If there’s one beach-bum trip you should be planning in 2018, it’s a quick weekend getaway to Zanzibar. The Tanzanian archipelago, sitting off the coast of East Africa, is lined with white sandy beaches and bursting with activities for every type of traveller. Here’s 7 reasons why you should take Thursday and Sunday off work to enjoy a long weekend in Zanzibar…
1. Go to sleep in Dubai and wake up in paradise
You can catch a direct flight from Dubai to Zanzibar with FlyDubai for around AED 1,700. With a night flight at 2.40am, hopping on a plane to this dreamy destination is totally doable if you’re the type that will suck up travel tiredness in order to maximise days off work! Sleep on the flight and wake up on the island; you won’t regret it.
insydo tip: Planning your trip with a travel snob who won’t travel on ‘budget airlines’? If so, expect a considerably longer travel time because you won’t be able to fly direct. The Emirates flight from Dubai goes to Dar es Salaam (Tanzania mainland), and you’ll need to catch another flight from there to Zanzibar.
2. Enjoy white sandy beaches and turquoise waters
Life really is a beach in Zanzibar. You can travel around the island and experience different beach vibes at each stop-off. Nungwi beach sits on the northern most point of the island; you can expect powder white sands and colorful marine life. Paje is a kite-surfing paradise with beach-shack bars and laidback vibes. Pongwe is picture-perfect and steers clear of the backpacker vibes; you’ll find luxury resorts lining the beach.
insydo tip: If you’re the adventurous type, then book each night at a different hotel. Trust us, it’ll feel like you have had several mini-holidays in one, plus you’ll get to see soooo much more of the island!
3. Stay at stunning Zanzibar hotels for decent prices
From budget-friendly beachside huts to luxurious resorts, Zanzibar is accessible to all kinds of traveller. Tulia Zanzibar in Pongwe is an award-winning resort that offers a stunning slice of island life, but a quick flick online will show you just how far your dirhams will take you when booking other Zanzibar hotels.
insydo tip: If you would rather stay close to Stone Town, check out Chuini Zanzibar Beach Lodge for an island hideaway that’s just 12km from the old town. The beach bungalows and villas have been built within the ruins of a Sultan’s palace!
4. Dine at this famous ocean restaurant at sunset
Who doesn’t want to have a bite to eat and sip sundowners in a restaurant surrounded by 360-degree ocean views?! The Rock Restaurant in Pingwe is world-renowned for its stunning location and for serving up a twist of Zanzibar in its cocktail and food menu.
insydo tip: Make sure you book in advance AND Google the high-tide timings beforehand. If you go during low-tide, it definitely won’t be as magical; you’ll be surrounded by the muddy shore rather than the ocean.
5. Wander the colorful alleyways of ancient Stone Town
Want to immerse yourself in the history and culture of Zanzibar? Spend a day wandering through the maze-like streets and alleyways of Stone Town. The architecture reflects the fusion of Swahili culture with Arab, Persian, Indian and European influences from days gone by. Once the centre of the Spice Trade and the Slave Trade, the old town oozes a complex and unique history and culture.
insydo tip: Get lost in Stone Town – and enjoy every second! Grab a morning coffee at Zanzibar Coffee House and enjoy a sunset dinner from the rooftop at Tea House Restaurant.
6. Get to Know the Aldabra Giant Tortoise on Prison Island
Prison Island sits about 30 minutes off the Stone Town shoreline; it once was a quarantine facility during a yellow-fever epidemic, but it is now home to the Giant Aldabra Tortoise Sanctuary where lots of giant tortoises roam around amidst the visitors.
insydo tip: Seasoned traveller? You don’t need to book the expensive tours through the hotels. Instead, you can walk down to the beach (between Forodhani Park and the Ferry entrance) and hop on a boat for a much cheaper price.
7. Live the ‘Hakuna Matata’ lifestyle!
A trip to Zanzibar is a must for anyone craving the ‘no worries’ lifestyle that the Swahili Hakuna Matata phrase embodies ! Escape fast-paced Dubai and turn ‘Chill’ mode on. Just 5 hours and 55 minutes from Dubai, your weekend getaway to this shaken-up paradise is calling you… make sure you answer.
insydo tip: Just book it! Pick a long weekend and GO. You certainly won’t regret it.