Zanzibar makes an excellent beach extension to a Tanzania safari holiday
Off the east coast of Tanzania are the Spice Islands of Zanzibar with their glorious beaches and exotic culture.
Zanzibar has been attracting travelers for centuries, the first over a thousand years ago. Successive settlement by the Persians, Portuguese, the Sultan of Oman and the British have all left their mark on the character of the island and its people. Often referred to as the 'Spice Island', Zanzibar's two main exports over the last thousand years have been exotic spices, and more surprisingly, slaves. The island was at the centre of the world's slave trade until it was outlawed at the turn of the century. The spice trade, in particular cloves, continues to be big business today.
Culture vultures will enjoy Stone Town, Zanzibar's old quarter, an UNESCO World Heritage site. It is a maze of narrow cobbled streets lined with homes, ornate doors, restaurants, hotels, bazaars, mosques, museums and busy markets. Whilst for beach lovers Zanzibar is a paradise. The entire 80 kilometre length of the east coast is bordered with immaculate sandy beaches. Beneath the turquoise waters - a coral reef runs the length of the coast offering fantastic snorkeling and diving, and creating an area of shallow water that is always safe for swimming.
When to go to Zanzibar
Find out the best time to visit Zanzibar with our month by month guide.
January is dry season in Zanzibar, it is the best time to swim with whale sharks and exploring the isles corals reefs and exotic fish, with water clarity of 25 meters.
February is dry season in Zanzibar, it is the best time to swim with whale sharks and exploring the isles corals reefs and exotic fish, with water clarity of 25 meters.
In March Zanzibar experiences a period of long rains - showers become more frequent and it can be very wet from the middle of March.
The long rains make April a mixed month to travel, as beaches along the Indian Coastline become very hot and wet. Activities like scuba diving take a turn, with water clarity decreasing due to the weather. We would recommend not travelling during this time.
Temperatures during May are high, with strong winds and continual rainfall. If you travel during this time you won't witness the best of Zanzibar.
June, the wet season is finally over, temperatures are cooler making it a beautiful time to lounge on the beach or explore the culturally rich Stone Town. Sporadic rainfall may occur across the month.
Dry season is in full swing, with consistent weather over this period with little wind and low rainfall. Diving is good during July with clarity levels increasing.
Dry season is in full swing, with consistent weather over this period with little wind and low rainfall. Diving is good during August with clarity levels increasing as long as the weather remains temperate.
Dry season is in full swing, with consistent weather, the added bonus of September is the possibility of whale watching.
October is the ideal month for exploring coral reefs and exotic marine life, with water clarity of 25 meters or more it is perfect for any water lovers. The weather remains temperate, with little wind and rainfall.
November brings the arrival of the summer rains and winds, but if you're a keen fisherman, billfish season kicks off. Otherwise, it is the best time to swim with the mighty whale shark and to go coral reef diving.
The wet season continues in Zanzibar during December. However, it is the best time to swim with whale sharks. Diving is not at its best but visibility is good for exploring the isles corals reefs and exotic fish.
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