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

 | 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...

 | 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...

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...

 | Tanzania couples safari

Tanzania couples safari

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

You might also like

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. 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…

Mafia Island

150 km south of Zanzibar Island lies the third largest isle in the archipelago, Mafia. In fact, Mafia Island is so far removed and has so many smaller satellites of its own, that it’s really a miniature archipelago in its own right. Rarely visited, and much quieter even than Pemba, Mafia and its surrounding islands are a diver’s paradise. Huge groupers, rays, turtles and whale…

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…

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…

Zanzibar in April

Credit: Matemwe Lodge April is Zanzibar’s wettest month, the height of the main rainy season that runs from mid-March to the end of May. With the rains come slightly lower temperatures, but most days still climb above 30°C (86°F). A relatively windless month, April marks the transition between the north-eastern ‘kaskasi’ and southern ‘kusi’ winds. As the month progresses the…

Ready to start your adventure?

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