar – is a tiny fishing village famous for producing traditional dhow boats. However, what is more interesting here are some sea turtle farms, where in semi-natural conditions, in a small lagoon surrounded by corals, you can admire them. The greatest fun here is the opportunity to swim with these animals. There is no concern about the morality of this place, as it was created out of genuine concern for the welfare of a species of sea turtles in danger of extinction.
Finally, it is worth adding that some travel agencies also offer optional safari trips, organized on the mainland – in Tanzania. Such a trip takes place by plane, where the flight takes 1.5 hours. In the largest reserve in Africa – Selous National Park you can admire elephants, hippos, antelopes, lions and crocodiles. Some of the offers also include the option of staying overnight in the bush – because we have a choice of one- and two-day safaris.
How much does an optional trip to Zanzibar cost?
The price of optional trips in Zanzibar depends, of course, on the place from which we set off, the number of people as well as the place and attractions that we want to visit and see. And so the optional Sunset Cruise trip costs from 56 euro per person, Stone Town and Spice Plantation costs 60 euro per person, Jozani Forest and Prison Island start from 77 euro per person and Safari Blue costs 82 euro per person.
Sometimes it is more profitable to buy the entire package of optional trips around Zanzibar. Then the price of such a package is cheaper and you can have it from 140 euro. The most expensive packages cost up to 800 euro per person.
We also count on your opinions!
Reviews of optional trips in Zanzibar
We are very curious and interested in your reviews and opinions on the best optional excursions in Zanzibar. Feel free to leave your opinions in the comments.
Finally, we will add that it is also worth taking a look at the official website of the Zanzibar tourism, where you will also find additional information about attractions, interesting places and monuments that are worth seeing and visiting while spending your vacation and holidays in Zanzibar.