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.

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Gloria Darvall

Africa Travel Specialist
Our experienced band of Safari Planners can create a bespoke plan for you. More enriching, more restorative and making more of a difference. Discover how working with a specialist adds value to your African adventure.

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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Accommodation

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Baraza Resort Review

I thought that Baraza Resort & Spa might be too 'over the top". It actually isn’t, though there is certainly some glitz and glamour. Indeed there’s an argument to say that its rejuvenating to stay at places which are completely different from home. If you have a bit of cash to splurge, this hotel would be hard to beat - see plus points below. The beach is stunning and the water never leaves the lagoon so it is always attractive, even at low tide.

The style is very Arabic set in lush tropical gardens. Yet the gardens are open and spacious which is a rarity in Zanzibar. The decor in the public areas is white and moroccan in style, with gold as the contrasting colour. The pictures give the impression of gold everywhere but this is deceptive. The overwhelming impression is of spaciousness, white walls and shade curtains swaying in the breeze, expanses of green lawn and a magnificent turquoise swimming pool. It looks truly amazing at night all lit up - very magical and straight out of Arabian nights...

Yes the gold trim was not completely to my taste but overall it worked. (Though I found the formal restaurant a little overpowering.)

Baraza is very romantic. But it is also child-friendly. It manages this by trying to keep the two groups apart! Each one bedroom suite has its own designated beach lounger on one side of the beach. (No marching out at 7am to claim the best lounger here!). The family chalets have some shaded sun loungers on the other side of the beach, which is a neat way of subtly dividing couples from families.

There are two room configurations - one bedroom villa and two bedroom villa. The one bedroom villas are extremely spacious all with private terrace, garden and plunge pool. There’s a bedroom, sitting room complete with day bed, dressing room and palatial bathroom. Personally we think it's worth paying a little extra for the Ocean Front villas to get that full-on sea view.

The two bedroom villas are designed for families (not two couples) as there is a master bedroom and a second twin bedded room with smaller shower room is for the kids.

The Presidential Villa was a little too under-stated for me and felt rather dark and heavy to me. But there’s no denying the setting.

All in all, if you have deep pockets and want to treat yourself, Baraza is the perfect place!

Positives

  • Amazing setting
  • Superb pool and gardens
  • Very friendly and service orientated staff
  • Good range of activities on offer
  • Excellent food - best we had!

Negatives

Very little! Coffee/tea offering in room does not match up to the rest of the hotel eg. instant coffee and only one type of tea! But apparently that is changing…

Kate’s Room Tip
If you are a couple, I DO think its worth paying extra for the Ocean Front villas.Personally I don’t think its really worth paying extra for the Sultan's Villas (family). All you are gaining is a slightly shorter walk - there is no improvement in view.

Cedarberg : Kate Bergh
Did you know
  • WorldFreddie Mercury was born in Zanzibar
  • SizeThe island is 2 461 km²