Natural attractions of Zanzibar

Zanzibar’s islands have been inhabited for many hundreds of years and although ancient records refer to imported elephants and other iconic species, you won’t find any of Africa’s major land mammals here today.

Dawn over Chumbe Island  I  Credit: Flickr

For the best chance of seeing Zanzibar’s smaller, rarer and in some cases, endemic species, head to Jozani Forest Reserve just south of Zanzibar Town or Ngezi Forest Reserve on Pemba Island. Jozani is home to the fabulous Kirk’s red colobus monkey, which with its distinctive grey tufts and ochre-red back is one of the rarest sights in Africa. Even rarer, and much harder to spot, are the diminutive Zanzibar suni, Ader’s duiker and Pemba blue duiker, all species of antelope found only in the archipelago. The Pemba flying fox (really a huge fruit bat with a wingspan over 1.5m) is another native to the northernmost island, while Chumbe and Chapwani Islands are known for their giant coconut crabs, and nearby Changu (Prison Island) for its resident (though introduced) giant tortoises. Over 200 species of bird have also been recorded across the islands, including the Pemba sunbird and Pemba scops owl, both endemic to Pemba Island.

The very rare diminutive Zanzibar Suni  I  Credit: Wikipedia

Beyond the mangrove and coconut forests, shallow tidal lagoons give way to stunning coral reefs and beneath the waves a whole new world unfolds. Zanzibar is a breath-taking destination for diving and snorkelling, though overfishing and careless management have damaged some areas. Chumbe Island, south of Zanzibar Town, has a protected reef which is reserved for snorkelling only. For diving, the best sites are off Pemba and Mafia – the former known for its spectacular wall dives and open-ocean pelagic fish and the latter for Chole Bay, arguably the best coral garden in East Africa. Visit Mafia between September and March and you’ll also have the chance to swim with whale sharks, while from June to September nearby Juani Island hosts one of the world’s most special sights – the mad seaward dash of hatching turtles.


Our Recommended Itinerary

The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)

day 1

Nairobi, your arrival
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)

day 2

Early flight into Amboseli
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)

day 3

Amboseli elephant and views of Kilimanjaro
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)

day 4

Into the Masai Mara
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)

day 5

The Mara confluence and paradise plains
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)

day 6

Find the migration

Jun

Jul

Western corridor and Grumeti River

Jul

Oct

Kogatende and the Mara River


day 7

and stay with them

Jun

Jul

Western corridor and Grumeti River

Jul

Oct

Kogatende and the Mara River


day 8

Dunia's big cats
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)

day 9

Make sure you find leopard
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)

day 10

Hot air ballooning and your flight to Rwanda
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)

day 11

Genocide memorial and onwards to Volcanoes
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)

day 12

Your time with the Gorillas
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)
  • The Complete East Africa Experience (13 days)

day 13

Fly home

View Full Itinerary

Popular Zanzibar Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

Sea view | Tropical African Island Holiday (11 days)

Tropical African Island Holiday (11 days)

This island getaway to Mafia, Pemba and Zanzibar is ideal for honeymoon couples or anyone looking for white beaches and lots of diving, snorkeling and other ocean activities...

 | Tropical Zanzibar Island Escape (8 days)

Tropical Zanzibar Island Escape (8 days)

Your dream beach holiday awaits. Explore the coastline of Zanzibar's famed Kendwa beach paradise on this ultra-luxe tour...

 | Tanzania couples safari

Tanzania couples safari

Enjoy the wildlife of Tanzania as well as the paradise of Zanzibar...

 | Wildebeest Migration, Ngorongoro & Zanzibar Journey (12 days)

Wildebeest Migration, Ngorongoro & Zanzibar Journey (12 days)

This blockbuster Tanzania safari will show you the best of the country's outstanding wildlife and the beach paradise of Zanzibar...



You might also like

Zanzibar in August

August is the last of the slightly cooler months on Zanzibar. Hot days can still be over 30°C (86°F), but somewhere around 28°C (82°F) is more common. Sea temperatures also reach their lowest in August, although far from icy at a very reasonable 25°C (77°F). August to October is perhaps the most pleasant period on the archipelago: not too hot, not too humid and with steadily…

Zanzibar in October

October is usually an idyllic time on Zanzibar, with light southerly breezes, clear skies and calm seas. As the month progresses, the heat gradually builds, and daytime highs regularly top 30°C (86°F). Nights are also warmer (over 20°C / 68°F) and get increasingly humid as the brief November monsoon draws near. The monsoon’s exact arrival varies unpredictably each year and some…

Budget friendly Zanzibar holidays

Zanzibar can certainly be done on a budget, but you’ll need to pick your regions with care. Starting in Stone Town you’ll find a range of affordable guesthouses, offering basic double rooms and B&B. Further afield there are two main budget areas – around the northern village of Nungwi and along the south-eastern coast between Paje and Jambiani. Matemwe, northern Kiwengwa, Bewjuu and…

Zanzibar in November

November is the month of the ‘short rains’ in Zanzibar, a brief period of sporadic storms that may begin as early as mid-October and ease off during December. These short rains rains are generally much lighter than the main wet season (from March to May), but consecutive days can be cloudy, and good beach tanning time is not guaranteed. That said, November mornings are still quite…

Ras Kizimkazi

A rarely visited corner of southwestern Zanzibar, Ras Kizimkazi offers a handful of quiet, laid-back lodges, plus a pinch of the ultra-exclusive. The region’s two small villages lie a few kilometres apart, Kizimkazi Dimbani is on the southernmost tip of the island and the busier Kizimkazi Mkunguni is up the coast to the northwest. Most of the region’s tourism revolves around dolphin…

Kiwengwa and Pongwe

The sleepy village of Kiwengwa lies on Zanzibar Island’s north-eastern coast, roughly half way between Nungwi and Chwaka. Large, all-inclusive hotels and stylish upmarket lodges dot Kiwengwa’s long, immaculate beach, which runs nearly unbroken all the way north to Matemwe. A few breezy kilometres to the south, the even sleepier Pongwe supports around a dozen, mostly stylish, mid- to…

Zanzibar in January

January marks the start of the short dry season in Zanzibar, a period of relatively hot, humid weather that builds gradually from late December and runs through to the beginning of March. Average temperatures remain fairly constant throughout the year, but January is one of the hotter months, with daytime highs regularly up to 35°C (95°F). Although generally sunny, there may still be…

Highlights of Zanzibar

It’s impossible to soak in everything Zanzibar has to offer without maxing out your visa and staying the full three months. The main Zanzibar Island itself is already more than can be explored on the average summer holiday, and Pemba and Mafia are wonderful destinations in their own right. With its superb diving, myriad islands and inlets, rich cultural history, delicious seafood and…

Ready to start your adventure?

+27 (0)21 422 3498
   discover.africa
    info@discoverafrica.com
    Mon - Fri: 8AM - 9PM GMT+2