(This was a pre-COVID era trip.) Before and after our safari in Selous, we spent time exploring the island of Zanzibar. Now part of Tanzania, it was once a part of Oman, so we really wanted to explore it while it’s not too long of a flight away. Plus, the kids had not yet been to Africa, and we had not yet been south of the Equator. So, we packed up and away we went!
We stayed in StoneTown (the historic area of Zanizibar city) at DoubleTree for free thanks to travel hacking (which also paid for our flights and my first class upgrade). It was a lovely hotel with a nice location near the coast. Nearby was the Park Hyatt, another great option for using travel rewards, depending on what you have available).
We enjoyed a private walking tour of the town with Taib of Grassroots Traveller. The kids were encouraged to asks questions, he helped to direct them around traffic, and even found fruits at the markets for them to try. We even made a special stop at a school on my request, and were able to see how a public school in Zanzibar functions, as well as getting to talk to the teachers and students. It was so special!
The following day we went again with Taib to Jozani Forest. Jozani is home of the Red Colobus Monkey, an endangered species that exists only on the island of Zanizbar. It was so interesting walking around the forest and stepping over fossilized coral everywhere. So unique!
After the forest, we spent a bit of time at the beach on the east side of the island, which was amazing. No filter needed on the water, the color is the most vibrant shade of turquoise. The tide shifts by a kilometer, and even when the tide is in you can walk out super far as it’s shallow for quite a distance. The water felt like a very warm bath.
We spent the other days exploring StoneTown on our own by foot. If you do so, be prepared for constant and relentless solicitations for taxi rides and tours. Say no, firmly, and book through a recommended tour company if desired. While exploring on foot, I highly recommend using the app maps.me on your phone. You can download the Zanzibar map prior, and you’ll have a searchable GPS map for the town, which is necessary because it’s SO confusing to find your way around and very easy to get lost.
The East African Slave Museum and Anglican Church are worth a full visit.
In general we always felt safe, and the kids were welcomed by all. We were even welcomed in to visit a school where I was able to talk to some teachers about our different schooling traditions. As with all trips, I used my locking travel purse, and had no issues with things going missing. If planning again, I’d do two or three days in Stone Town (three if going to Jozani from there), and then head to a beach hotel for a few days as well.
his trip was not sponsored in any way.
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