3 Days in Zanzibar for Beach Lovers

• Updated

Just off the mainland of Tanzania is an Indian Ocean paradise. The Zanzibar archipelago, also called the ’Spice Islands’ because of its abundance of produce, is blessed with beautiful beaches and islands. One of its main islands, Unguja, is a tourist haven where visitors can enjoy crystal-clear waters, tasty food and a slice of Zanzibari history and culture. Unguja is also fondly called ’The Zanzibar’ and is the main island that comes to the mind when on the look-out for Zanzibari adventures.

So start off your tour with the island’s capital, Zanzibar City. Don’t miss the Stone Town, also known as the historic centre, which is within walking distance of other sights, such as Tippu Tip’s House, the Old Fort and Freddie Mercury’s childhood home. For your first trip to Zanzibar’s beaches, include Nakupenda Beach on your must-visit beach list. After all, it is only half an hour away by ferry from Stone Town.

Before you head north to Nungwi to experience more of what Zanzibar has to offer, experience Zanzibar’s spice tour at a spice farm to see firsthand how each spice is harvested and turned into various products and food items. Zanzibar’s flavours are not only found in its spices and cuisine, but also in its waters and landmarks. Book a cycling tour to see Nungwi and the wonders at the tip of the island. Then go Kiteboarding in a Nungwi beach. Afterwards, get your dose of coffee and island delicacies at the Le Macis Restaurant.

For your last day in Zanzibar, complete your trip by relaxing at one of the best beaches in the country. Paje Beach has all the best elements tourists love about beaches: stretches of white sand, clear water and good food, plus an added bonus of quiet charm that easily makes visitors fall in love with this location. Enjoy the gorgeous water by trying a water activity that many of the local diving companies offer, such as snorkelling, kitesurfing, diving and more. Finally, finish off your Zanzibar paradise adventure with a latte by the beach at Mr Kahawa.

  • 3 day itinerary
  • Average of 4 stops per day

Zanzibar City on Foot

Stone Town from Above
Nakupenda Beach
Stone Town from the Water
Facade of Tippu Tip's House in the Stone Town
Facade of Tippu Tip's House in the Stone Town by djp098
Old Fort in Zanzibar
Old Fort in Zanzibar by naetoo

Stone Town is Zanzibar’s historical core. It is the Old Town part of Zanzibar City and features old-world architecture. Within Stone Town is the Forodhani Gardens Food Market where visitors can get their first taste of Zanzibar. Just off the coast of Zanzibar is Nakupenda Island, which is well-loved for its low-tide sandbank and amazing seafood.

Just within walking distance of Stone Town Proper is the house of Tippu Tip - a known slave trafficker and ivory merchant. This property is almost in ruins, but it is an informative stop that allows you to understand the horrors of the slave trade and why it must not be repeated. From this house, visit Queen's vocalist Freddie Mercury’s childhood home. Similar to Tippu Tip’s, this home mostly offers just a view of its facade, but tourists still go in honour of the late singer.

Finaly, drop by the Old Fort, which is considered to be the oldest structure in Stone Town. Performances are held in the amphitheatre and local goods are served in the strip market and restaurants.

Nakupenda Beach

The Zanzibar archipelago boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and Nakupenda Beach is one of them. During low tide, long strips of sand are visible and can be lounged on by tourists. You can begin your first morning here nice and slow by relaxing on the beach, or if you're feeling more adventurous, you can go for a quick snorkel or a swim. Why not also have some lunch here before you head off to explore the old city? Tours usually include lunch that is made of fresh local seafood from the nearby sea (the lobster here is a must-try)!

Stone Town

Inside the island’s capital city is the heart of its history - Stone Town. Here, you can find age-old structures and flourishing businesses. It is also where you can start your tour of Zanzibar if you do not want to visit the beach first thing in the morning.

Within Stone Town, there are a number of interesting sights to see, such as Tippu Tip's House, and other treats for your senses. Find Forodhani Gardens Food Market where you can grab a bite of the popular Zanzibari pizza, coconut bread, seafood, fresh fruits and other various dishes with unique spices!

Tippu Tip's House

Within Stone Town and along Suicide Alley is the house of slave trader Tippu Tip. This property is not well managed, but visitors still come to see first-hand the ruins of the home of a once powerful man. Although all tourists can see is a large carved wooden door and marble steps, people still visit his home to get a glimpse of history, even if it’s a dark part of the city’s narrative.

Queen's Freddie Mercury’s House

From the home of a man who brought horrors to his countrymen to the childhood home of one who inspired millions, Freddie Mercury was the lead vocalist of the successful band, Queen. A trip to his crib is a treat for fans who would appreciate knowing where he spent some of his years growing up. Aside from the yellow facade and big doors, fans can get a glimpse of Freddie’s keepsakes and photos on display on the sides of the door.

Old Fort - Arab Fort (Ngome Kongwe)

The Old Fort, also known as the Arab Fort, is one of the oldest structures in Stone Town. It has a spacious courtyard that has been repurposed as a place for cultural exchange. Speciality stores and a restaurant can be found here to cater to the growing tourist industry. It also has an amphitheatre for live shows and hosts the Zanzibar International Film Festival.

Nungwi Adventure

Golden Hour in Nungwi
Kite Surfing in Zanzibar

Rise and shine early for the second day of your tour. On your way to the northern part of the island, stop by a spice farm to have a taste of Zanzibar’s famed spice produce. Here, spices are incorporated into the local cuisine along with other products.

In Nungwi proper, don’t miss the Zanzibar Cycling Adventure company that offers eco-friendly tours in the same area of the island as the spice farm. You will visit rural villages, caves and other nooks on this tour. You can opt to cycle or do the tour via a car (both options are equally fun and educational).

You should join the 9 AM to 1 PM tour so you can grab a late lunch from Le Macis - a modern French restaurant. The French chef also specializes in various local dishes and fusion cuisines.

In the afternoon, try kitesurfing at the beach. This activity is perfect for the Nungwi waters as it has the perfect mix of sun, water and breeze, which will keep your equipment afloat.

Spice Farm - Tangawizi and Hakuna Matata Spice Farms (Dole Village)

The Dole Village is home to several Spice Farms, such as the Tangawizi and the Hakuna Matata Spice Farms. The Tangawizi, for example, shows how the spices are grown and harvested and how the locals use them as ingredients in their meals. The farm offers a spice tour, meals and even henna painting. You can also take home spice-infused soaps and perfumes if you wish.

Zanzibar Cycling Adventures

Book a biking tour with Zanzibar Cycling Adventure, a company that promotes eco-friendly biking tours around Nungwi. You can opt to ride a bike or jump in a car convoy. The 4-hour tour includes the following exciting stops - rural villages, coral caves and a turtle rescue centre! Be sure to book the 9AM-1PM tour so you still have plenty of time to explore afterwards.

Le Macis

Recharge your body after a half a day of biking with good food at a modern French restaurant - Le Macis. Le Macis can be found in the Atii Garden Bungalows. The chef is a dedicated French man who has perfected various cuisines. Whether you fancy a French dish, African food, or care to dabble in other infused food cuisines, Le Macis offers that and much more.

Kiteboarding

Book a safe and fun kiteboarding class with experts at the Kiteboarding Zanzibar company. After kitesurfing, you can also wakeboard, paddle board, ride a jet ski, or fish if you please. All these exciting activities are made much more memorable against the picturesque Zanzibarian sun and sand.

Paje Magic

On your third and final day, head to the western part of the Island for the most beautiful Zanzibarian beaches called Paje. The beaches in Paje are nothing short of breathtaking. Kilometres of sand stretching far and wide and endless clear water are fitting final stops for any great getaway.

Restaurants and hotels line this beach so you will not run out of things to eat or drink. Looking far out onto the horizon or napping with the gently blowing sea breeze is a great way to rest and recharge. For those looking for more water action, arrange a diving trip to see the best of what Paje has to offer under the water.

After a long day on, in or near the water, grab a latte from the popular Mr Kahawa Coffee Shop to sip by the shore. Mr Kahawa is the new hip hangout place that offers great coffee and three-course menu options.

Paje Beach

You can walk the over-a-kilometre stretch of beautiful sand at Paje Beach and never get bored of it. Do whatever you wish at the first stop of your last day here. Swim, snorkel or pick up stray shells. If you’re like the rest of the tourists who just wish to relax, take a nap in a shaded area by the sea to make the most of this beautiful location.

Diving

Companies, like Buccaneer Diving, arrange diving sessions in Paje. It offers diving sessions in more than 20 diving sites that customers can experience depending on their skill level. You can dive at lagoons or take part in outer-reef/wall dives with this company.

Mr Kahawa

Mr Kahawa started off as a quaint little coffee shop that grew to a fledging restaurant that now offers three-course meals. It is also surprisingly eco-friendly, not serving plastic straws and doing away without disposable cups.


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