Give in to the siren call of the islands, to the warm waters and beaches of Zanzibar and its coral reefs.
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.
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.
Gloria DarvallAfrica Travel Specialist
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.
Where to go in Zanzibar Islands
These are some of the best rated places to visit in Zanzibar Islands based on popularity and experience rating by our travelers
Explore the Zanzibar Islands map
When to visit Zanzibar Islands
January to mid-March
Summer in Zanzibar Islands
Mid-March to May
Rain season in Zanzibar Islands
June to October
Best time in Zanzibar Islands
November to December
Short rains in Zanzibar Islands
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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!
- Amazing setting
- Superb pool and gardens
- Very friendly and service orientated staff
- Good range of activities on offer
- Excellent food - best we had!
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.
Experiences in Zanzibar Islands
- WorldFreddie Mercury was born in Zanzibar
- SizeThe island is 2 461 km²