Attractions and Entertainment on Zanzibar

Entertainament at Matemwe LodgeEntertainament troupe at Matemwe Lodge
Zanzibar is a place of culture, art, spice, contrasts, water activities and offers a unique view of Africa. From the Arabs to the Portuguese and others, Zanzibar is a heady mix of sounds, smells and visual contrasts.


Most lodges, hotels and restaurants in Zanzibar offer delicious Pan-African and European cuisine with the main focus on seafood, fresh vegetables and African flavours. Vegetarians and halaal eating travellers can be catered for, but kosher food is hard to come by.

Avoid bad food experiences: do not buy food from street vendors or eat raw fruit and vegetables that have not been prepared by your hotel or lodge.
Always make sure to wash your hands with soap before touching your food and you should be fine.


In Zanzibar, shopping can be quite an exciting affair. There are so many places to shop and such a variety of things to buy. From markets to boutiques and curio shops, you will have many options to choose from. If you want clothing, gifts, furniture items, curios or something unique, Zanzibar has it all.

To qualify for VAT refunds, you must fill out a form, listing VAT refundable items.

Entertainment and Nightlife

In Zanzibar there are a variety of nightclubs, restaurants and bars. These nightlife venues have a very African feel and you do not need to be dressed up. Most of the venues play African or Reggae music. Hotels also provide entertainment and cocktails as the sun sets.

Main Attractions

Things to do:

  • Sultans Palaces
  • Spice tours
  • Water activities
  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Arab dhow trips
  • Exploring
  • Museums
  • Cobble stone street cafes and restaurants
  • Stone Town
  • Portuguese fort and gardens
  • House of Wonders
  • Chole Island Marine Park
  • Prison Island
  • Grave Island
  • Snake Island
  • Menai Bay Conservation Area
  • Jozani Forest

Marine Life

Zanzibar is not a wildlife destination and is most popular for its marine life and the varied species. There are various species of turtle and thousands of species of fish. Scuba diving and snorkelling are highly recommended activities. If you would like to see a little bit of wildlife, then you can visit Jozani Forest for the Colobus Monkey.


Most of the top hotels will have plugs for you to recharge laptops and cameras. Just make sure to bring a convertor with you. Always ask permission before taking photos of people.
Please do not take photographs of sensitive areas such as military, naval, government and police buildings and procedures.

Fitness Level of Tours

In Zanzibar most of your time will be spent walking around or taking a cab, so no fitness level is required. To participate in the watersports some fitness level is required and you must know how to swim.

Packing for your Zanzibar Vacation

Zanzibar is an island destination, so you only need casual and semi-casual clothes. It is advised to bring something warm for early mornings and the evenings. Please note that one cannot dress in skimpy and revealing clothing in Zanzibar.
Men should not walk around in public places without a t-shirt and women should not wear mini-skirts.
Women can wear shorts but not too short. Swim wear is allowed at swimming pools and on beaches. But nudity is definitely not accepted. To dress otherwise would offend the local people.

Basic Packing List

  • Light cotton trousers or skirts
  • Cotton shorts
  • Light cotton shirts (long and short sleeved)
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Sandals
  • Shower-proof rain jacket/windbreaker
  • Sunhat
  • Underwear
  • Insect repellent
  • Small torch
  • Bathing suit
  • Suntan lotion
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera (telephoto lens recommended)
  • Binoculars
East Africa Hotels and Beach Resorts : Kenya, Tanzania & Zanzibar
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