With their white, sandy beaches and glorious turquoise waters, Zanzibar and Pemba are idyllic seaside escapes. A trip out to these Indian Ocean islands is the perfect relaxing extension to an action-packed safari inland in one of Tanzania’s best safari parks and reserves. Or, if all you crave is sun, sea and sand, skip the safari this time and come straight here.
Zanzibar and Pemba are the ideal antidotes to our rushed modern life. You could be forgiven for wanting to spend most of your time on the beach at your lodge, but you should certainly take a day trip out to bustling Stone Town.
Although also on the coast, the sea air here is heavy with the scent of spices, and the buzzing harbour sounds are punctuated with the call to prayer from the minarets. The best tactic is simply to wander at will, looking out for the famous carved wooden doors and glimpses of everyday Swahili life that combine mystery with history.
Rooftop views reveal a city that hasn’t changed in centuries (with the exception of the satellite dishes) and that is ripe for exploration. If anything, the smaller island of Pemba moves to an even more leisurely rhythm.
Both islands give you the chance to soak up the sun and relax – or you can make the most of the activities on offer, such as scuba diving on pristine coral reefs at Mnemba, or swimming with dolphin. A sunset cruise on a traditional dhow followed by fresh seafood kebabs from the harbour market rounds out a chilled island day.
Zanzibar and Pemba are ideal for safari-and-beach holidays, yet also stand up well on their own.