It is not an exaggeration to claim that Zanzibar offers one of the most ultimate island experiences in the Indian Ocean. Even though Zanzibar is a part of Tanzania, very few people associate this island paradise with its mainland counterpart. Formerly known as Spice Island (due to a very profitable clove exporting trade), Zanzibar is actually an archipelago that consists of Zanzibar and Pemba islands as well as smaller islets. It is known worldwide as one of the best spots for a leisurely vacation. Indeed, a very prestigious travel magazine awarded it The Best Island Destination in Africa and Middle East status. Couples from all over the world travel to Zanzibar to enjoy a romantic honeymoon vacation and relax after hectic time of wedding planning. Although Zanzibar is mainly famous for its picture-perfect white sand beaches, there are lots of other things to do and see, such as exploring the historical Stone Town, enjoying romantic sunset cruises, learning kiteboarding and swimming with dolphins.
The most popular honeymoon destination is Zanzibar Island, locally known as Unguja (the bigger of the two main islands). There, you can find a treasure of Zanzibar, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage site. Considered by many to be one of very few still functioning ancient cities, Stone Town’s glory was built on two main cultural traditions – those of East Africa and Asia. A cradle of a small, but mighty empire and wealthy merchants, Zanzibar, and Stone Town in particular, boast fancy mansions and palaces. Local urban architecture reflects the diversity of cultures that at one point or another had a significant influence on the region’s development. The Arabic, Swahili, Indian, Portuguese, Dutch, French and British traditions merged to create unique architectural compositions. Take a tour around this historic location, walk alongside narrow winding streets, shop for souvenirs, visit the House of Wonders museum and spice plantations, enjoy the best dive spots and simply soak up the coastal atmosphere of the place.
Pemba, the second largest island, is perhaps more preferable for those newlyweds who seek a more secluded honeymoon vacation spot in that it’s much less crowded with both tourists and locals and is lusher than Unguja. No wonder that the Pemba’s Arabic name Al Khudra means “The Green Island”- the place is full of mango and palm tree mangroves and rainforests. In addition, the island is known for witchcraft and bullfight. Introduced by the Portuguese in the 17th century, this game was adopted by the locals and made less bloody: instead of killing the animal in the end, bulls are decorated with flowers and taken for a walk around village.
For those who demand only the best, there is an exclusive, privately-run resort on the Island of Mnemba. Conde Nast designated this islet as one of the three top romantic beach destinations in the world! A true luxury beach experience that can cost up to tens of thousands of dollars per day, Mnemba puts you in touch with nature, rare species of turtles and corals, albeit for a very hefty fee.
This honeymoon destination gets even more interesting when you discover you can experience a real safari adventure in one of the special parks (it is believed that in Zanzibar there are some of the best African safari parks). Once you decide to make Zanzibar your honeymoon destination keep in mind that it is better not to travel to Zanzibar from April to May as the heaviest rainfall occurs during this period and most hotels will be closed.