Zanzibar is an island that lies off the coast of Tanzania in the Indian Ocean. It is famous for once being the commercial centre of East Africa and the last place to abolish the slave trade. Today it combines ancient Islamic ruins, noble Arabic houses with miles of white sandy palm-fringed beaches and coves. The ocean offers warm clear blue waters, idyllic islands excellent reefs for snorkelling and diving, fantastic deep sea fishing, water sports and of course delicious fresh fish. And if you thought that wasn’t enough, visiting the Spice plantations (cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, cardamom and others) or haggling for carvings in the Central Market is great fun too.
On all ATC trips that visit Zanzibar (except for the 5 day Zanzibar Experience), the clients have the freedom to explore the island as per their own interests. We include the ferry to Zanzibar and back but whilst on the island all food and accommodation is at the client’s own cost as we have found that travellers enjoy having the freedom to experience the island in different ways/ means if they wish but still have the security/ expertise of their trip leader on hand if need be.
ATC Zanzibar Excursion: The Trip Leader accompanies the group to help with bookings, transfers and other information and most clients tend to stick together and spend either the first or the last night in Stone Town, and the other 2 nights at one of the beaches (most commonly Nungwi in the north).
Accommodation in budget rooms (they supply linen and towels and most have en-suite facilities) is loosely reserved for the groups but depending on the level of comfort the client requires, some prefer to do their own booking e.g. East Coast resorts or 3* type depending on individual budgets. The cheapest accommodation available (budget rooms) costs US$30-50 per person sharing and includes breakfast (egg, fruit, bread, jam, tea/coffee). The lodges have a lock-up/safe available for clients to put their valuables (passports, excess money etc). All activities available on the Island are booked on-site with the local operators and can be paid in US$ cash or local Tanzanian Shillings. The ferry arrives from Dar es Salaam to Stone Town. On arrival, clients transfer to a central meeting point (Karibu Inn). From here the clients can transfer to their pre-booked accommodation or choose to stay with the group. On the day of their return to Dar es Salaam, the trip leader will once again meet the clients at this point and transfer to the ferry station and customs house as a group.
PLEASE NOTE that the ferry ticket is included in the tour price and should the clients be extending their stay, the ticket dates can be changed at no extra cost to the client. Food is widely available on the island and some restaurants cater to every taste. The Forodhani market in Stone Town is open every night with a wide array of seafood and local dishes prepared straight from the fishermen. On average a meal at a restaurant costs around US$7-10 depending on what is ordered. A beer costs around US$ 1.5-2 and cocktails with locally grown and produced fruit juices around $5.
Diving – this is one of the most popular and definitely recommended. Divers should make sure they bring their diving ticket (PADI, NAUI etc). Costs approx. US$60-85 depending on a number of dives taken and diving school used (many choices available so it is easy to ‘shop around’ for the best deal).
Spice Tour – This is one of the most worthwhile and a popular excursion on the island as it combines quite a bit of culture along with the unusually interesting spice plantations. Sample various fruits and spices that are in season as well as learning of the medicinal and cosmetic uses. Approx. US$ 30
Dolphin Tour – Although a lot of operators sell this one as ‘swimming with the dolphins’ it is actually more a trip out to see dolphins in their natural habitat. Costs approx. US$35
Snorkeling – Most commonly done from the North beach, clients are taken out on a Dhow (local boat) to one of the reefs or atolls. This usually takes most of the day and includes lunch. Cost approx. US$25-40 depending on where they go.