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Zanzibar (also known in Arabic as Zanjibar) is a beautiful Island to explore by the Indian Ocean. We first went to Paje beach, which is located in the southeast of Zanzibar, we stayed in a hotel that looked beautiful but was extremely dirty (Paradise Beach Bungalows). Make sure there is an air condition working in your room, it is very hot. Paje is a lagoon and it is famous for its kitesurfing and kiteboarding.
Visit The Rock Cafe which is on the Michamvi Pingue just 10 minutes away from Paje by car, the Cafe was voted to be one of the most beautiful restaurants around the world. Make sure you do early reservations as it is always fully booked. You can also try Upendo which is opposite of The Rock Cafe and offers great food and ambiance.
We then moved to Nungwi, which was recommended by most of websites and people who have been to Zanzibar. It is also known as Ras Nungwi (Ras in Arabic stands for head/tip) as it is located in the far north tip end of the island. We loved it, and stayed there for about a week, our hotel was amazing and is highly recommended (Mnarani Beach Cottages).
I would recommend you settle in one area in Zanzibar and enjoy the breathtaking scenery that you will never get enough of. The distance from one area to another is long, about an hour or an hour and a half from Paje to Nungwi.
Learn how to play Bao, check out the shops by the beach, have seafood, try Langi Langi (an Italian cuisine, with great food), meet their people, stay away from the beach boys who will always try to sell you something (and sometimes you can actually get yourself a good offer), watch the sunset, lay down on the sand and get a beautiful suntan.
After you have had enough and want to explore the city which I also highly recommend and needs at least a full day, head to Stone Town, it is about an hour and half drive from Nungwi and Paje.
Visit the Emerson Spice Hotel which is truly gem, reserve ahead of time to have a drink or some food at their rooftop, Lukmaan is also a popular local restaurant. Check out the Darjani Market and buy their famous spices, visit the Old Fort, Foodhani gardens, Old Dispensary, Old Slave Market, House of Wonders, shop around, and explore their doors and architecture (they are very famous for their doors).
You can also spend a day visiting different Island nearby, we went to Prison Island (also known as Changuu), which was a prison for rebellious slaves, since Zanzibar was a popular slave market (Zanji in Arabic stands for slave; Zanjibar). It is also a home for giant tortoises (turtles) who have been there since 1919. Four tortoises were gifted by the British, the bred quickly into 200 tortoises by the year 1955.
There is so much culture and history to explore in Zanzibar. It is said that it has been home for humans for over 20,000 years. Zanzibar was used as a base for trades happening between the Middle East, Africa and India. Zanzibar; a Swahili culture, influenced very much by the Omanis and many Arabs who immigrated and passed through Zanzibar for trade over the years. Zanzibar then became part of the Portuguese empire in 1503. In 1698, Zanzibar became under the Sultanate of Oman. Around the late 1830’s, The Omani Sultan moved the capital of Oman from Muscat to Zanzibar. In 1890 it became a protectorate of Britain until 1963 when Zanzibar finally became an independent country.
Paje – Kite SurfingThe Rock Cafe Omani Culture Fishing and SailingBeach Walks PlaytimeWatch the SunSet Meet the People Learn about their Culture Cruise their Streets
Get inspired by their Architecture Visit Stone Town Visit Prison Island View from the Top