Zanzibar Islands

Give in to the siren call of the islands, to the warm waters and beaches of Zanzibar and its coral reefs.

Overview

Zanzibar lies off the Tanzania coast, only 25 miles away. But it seems like a completely different world. Zanzibar is the collective name for a number of islands including Pemba and Mnemba islands. A stay at one of the many Zanzibar hotels offers the perfect end to a Tanzania safari. It offers an alluring mix of beautiful white beaches, palm groves and spice farms.
Zanzibar itself is a bewitching place! The rich green valleys are filled with the aroma of spices. Whilst historic Stone Town, once the capital of a vast Arabic empire, is an atmospheric maze of narrow streets, street markets and intricate wooden carved doorways. The Zanzibar resorts offer powder-white beaches shaded by palm trees.

Pemba Island

You might like to stay at the lesser known Pemba Island. This is only a 30-minute flight from Zanzibar. Or opt for one of the smaller islands such as Mnemba Island – which offers the ultimate private island retreat – or Mafia Island. The atmospheric ruins on this latter island are the legacy of the centuries-old trade routes of Persian dhows.

Getting to Zanzibar

There are now some good flight connections into Zanzibar with Ethiopian airlines from Europe and there is a three-times weekly flight direct from Johannesburg. Many of the smaller Tanzania airlines such as Precision and Auric Air connect Zanzibar with both the northern safari parks via Arusha and also the southern parks of Selous and Ruaha.

Features

Why you may love it

  • Rich trading history and culture.
  • Coral reefs are great for snorkeling.
  • Excellent diving from the Zanzibar resort hotels in the north and east of the island.
  • Dhow sunset cruises.
  • Tours to the spice farms.
  • Colobus monkeys in Jozini forest.
  • Swimming with dolphins in the south.

Explore the Zanzibar Islands map

When to visit Zanzibar Islands

January to mid-March

Summer in Zanzibar Islands

Zanzibar has a tropical climate which means hot and humid for most of the year, with plenty of rain. There is a steady rainfall through the year apart from a fairly dry spell from June to September. However this rain takes the form of short, sharp thundery rain-showers, usually in the late afternoons. So in the summer months it doesn’t interfere with your beach time. As there’s plenty of sunshine at other times (averaging 9 hours per day). It’s a hot 32-33C during the day and a warm to hot 23-24C at night.
AVG RAINFALL 67 mm
MAX TEMP 34 ℃ / 93 ℉
MIN TEMP 25 ℃ / 77 ℉

Mid-March to May

Rain season in Zanzibar Islands

This is the rainiest time of the year and not recommended for a Zanzibar beach holiday – especially April which sees nearly 400mm of rain in one month. It typically rains at least every other day during this time. This slightly cools down the temperatures but not by much! April is particularly cloudy with only 6 hours of sunshine. However late May sees the rain drying up and hotel prices and offers remain keen so this could be a good time to stay at some of the more expensive resorts.
AVG RAINFALL 305mm
MAX TEMP 31 ℃ / 88 ℉
MIN TEMP 23.5 ℃ / 74 ℉

June to October

Best time in Zanzibar Islands

This is a reasonably dry period with short showers every 4 days on average. It’s a wonderful time for some beach relaxation after your safari as temperatures are still hot (29C during the day) and a very pleasant 21C at night). Days are dry and sunny with 8 hours of sunshine on average.
AVG RAINFALL 76 mm
MAX TEMP 30.5 ℃ / 87 ℉
MIN TEMP 22 ℃ / 72 ℉

November to December

Short rains in Zanzibar Islands

This is start of the “short” summer rains with hot and humid conditions and short, sharp thundery rain-showers, usually in the late afternoons. Rainfall tends to be higher at the start of summer (November and December) before settling down later on. However there’s still plenty of sunshine around.
AVG RAINFALL 122 mm
MAX TEMP 33 ℃ / 91 ℉
MIN TEMP 24 ℃ / 75 ℉

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Mari Jacobs

Africa Travel Specialist

Hi I'm Mari, I'm here to help you plan your ideal holiday experience
Did you know
  • WorldFreddie Mercury was born in Zanzibar
  • SizeThe island is 2 461 km²