Small Chronicles from the Far Corners of a Big World

The Best of Zanzibar

Zanzibar offers delicious Swahili seafood cuisine, beach paradises, and unique flora and fauna to enjoy.  However, it is also a hard place to navigate, as most beaches are tidal, meaning you cannot swim in the ocean during large portions of the day, frequently spots have a cheap touristy feel, and many attractions are not attractive at all.  This guide contains some of the best the island has to offer, to help you have a stunning trip to this small corner of the world.
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Gerry's Bar

Just north of Double Tree Hilton on Nungwi Beach

This place has just got style and fun written all over it, from the super cool logo to the bar made out of dhow wood, to the crazy drinks on the menu.

Check this place out for sure. You really can't beat fun, right on the beach.

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The Rock

Pingwe Village Rd, Pingwe, Tanzania

This is a super cool spot. A restaurant built on a rock outcropping in the tidal zone, so as the tide comes in, you dine on a little exclusive island. The food here is very expensive, but also quite good. Try the gnocchi with vanilla. You can also just show-up for drinks. It is about 25 minutes north of Paje.

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Big Body with Tatata Spice Farm Kizimbani

Kizimbani, 10 kms east of Bububu

There are a plethora of spice farms around Kizimbani, but this is one of the most popular and for good reason. If you come on your own, it is only five dollars per person, and the guides are quite good. You learn the difference between red, green, white and black pepper, you see bread fruit, teak, mango, and rambutan trees, as well as vanilla vines, cardomen flowers, cinnamon trees, and cocoa trees. The guide will show you the plants and give a little background on their history and variety of uses. It is quite well done. Plus you get to see someone free climb a coconut tree, and try a variety of the fresh fruits there on the farm.

If you are going to do a spice tour, I recommend this one for sure.

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Kenyatta Road, above the Post Office

This place has a super cool vibe, with a big wine bar in the back, and a cool cafe/bar out front. Definitely check this place out for some afternoon tapas, and sit out on the balcony and watch the busy Kenyatta road pass on by.

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I would rate this a must do in Stone Town. It is just a cool experience. You go into the family's home, and they prepare like five or six special Swahili home cooked dishes for you to try. They are delicious and the family is friendly and welcoming, definitely give this place a try.

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Next to Tembo House, on the beach

This is another hip hang out spot in Stone Town. It is a great place for sun downers, but also a luxurious dinner, and evening drinks. There is a bar inside for being social, or take a table outside right on the beach, and feel the sand run through your feet.

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Bahari Restaurant

Jambiani Beach, Tanzania

Great Italian, and seafood at this quiet little restaurant on the beach. The seafood pizza is quiet good, and the beers are cold.

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Two Benches Restaurant

Nungwi Bench just north of Coco Cabana

Easily one of the cooler places on the Nungwi shore. It just has a couple small tables out front and they make fresh pasta outback.

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This is a pretty cool place. You can take the full tour through the different ecosystems which are tropical jungle, mangrove forest, and more of an arid forest. The whole tour is cool and takes about 1.5 hours, but the real highlight is the arid forest where the monkeys are. This is the only place in the world they are endemic, and they are super friendly and approachable. A very unique species that is worth going to see.

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Paje by Night Hotel

Paje by Night Street, Paje, Tanzania

This is one of the cooler places to party and meet travelers on the island, and definitely outside of Stonetown and Kendwa Rocks. It has a cool little pool, and a big awesome bar, and is 100 meters off the beach. Also a good place to post up for some kite surfing.

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Both a party destination and a kite surfing destination. This place has white sand beaches for as long as your legs will take you.

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Cholo's Bar & Restaurant

Unnamed Rd, Nungwi, Tanzania

Super cool beach bar with a lot of style and cheap cold beers. It has a big communal fire pit, motorcycles hanging from the trees, and a big bar made of two dhows. This is a great place for sundowners, and to meet other travelers.

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Blue Oyster Hotel

P.O. Box 007, Jambiani, Tanzania

This seemed like one of the better places to stay in Jambiani. It is right on the beach, and offers a nice big breakfast for guests. The rooms are clean, airy and spacious, and the staff is friendly and helpful. The food at the restaurant is just okay, but it is close to excellent restaurants on either side (Sale & Pepe's and Bahiri).

This is a solid mid-range option right on the beach. Nothing particularly memorable about it though.

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Baboo Cafe

Shangani St (Opposite Africa House), Stone Town, Zanzibar City, Tanzania

Great place for an espresso overlooking the water, with the sea-breezes running through your hair. Friendly service, and staff that can help you plan your trip around the island if that is what you are looking for.

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Cafe Miwa

Kenyetta Road | First Flr, Shaghani Post Office, Stone Town, Zanzibar City, Tanzania

A very cool cafe above the post office. Stop in here to sit on the balcony and people watch as the town floats by below. Definitely try some of their freshly made juices too or sip a coffee.

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Zenji Hotel

Malawi St, opp Cine Afrique | P.O. Box 661, Stone Town, Zanzibar City, Tanzania

This place is only about a ten minute walk from Forodhani park, and is a solid value for the price. The rooms are small, but tasteful, clean and comfortable. There is a little rooftop breakfast area, and the staff are friendly and helpful.

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Kendwa Rocks Beach Hotel

Kendwa Beach, Tanzania

Situated in the middle of paradise it offers bungalows with shared bathrooms, or en-suite. Everything is positioned back from the beach, except for the restaurant and bar. The food is decent, but the portions are a bit lacking and prices are high compared to similar offerings in town or up north along the beach. The staff are friendly, the rooms are clean and everything feels safe.

It is really a place for laying on the beach during the day, and partying late into the night once the sun goes down. Saturday night they throw a big party with impressive break dancing and a memorable Michael Jackson impersonator. Bring your dancing shoes and a snorkel mask, supposedly there are seahorses in the sea-grass off the beach.

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Mkokotoni Fishmarket

Mkokotoni, 15 kms north of Mahonda

A great place for some fish market photos, or a cheap place to buy some fresh seafood for lunch. Other than that, not too much to do around the market.

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Marhaba Restaurant (Langi Langi Hotel)

At Langi Langi Hotel, on the water front

The setting is so cool, that it is hard to do anything but like this place. It is set on a beautifully constructed wood balcony overlooking the aqua blue waters of Nungwi. However, the food is far below average, and is quite expensive. It is quite ironic, given on their website, the bemoan the food in the area, and claim to have created something superior. However, the curry is just full of butter and coconut milk, the seafood platter has over cooked fish, and is over priced, and their spicy catch of the day grill, is not even spicy. A great place to hang out, but maybe stick to the drinks until these guys can actually create something unique.

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6 Degrees South Grill and Wine Bar

Plot 60, Waterfront, Shangani St, Stone Town, Zanzibar City, Tanzania

A posh addition to the waterfront, the menu looks delicious, but we only visited for drinks. Unfortunately, they were horrible, and for the high price we paid for them, it was a bit disappointing. The places does have a very cool ambiance though, if it could just get its act together a bit.

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In Z Hotel

Burgers, pizza and happy hour over looking the aqua blue ocean. Everything is over priced here, but that is just Nungwi, and it is cheaper than a lot of the restaurants along the waterfront.

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A good mid-range spot to stay. They have more affordable rooms in the back around a small pool, or you can splurge for an sea view. The restaurant is what makes this place cool. It is on a huge weathered wooden desk overlooking the aqua blue waters which lap up against int at high tide. Unfortunately the food here is just average. Drop over the Mama Mia's to grub.

They have wifi at the restaurant, but it cuts in and out, and does not reach the rooms. The staff is friendly and the rooms are spacious, clean and comfortable.

Last updated at Sep 30, 2015