After finishing my 8-day expedition of summiting Kilimanjaro on Christmas Day, I decided to tear Zanzibar to shreds.
I spent 14 incredible action-packed days on the stunning island of Zanzibar, and experienced everything from my scuba diving boat sinking (image above) to celebrating New Year at Kendwa Rocks.
In this write-up, I will share with you my best experiences so you can plan your own awesome Zanzibar adventure.
It’s old. It’s small. And it’s run down! There is an authentic feel to the city centre with a ridiculous maze of lane-ways which you are guaranteed to get lost in, leaving you feeling like Pacman trying to escape!
These lane-ways are filled with souvenir and spice shops, fruit carts, and buildings that look like they barely survived an earthquake.
Here are some things you must do in Stone Town (and things you can skip) on a 3 day budget.
Don’t go there before 7 pm! If you do, you’ll wait 40 minutes for your food to be prepared.
At around 7 pm, all of the small food stands are setup and preparing food. Wait times are less than 5 minutes.
You must try the Zanzibar Mix. It’s a local dish cooked and eaten in Zanzibar. Try it. You should also try the Zanzibar Pizza. You’ll thank me later!
The night markets offer an awesome vibe and they run every night of the week.
Be informed: every vendor will hustle you for your business! It can get really annoying but just be polite and say “just looking” and don’t kick up a fuss.
It’s worth going to. It’s the place to buy every spice grown on Zanzibar and take in the ambiance. There is strong pungent smell that I know some people would struggle to deal with but I highly recommend checking it out.
Personally, I tipped one of the shop keepers at the spice market around 20,000 Shillings ($10 AUD) so he could show me everything at the market (and film it for YouTube.) If you don’t do this then you’ll walk through the market and not know what you are looking at. It’s worth it.
MEAL PLANNING MASTERY
NEVER PAY FOR A MEAL PLAN AGAIN! LEARN HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN DIET PLAN WITH FOOD YOU LOVE TO EAT TO LOSE FAT AND GET INTO SHAPE.
Only go if you want the tortoise experience and can deal with alot of tourists. I went for the snorkeling that came after the tortoises. There’s not much to see on this island except hundreds and hundreds of tourists!
It’s a beautiful island and the snorkeling is quite nice but I don’t rate this experience very highly. Loaded with tourists.
It’s nothing more than a sand bar where you’ll take a boat to, have lunch in the scorching hot sun, and then return to Stone Town. Yes, where the water and sand meet is beautiful but a little over hyped.
I was able to get free access to this beach because my scuba diving boat sank, washing up on the shore of Nukapenda! As you can see from the photo above, all of our scuba diving gear is on the sand that we evacuated off the boat.
The biggest attraction is the beach and colour of the water. It’s a nice Instagram photo and probably one of the nicest beaches closest to Stone Town. The beach also disappears on a full tide 🙂
I’ve never seen this place mentioned anywhere but it the best place to eat at in Stone Town! It’s always packed with people and the smoothies are worth every shilling! Go there!
There is also a really awesome rooftop and they serve really awesome local food with good turnover. Everyone eats there, from locals to tourists that happen to fall into this place while wondering around Stone Town.
Zanzibar Coffee House
The best coffee in Zanzibar, in my opinion! This place is inside the crazy maze of lane-ways in Stone Town and served up the nicest coffee!
I am from Melbourne! The city that is famous for it’s boutique coffee shops. As a coffee fan myself, I definitely recommend this place whenever you are in Stone Town in need of a caffeine fix.
Sugar Cane Juice
You’ll see these mechanical juicers everywhere in Stone Town, particularly at the night markets.
Having been raised in Queensland, Australia where sugar cane grows in fields for as far as the eye can see, it was awesome to see cane juice for sale in Stone Town.
For 1000 Shillings (50 cents!) you will get to watch sugar cane stalks getting crushed in a small electric powered machine, some lime and ginger added, and then out comes fresh sugar cane juice! No added sugar! You have to try it.
There’s no added water so the juice you are drinking is 100% from the cane stalk.
Scuba Diving at Mnemba Island
If you are a scuba diver, I highly recommend checking out the diving scene at Mnemba island. And don’t worry about the scuba diving boat sinking, apparently that doesn’t happen too often! 🙂
While I was in Zanzibar, I dived from Stone Town, Tumbatu island, and Mnemba. Out of the 57 logged scuba dives I have, Mnemba comes in at my personal Top 3 dive sites. The number of fish I saw at that dive site was unlike anything I have ever seen before. I felt like I was inside a fish tank.
You can dive at Mnemba island from Nungwi or Matemwe. I highly recommend it if you are a diver.
I spent about 5 days in the village of Nungwi, to the north of Zanzibar. The sign in the above photo reads: “Mama Mia Nungwi” (hashtagged!)
There is a rooftop which is perfect for watching the sunset. It’s called Cinnamon Rooftop Bar. There are restaurants nearby the beaches and just a really nice area to chill out for a few days. I highly recommend this place!
Please keep in mind there are no ATM machines outside of Stone Town! There is one place that I found in Nungwi where you can get cash out (found near Mama Mia restaurant) but the “Cash Exchange” charges about 10% commission. I’ve used it but try and get all the cash you need from the ATM machines from Stone Town.
Zanzibar is an awesome little island which I highly recommend for scuba diving and water sports like wind surfing! I didn’t do a write-up on wind surfing because I never personally tried it, but it’s very popular!
If you have any questions let me know! I will be posting YouTube videos on my channel of my experiences on Zanzibar.
Thanks for reading.