Essential East Africa

East Africa Travel
Zanzibar's version of the bush: One of the islands many beaches (courtesy, Zanzibar Tourism)

Ahh, Zanzibar. The name rolls off your tongue like honey and sounds as sweet as the cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, guava, and mangos that have put this Tanzanian treasure on the route of traders, sultans, and farmers for centuries. The intoxicatingly beautiful island is just 22 miles from the mainland (a 25-minute flight, or a 90-minute via hydrofoil from Dar es Salaam) and is a wonderful, relaxing cap for languid safarigoers who just wanna chill.

To get a snapshot of Z before all the human commotion, visit Jozani Forest, a small preserved parcel of palms and mahogany trees home to Africa's most rare, endangered primate, the distinctive red colobus monkey. Then the de facto decision is where to get sandy and where to get wet, seeing how Zanzibar is encircled by pristine coral reefs and beaches. On the northern tip of the island is the Ras Nungwi Beach Hotel ( complete with hand-cut fossilized coral construction, a full-service bar (some island facilities are alcohol-free due to Zanzibar's Muslim influence), deep-sea fishing, a PADI dive center, and other aqua accouterments accessing the what's probably the best beach on Zanzibar. Over and under, you’re liable to see a mind-boggling array of aquatic wildlife in this corner of the Indian Ocean, like dolphins, sea turtles, kaleidoscopic colored reef fish, and whale sharks, the world’s largest fish. If this sounds like too much work, just pull up a beach chair, order a fruity Zanzibar Zombie, then work on the final chapter of your travel tome, your Essential Africa adventure.


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