Zanzibar
History & Heritage

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Our most recommended Zanzibar History & Heritage

  • Stone Town & Prison Island Private Tour (Transfers & Lunch)

    1. Stone Town & Prison Island Private Tour (Transfers & Lunch)

    See the National Museum of Zanzibar (rebuilt in 1883) and the Arab fort while passing along bazaar streets towards the famous Freddie Mercury house. See the old slave market, fruit market, and spice market — don’t miss the classic Zanzibar curved doors decorating the stone town.  After you have explored Stone Town, you’ll have an opportunity to take a short break and have lunch before heading to Prison Island. Prison Island is also known as Changuu Island, the nickname came from the island being used by some sultans of Zanzibar to detain enslaved people. While you are on this island, you can swim, snorkel and take pictures with giant tortoises.  See the colorful schools of black snappers, orange lined triggerfish, spotted garfish, barracudas, longfin bannerfish, emperor angelfish, rabbitfish, clown triggerfish, and many more.

    We had a very nice walk in Stone Town and then with a boat to Prison Island. It was indeed very interesting and fun. The snorkling spot, wasn´t the best though. Not much to see, but I guess you can´t combine everything at one. If you´re more into snorkling then there are other trips worthy for you. The lunch in the typical african restaurant was also very interesting and the place was really full. Enjoy!

  • Zanzibar: Quad Bike Tour and Visit to Local Village

    2. Zanzibar: Quad Bike Tour and Visit to Local Village

    You will be picked up from your hotel. Starting from Kiwengwa (Kairo), you drive along the main road going to Pwani Majangani, for about 4 km. The tour usually stops for a few minutes in a local shop where you can buy some food to offer as a present to the village (flour, rise, biscuits for the kids). Clients are encouraged to support the local community. After this small pit stop, you leave the tarmac road to ride the quad off-road through the rice fields, where your guide stops for about 15 minutes to explain the economy, culture, and habits of the villages in the middle part of the island. After this explanation, the excursion goes ahead through the environment of the island to arrive at the local village. At the village, you stop for about 1 hour. Travellers will have the opportunity to stay with the children, play with them, and be in contact with the community of the village. Afte...

    Great guide and great rude on quads into Unguja Island inner villages. Great experience to have and to see. We also had stop at spices farm and saw many things that we use for cooking but never seen how they grow. Fantastic stuff.

  • Prison Island: Private Half-Day Tour

    3. Prison Island: Private Half-Day Tour

    This private guided half day tour can begin any time from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM. Meet your well-trained guide and boatman as your board your steam-engine wooden boat. Head to the prestigious island and enjoy the 30-minute journey.  Listen to the history of the island and discover the past centuries through the historical buildings, which have served many purposes over the years including a prison, chapel, and hiding place for slaves after the abolition.  Enjoy a swim or snorkel around the colorful coral rocks and turquoise waters. Play with giant tortoises and you may take photographs with these old precious creatures. If you do not have much experience or confidence in the water, you will be provided with a life jacket. 

    It was nice and beautiful very professional Guide, Good knowledge and English speaking

  • From Stone Town: Spice Tour of Zanzibar

    4. From Stone Town: Spice Tour of Zanzibar

    On this 2.5-hour guided tour, immerse yourself in the heady world of the spices of Zanzibar. This tour will clarify for you why Zanzibar is called “spice island”: on this small plantation you’ll see where spices grow, among them cloves, nutmeg, vanilla, Zanzibar’s cardomoms, cinnamon, curry, menthol, pepper, tamarind, and ginger. You’ll also see tropical fruits such as papayas, mangoes, and jackfruit.   You’ll also learn the origins of spice plants and herbs, as well as some uses they are put to. For example, the neem tree leaves were used locally as a traditional cure for malaria and indigestion, while the iodine tree is still used to fight infections in wounds. The tour ends with a visit to the spice shop on the farm, where you can buy fresh spices to use in your cooking at home.

  • Zanzibar North Coast & Turtle Sanctuary Tour

    5. Zanzibar North Coast & Turtle Sanctuary Tour

    The most popular beaches of Zanzibar are in Nungwi. This is mostly because the tides do not have such a huge impact on the beach. But, did you know that Nungwi is also the capital of local dhow manufacturing? Find out all about how these impressive sailing vessels are made and get the chance to see local craftsman in action. Later, enjoy lunch in a local restaurant. After that, experience a real turtle sanctuary. Here, turtles are treated and healed of any illnesses before being released to the ocean. Get the chance to swim with these incredible animals and feed them.  All fees paid here contribute towards turtle welfare and the education of tourists on their impact to the local environment.

    Great experience to be able to feed the turtles and be in their environment. Must visit experience.

  • Zanzibar: Prison Island Tour with Lunch on the Sandbank

    6. Zanzibar: Prison Island Tour with Lunch on the Sandbank

    Your Zanzibar adventure begins with a visit to Prison Island, purchased in 1893 by Lloyd Mathews, the British First Minister of Zanzibar at the time. Mathews constructed a prison complex on the island which is still visible today, however no prisoners were ever housed on the island and instead it became a quarantine station for yellow fever sufferers. On the island, spend some time exploring the area and discover the collection of over 50 tortoises that live here, some of which are more than 100 years old. Learn about why the tortoises call the island their home, as well as taking photos and feeding them too. The island is also home to peacocks and small antelope too. Once you’ve explored the island, enjoy the opportunity to cool off from the hot weather with a refreshing dip in the surrounding crystal clear waters. Spend some time snorkeling in the water just off the island and search...

    Great experiencie. Great kidness. very fexible on time and leen to help taking a lot of pictures. Very nice food in the amazing sand bank. Guide sprint some extra time to show souvenir shops back in the town after the trip.

  • Zanzibar: Stone Town & Spice Farm Tour with Lunch

    7. Zanzibar: Stone Town & Spice Farm Tour with Lunch

    Begin your private tour in Stone Town, a city of prominent historical and artistic importance in East Africa. Its architecture, mostly dating back to the 19th century, reflects the diverse influences underlying Swahili culture, giving a unique mixture of Arab, Persian, Indian and European elements. For this reason, the town was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Start by exploring the Old Slave Market site and Anglican Church, before strolling through the narrow streets towards the City Market. Marvel at the fresh products and fruits and watch how locals buy and sell anything here. Observe the hustle and bustle of the fish auction. After this, take a sightseeing tour of the main buildings in Stone Town including the Palace Museum and the House of Wonder, which is the largest and tallest building in the town, also known as Bait-al-ajab. Continue on to see the Old Fort, T...

    We started the day with the spice farm tour. Our guide through farm was great. Not only was he very knowledgeable about spices on the property, he also spoke of their medicinal purposes and how to use the spices in cooking etc. From there we went back to Stonetown for the walking tour. The tour took in the main sights and attractions. Our guide Juma was great. Relaxed, informative and engaging.

  • Zanzibar: Changuu Island and Stone Town Tour with Lunch

    8. Zanzibar: Changuu Island and Stone Town Tour with Lunch

    The tour begins with a private boat trip to Changuu Island, also known as Prison Island or Turtle Island. The island earned its name after it was purchased in 1893 by the British First Minister of Zanzibar who constructed a prison complex here. Although no prisoners were ever housed on the island, it was eventually used as a quarantine station for yellow fever sufferers, and later became home to more than 50 tortoises who still live there today. On the island, enjoy some free time to explore the beauty of this wild paradise, and get up close to the tortoises that roam freely. Some of the tortoises here are more than 100 years old, and you can even get close enough to feed them and take photos. You can also find peacocks and antelope on the island, then cool off in the crystal clear waters during a snorkel session in search of marine life, colorful fish, and coral reef. After your visit...

    The tour was great! Communication about the meet-up could be improved (I just had a random person come to me and hand me the phone to talk to the people who’d booked the trip in Dar); but overall I enjoyed the prison island and stone town tours. There are two separate guides, both very kind and friendly!

  • Stonetown Historical Walking Tour & Traditional Lunch

    9. Stonetown Historical Walking Tour & Traditional Lunch

    The tour will start in one of the most important parts of the old slave market site, the Anglican Church, then continue through the narrow streets. The next stop will be at city market. Here you can see the biggest market of all the islands. Locals buy and sell all sorts of products here, including the freshest fruits and fish auctions where locals bid on sea food. Afterward the tour will cover the main sights of Stown Town, such as the Palace Museum, House of Wonder, which is the largest and tallest building in Stown Town and also known as the Bait-al-ajab. Visit an old fort, the Tippu Tip and of course the most famous spot, Freddie’s Mercury’s house. Visit the Peace Memorial, Natural History Museum and many more. Your tour will end with local lunch in a cozy restaurant.

    Our guide was very professional but still fun. He knew a lot of historical and modern things about Stone Town. He showed us some shops but was not forcing us to buy anything. We learned a lot of Zanzibar history. Would recomend it 100 %!!

  • From Stone Town: Private Tour to Prison Island

    10. From Stone Town: Private Tour to Prison Island

    Visit Prison Island on a private 3-hour tour, and discover the rich history and beautiful natural surroundings of this location. Meet your guide in Zanzibar, or select the option including hotel pickup, then enjoy the ride to the island on a traditional dhow. Learn how this small island gained its name and explore the place that is now home to more than 50 tortoises, some over 100 years old.   Feed the tortoises and take up-close pictures with them, as you keep a look out for the peacocks and antelope that also live there. After discovering the island and its history, take the opportunity to snorkel in the clear waters off the coast amongst tropical fish and colorful coral. At the end of your tour, return to Zanzibar, where you’ll be dropped off in the city center, or at your hotel.

Other Sightseeing Options in Zanzibar

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What people are saying about Zanzibar

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 42 reviews

We had a very nice walk in Stone Town and then with a boat to Prison Island. It was indeed very interesting and fun. The snorkling spot, wasn´t the best though. Not much to see, but I guess you can´t combine everything at one. If you´re more into snorkling then there are other trips worthy for you. The lunch in the typical african restaurant was also very interesting and the place was really full. Enjoy!

Our guide was very professional but still fun. He knew a lot of historical and modern things about Stone Town. He showed us some shops but was not forcing us to buy anything. We learned a lot of Zanzibar history. Would recomend it 100 %!!

Haji was great. We knew very little about the area and learned a ton about the country from him. Having lunch included was a great perk!

Great experience to be able to feed the turtles and be in their environment. Must visit experience.

Our tour guy was really prepared, helpful and ready to every question we had.