Choose your favourite activity: snorkelling, sea kayaking, yoga, scuba diving, kite surfing, deep-sea fishing, biking, volleyball, walking on the beach and in the palm forest. Or let us organise for you special excursion or cultural tour.
Stone town tour
Zanzibar, in fact, is the most southern tip of the Middle East. This is the reason why we find Such a rich variety of Arab, Indian and African influences, which is particularly reflected in the narrow streets of old Stone Town. Follow the scents of Jasmine and Ylang Ylang, the taste of ginger and cinnamon, listen to the sounds of Taarab, admire the Zanzibari chests and doors, have a cup of original Zanzibari coffee…. We pick you up in the morning or in the afternoon. This tour is a walking tour from the moment you enter Stone Town.
Spice farms on Zanzibar are not generally commercial growing operations with single species cultivation, but rather gardens with trees, shrubs and grasses all grown together in The shade of mango and jackfruit trees. It can be quite surprising to see the range of different plants from which spices are obtained, and the different methods by which they are extracted. The tour can be done in the morning or in the afternoon.
We visit a village near Stone Town. We start in the morning around 9 a.m. The village was founded by Sukuma and Nyamwezi who came to Zanzibar three generations ago. We see how the vegetables grow in the garden, are harvested and processed until they are cooked. We also learn how the clay houses are built, visit one where a woman is making Kapok pillows and again another where a grandmother is producing mats and baskets of wild palm leaves…
The Prison on Changuu Island was built for runaway slaves, but fortunately never used. Later, it became a quarantine station in order to prevent the spread of disease on the islands of the Zanzibar Archipelago. Today, the island is mainly known for its giant tortoises – a gift from the Seychelles, some 150 years ago. Prison Island – Changuu is a popular place for leisure, especially snorkelling and swimming, and the old Italian pizza oven is said to produce the best pizza on all of Zanzibar!
Jozani forest & Pete Village Butterfly Farm
We begin our tour with a visit to the butterfly farm. There you will see different butterflies from Tanzania in different phases of their lives – caterpillars, pupae, colourful butterflies. We continue our tour to Jozani Forest, the only virgin forest left on Zanzibar’s main island, Unguja. From here we go on foot to visit the Zanzibar Red Colobus Monkeys, then continue by car to the mangrove forest where again we will be on foot in amazing nature.
You better start early in the morning for this full day’s excursion! The earlier you arrive at Kizimkazi, the better the chances that you will encounter those playful, highly intelligent creatures of the water! Upon arrival in Kizimkazi, we take a boat to find the dolphins. Once we have found them, you can try to swim with them, sometimes even get lucky to touch them. This tour is not recommendable in the end of August / beginning of September when the dolphins are not around.
Spend a day on the sea! “Jump” from one island to the next; enjoy snorkelling or simply sunbathing… Get to know the Zanzibar islands better… and enjoy a marvellous seafood lunch!
Spice tour with Mtoni Palace and Kidichi Baths en Route
Our tour begins with a visit to the ruins of Mtoni Palace, the home of the first Sultan of Zanzibar, Said bin Sayed, with his 79 wives, children, employees and slaves. From there, we continue to Kidichi Baths, also called the Persian Baths. These were built by Sultan Said bin Sayed for the Persian Princess Sheherazade who was ready to marry him under the condition that he built for her a Persian bath in the style she was used to from home. From Kidichi Baths we continue directly to Kidichi Spice Farm. The farm belongs to Mzee Yusuf, whose grandfather bought the farm from the second Sultan of Zanzibar. The ruins of the house which was used by the Sultan can still be visited on the property, overgrown by an impressive Ficus Tree, which actually holds the walls together. There are also marble tiles imported by the Sultan from Italy, nowadays making the paved space under the benches near the little shop. Contrary to many other spice farms on Unguja (Zanzibar) Island, Kidichi is an intact eco-system with the canopies of the tall trees forming a firm ‘roof’ under which the smaller trees, shrubs and plants of spices and fruit prosper. Mzee Yusuf uses no chemicals against insects, but protects his plants by ancient natural methods such as ants that protect their ‘home tree’ and keep off all other insects. Knowing Mzee Yusuf is interesting in addition, because he is an expert on the traditional medical use of the diverse plants growing on his farm and can give much good advice regarding their healing qualities. His wife Maryam makes an excellent Swahili-Buffet lunch which no guest should miss out on! There is a large choice of Pilau rice, curry sauce, stew, spinach cooked in coconut sauce, beans cooked in coconut sauce, grilled fish, freshly pressed fruit juices, fresh fruit, spice tea or fresh Zanzibar coffee – all prepared not only with the best ingredients, but also with lots of love!
Cultural Village Tour Kiembe Samaki
Kiembe Samaki is a village – nowadays a neighborhood – just outside Stone Town. It was here where the ‘cattle revolution’ took place when the local people protested the vaccination of their cattle, a few decades back. People from the mainland, in search of a new life and better fortune, used to come to Zanzibar at different periods. So did a few Nyamwezi and Sukuma who came to this area three generations ago, leasing some land from its Zanzibari owners. By now, this is three generations ago. The place we visit has been leased to them by the old ‘Bibi’ (grandmother) who herself is manufacturing mats and baskets from wild fig leaves, and her daughter, the ‘Mama’ (mother) who is stuffing pillows with Kapok wool. It is in their house where, in the end of our tour, we will enjoy a glass of fresh juice and some typical Zanzibari sweets. But we begin our tour by visiting the vegetable garden of the Nyamwezi and Sukuma. From there we continue to their houses. We will see how these mud houses are built, using a grill of wood, which is filled with mud and stones. Another Mama will demonstrate to us how the vegetables from the garden are processed. Depending on the season, we will watch her stump maize in a mortar into maize flour or squeeze the oil out of peanuts. Cultural differences are always interesting as they enable us to learn from each other. For example, for the Swahili people as well as for the Africans from the mainland, until very recently, it would have been impossible to think of having a toilet inside a house. To them, a toilet is a dirty business, and therefore needs to be placed in a separate house. The highlight of our visit to Kiembe Samaki will be a visit to the local medicine woman, an Islamic practitioner with a reputation for amazing cures. The Islamic practitioner uses verses from the Holy Koran and often incense for the spiritual side of a disease, whereas the physical is cured by means of different medicinal herbs. You can ask your questions about the local methods of medicine – and for additional payment even get treatment.
City tour Stone Town
Stone Town used to be the city of the rich Arabs and Indians of Zanzibar. In contrast to the mud houses in the villages, it was built in stone, therefore its name. One of the unique things about Stone Town is that it is built in coral stone, which is held together by a mix of sands and water, formed into local cement. The city used to be cut off the rest of the island by the sea – names like ‘Creek Road’ and ‘Darajani’ (meaning ‘on the bridge’) remind of this time, which only recently ended when the creek was closed so as to keep the sea outside, and a paved road was built – Creek Road. If the walls of this old city could talk, they would have lots to tell! It was visited by traders and seafarers from all over the world, some of whom settled there, such as the Arabs, many Indians, but also Chinese, British and many others. It was the capital city of the Sultanate of Zanzibar which had been created in the beginning of the 19th century by Sultan Said bin Sayed, who separated Zanzibar from the Sultanate of Oman. Stone Town was the showplace of the shortest war in world history – it lasted only 46 minutes, and one would wish that all wars in history, if at all necessary, would end as fast as this. But it was also East Africa’s largest market for slaves – one of the darkest chapters of the history of the islands. Stone Town nowadays is a buzzing little town, no longer than ten minutes walk from any one side to the other – but only for those who know their way, which is easy to lose in the winding narrow streets, in which one may err for hours! With good guidance though you will discover the marvelous Zanzibar doors (the Indian and the Arab versions), often up to four hundred years old, you will visit the House of Wonders – the first in Zanzibar to have electricity and current water, and the first in East Africa to have an elevator! – you will pay tribute to the many slaves who lost their lives or were sold here when reaching the Anglican Church, and you will get insight into the importance the Hamam once had for the honorable citizens of this town. But most of all, absorb the atmosphere of this town and let yourself be entranced by the sounds and smells of a world that up to now seems to live at the time of Aladdin, as if in a fairy tale out of Arabian Nights!
Uroa Village Tour (1/2 day)
Coming from Stone Town, the more modest-looking houses in the villages may strike the visitor as rather poor. The style of their building is typically African and in its simplicity gives vivid symbolic testimony to the truism that there is nothing we can keep and hold on to for ourselves, because we, as everything in nature,are part of nature. We will begin our tour of Uroa village with a visit to one of the village houses. The landlady will welcome our guests with a cup of Zanzibari coffee, which will be drunk while sitting on the Baraza in front of the house, in typical Zanzibari manner. We will leave our shoes at the house entrance then and see the rooms of the house – the parents’ bedroom, the children’s rooms, the kitchen, the room for the dead… Your guide will translate the landlady’s explanations and, himself being a Zanzibari, add from his own rich knowledge of his culture. We continue our tour by visiting the local Koran school, the seaweed farming women, a local dhow carpenter, as well as the casuarina tree nursery. Then we proceed to the fish market, where a daily auction takes place. From far away we can see the fishermen arrive with their boats, while the fish brought in by earlier arrivals is already being auctioned. Our guests will participate in the fish auction and, with their guide’s help, bid for the fish they would like to have for their lunch. The fish will then be prepared in typical Zanzibari manner, on a charcoal fire, with typical Zanzibari spices, in front of our clients. Lunch will be around 15:00 hrs. After that, we return to Stone Town (approx. 16.30). Please note that the fish market and the Koran school are closed on Fridays.
Spirit Cave (1/2 or Full Day)
Spiritual healers still fulfill an important role in the daily lives of Zanzibaris. They ensure the balance in human lives by either fulfilling the demands of the spirits, which often involves the sacrifice of a chicken or a goat, or by appeasing them, which mainly means the reading of certain verses of the Holy Koran, often after lighting incense, the smell of which the spirits are said to like. Kichongwe Cave is an ancient cave, in which the local people still worship their traditional ancient spirits. The cave contains stalactites of amazing shapes, mangroves, and ancient tradition forbids the worshippers to change anything inside, which means it is an “island” of completely untouched nature. The cave is divided into a section for the “male spirits” and one for the “female spirits”. Each get different types of “food” – one sees the leftovers of burnt offerings, on the male side some bottles of Coca Cola (!), on the female side a broken bed and usually a handbag hanging from one of the rocks. Sometimes one may even find a chicken that has been offered. The cave is about 30 m in diameter, open to the sky, invisible from the outside, even at a distance of only a few meters. It is located at the sea, but invisible from there, too. At high tide half the cave is filled with sea water, whereas at low tide only small pools of water remain. The visitor is not allowed to take anything from the cave. Smoking is forbidden, too. Your guide will give you explanations about ancient spirit beliefs and the fascinating combination of Islamic and ancient African spirits that exists in Zanzibar. We will spend about 1 hour inside the cave, then go back to the village for lunch. After lunch, we will meet the local medicine man, whom we can ask questions about traditional beliefs. It is also possible, in return for extra payment, to get treatment by this traditional doctor.
Michamvi Mangroves (Full Day)
THE TOUR IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR ELDERLY OR HANDICAPPED PEOPLE, BECAUSE ONE HAS TO CLIMB INTO THE CAVE ON A NARROW LADDER!
After arrival from your hotel, by car, a boat (Dhow or similar) will be ready waiting for you at the beach in Uroa, equipped with life vests, drinking water and loaded with all the necessary equipment for our lunch. For about 1 hour we will cross the sea until we reach the mangrove forest of Michamvi. The mangrove forest of Michamvi is shaped in such a way that there is a channel cutting out an “island”. The tour therefore depends on the tides: at low tide we leave the boat and WALK through the channel, touring that “island”. We may meet all kinds of crustaceans and sea animals on the way, which are hiding in the sands (the guests should wear shoes!). At high tide we go through the channel by boat, at very low speed. In this case we may see quite a few birds that are feeding on fish. The tour through the channel in both cases takes approx. 1 to 1 ½ hours. After touring the channel, the guests are free to swim and relax, while lunch is being prepared – usually fish grilled on charcoal fire, chapati, fresh salads, fresh fruit, soft drinks. After lunch we return to Uroa. On demand (and in return for extra payment) a performance of drummers from the local village can be organized. Approximate return to Stone Town: between 16:00 and 17:00 hrs.
Jozani Forest with Butterfly Farm and Pete Cultural Tour
We start our tour in the early morning. Our first stop will be the butterfly farm, a project that is supported by the WWF in order to save Zanzibar’s indigenous butterflies. Most of them are set free once they are grown up, few remain in order to produce future generations, and the villagers take the eggs home to tend to them until they turn into caterpillars, pupae, and at last new butterflies. In this way, the project not only helps protect Zanzibar’s butterflies, but also contributes to the villagers’ income. From the butterfly farm we continue into Jozani Forest, the last virgin forest on Unguja (Zanzibar) Island. A very knowledgeable guide will tell you about this unique ecosystem, and tell you about its fragile balance. From the forest you will go on to the other side of the main road, where Zanzibar Red Colobus Monkeys swing themselves through the trees without paying much attention to either human visitors or their neighbors, the shyer Black Monkeys. A bit behind the monkeys, the unique mangrove forest of Chwaka Bay begins, in which three different types of mangroves live. On a walkway, we will be able to pass through the forest. The last part of our tour will be a visit to Pete Village. Here the famous ‘Moto’ project takes place, involving many of the village women. Moto promotes the traditional art of weaving / plaiting with wild fig leaves. You will be able to see the careful selection of the most suitable leaves, their preparation for plaiting, and finally the plaiting itself into beautiful baskets, mats, etc. In the end of our visit to Pete village we will enjoy a traditional Swahili lunch, prepared by one of the women. Enjoy!