When I landed in Zanzibar, I did not know what to expect. It has an exciting mix of cultures from multiple years of colonization dating back to the Oman Empire times before Europe came into the picture. My thoughts on Zanzibar are a holistic view of my experience while visiting this Tanzanian island.
From sitting by the ocean and flying my drone to going on a spice tour, I had a great time, but the question is: would I return?
This article is part of my Trip Report: Starting Summer in East Africa including:
After a week on safari, the goal of our visit to Zanzibar was to sit on the beach and do nothing. We booked a gorgeous (mostly in photos) resort on the coast and were looking forward to relaxing.
Although I did not participate in scuba diving, my friend loved his experience and would highly recommend it. I would have gone snorkeling if I had had more time.
The water was exceptionally warm, which is always a treat. And while the water is not as clear as in the Maldives, I found it beautiful. However, in some spots, there was a significant amount of seaweed.
Before our evening departure to Arusha, we took an extended tour of a spice farm and Stone Town. It was truly amazing to see how the spices we use daily are naturally grown. In addition, we were able to smell and taste them.
Stone Town is also incredible, and I want to visit again. It was a fantastic mix of what felt like Mediterranean weather and behavior with Arabic architecture. This makes sense, given both Omani and European colonization.
My Thoughts on Zanzibar
While I am not a huge fan of someone trying to sell me something everywhere I turn, this is not something atypical for a culture in this part of the world. I do respect their hustle and dedication.
The island is a gorgeous tropical landscape. I imagined it being similar to the Maldives, given its location in the Indian Ocean. Ultimately, it seemed similar to what I envision it being in Costa Rica.
Although you could go to the beach, rent a boat, and scuba dive, but you also had the choice of Zip Lines and ATVs.
A highlight was the culture of Stone Town, so seeing that again in the future would be fun. I would have loved to try some of the cafes or restaurants in this area. (Quick note: be sure to sample multiple types of bananas. I had no idea how different varieties taste.)
The Last Point
I loved our time in this part of Tanzania, and while my thoughts on Zanzibar are more robust than I could have expected, I question if I will return. However, I think I would prioritize visiting other Islands off of East Africa, such as Mauritius and Seychelles, before returning. I also would not rule out another visit, especially if I return to Tanzania, particularly to visit the Serengeti.
If you have never been to Zanzibar, it is worth visiting. It is a great place to explore the clash of cultures and enjoy your time on the beach with excellent seafood.