PL

Must see

Stone Town

The historic part of Zanzibar City is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hidden among a maze of little alleys, squares and backyards are mosques and quite spectacular, yet slightly run-down, houses. They are fine examples of Swahili architecture and an eclectic combination of Arabian, Indian and African styles. The narrow streets are full of quaint little shops and cafes; diving into this labyrinth you can still feel the atmosphere from centuries ago and watch as daily life runs its course. Walking through these streets you should consider paying a visit to the Darajani marketplace, the House of Wonders, the Old Fort, the Anglican Cathedral erected on the site of a former slave market, St. Joseph’s Cathedral or the house of the famous slave and ivory trader Tippu Tip. If you are after gifts or interesting souvenirs, Stone Town is definitely the place to be. When buying from local vendors never agree to the first offered price, as bargaining is a generally accepted habit and even a necessity on Zanzibar island.

Distance from Marafiki Bungalows: 45 km, 1 hour drive
Recommended duration of the visit: 4-6 hours

Spice farm

It seems at times that all of the things which in Europe are impossible to come by or prohibitively expensive can be found casually growing in Zanzibar. A guided walk among clove trees, cinnamon trees, patches of lemongrass, banana trees and palm trees will awaken your senses and culinary imagination. In the course of your tour you will find that everything can be touched, smelled and tasted. There is a great potential for interesting discoveries. The fruit, roots and leaves which are grown here are used for both cooking and medicinal purposes.

Distance from Marafiki Bungalows: 0.5 hour drive
Recommended duration of the visit: 1.5 hours
Price: 5$ per person + taxi

Tip: If you don’t want to overpay then don’t buy anything during this visit. At Darajani or pretty much at any other market you can pay less for the same items. You can leave tips of about 1-2$ for the crowns and other gifts hand crafted from palm leaves.

Snorkeling & Diving

Zanzibar is a great place for diving aficionados and those wishing to start their underwater adventure. Diving centres on the island offer both beginner and advanced-level courses. The coral reefs of the warm coastal waters are a fabulously colourful world of tropical fauna and flora. Divers will encounter shoals of fish, colourful snails, turtles and beautiful corals. You do not actually need to dive to see these wonders: all you need are a pair of fins, a diving mask and a snorkel.

Mnemba Atoll is the most famous marine conservation area in Zanzibar – it consists of a 7 by 4 kilometers  shallow but rich coral reef. It is a popular scuba diving site, with a wide variety of corals and associated species, as well as occasional sightings of larger species such as turtles and dolphins.
A speed boat can take you to 2 amazing snorkeling sites. You do not actually need to dive to see all of these underwater wonders: all you need are a pair of fins, a diving mask and a snorkel.

Distance from Marafiki Bungalows: 10 min to starting point, then 40 minutes by boat or car to Mnemba
Duration of the visit: 4-6 hours

Safari Blue

Consider an all-day excursion starting on the southern end of the Island, in the small fishing village of Fumba (around 1.5 hours away from the hotel). From there, traditional dhow boats will take you to an action-packed cruise on the Menai Bay. With some luck, you may even see bottlenose dolphins amidst the waves. The next stage is the coral reef: the boat will moor on a little sandy island to give you time to snorkel in the turquoise waters of the bay. Lunch will be served on the uninhabited island Kwale. The menu includes grilled fish, rice, vegetables as well as fresh fruit and drinks. Here you will also find a number of gigantic baobabs promising plenty of fun while climbing their massive branches. You can also walk around the island to explore picturesque tiny bays and caves. Returning to Fumba under sail will allow you to relax in the sea breeze and watch the sun set slowly upon the great blue.

Distance from Marafiki:  1.5 hour drive
Duration of the visit: about 6 hours
Tip: The prettiest and cheapest dresses, shirts and kangas can be found on Kwale Island, so it’s definitely worthwhile to take a look at them while you are there. Be sure to visit the huge baobab at Kwale.

Jozani Forest

The Jozani Forest reserve is a remnant of the tropical forest that used to cover a major area in the central part of Zanzibar. A guided tour will take you through a kingdom of rubber plants, massive baobabs, mangroves, as well as a wealth of other tropical trees and bushes, with swarms of colourful birds in the air. The main attraction are the Red Colobus monkeys which are endemic to Zanzibar; these little jokers are usually playing in the trees and are happy to pose for pictures. The forest is also inhabited by Blue Monkeys, which can sometimes be seen high up in the trees.

Distance from Marafiki Bungalows:  45 minutes drive
Recommended duration of the visit: 1 hour
Price: entrance 10$ per person + taxi

Tip: Reserve an entire day for the trip, so you can combine it with a visit at the Butterfly Centre and/or a trip to Paje or The Rock restaurant.

Butterfly Centre

In the southern part of the island near the Jozani Forest lies the Zanzibar Butterfly Centre. A fascinating walk among hundreds of butterfly varieties makes for a great biology lesson for everyone, not just for the children. The insects can be watched from up close, set loose from the cage where they hatch and viewed at all stages of their development: from eggs through to caterpillars and cocoons, all the way until the emergence of the winged adult, or imago.

Distance from Marafiki Bungalows: 45 minutes drive
Recommended duration of the visit: 1 hour
Price: 10$ per person + taxi

Tip: Reserve an entire day for the trip, so you can combine it with a visit at Jozani Forest and/or a trip to Paje or The Rock restaurant.

Swimming with turtles

Turtles have long been the attraction of the island. In several places, for example on Prison Island or in the vicinity of the Jozani Forest, you can admire the giant land tortoises and smaller water turtles. You can also feed them with lettuce or seaweed. Since 2017 it is also possible to swim with the turtles! In Nungwi, dozens of aquatic turtles have been relocated to a natural water reservoir. Visitors can enter the water and swim in the company of these pleasant and gentle animals. Children may even swim holding a turtle, who will pull them around.

Distance from Marafiki: 44km, 50 minutes drive
Recommended duration of the visit: 1 hour
Tip: Take swimming suits and towels with you.  It’s worth it to combine this visit with lunch at Esque Zalu hotel and/or a sunset cruise departing from Kendwa.


Swimming with dolphins

The coastal waters in the area of the Kizimkazi fishermens' village in the south of Zanzibar are frequented by swarms of dolphins that can be watched from up close if you are in a boat. Arriving early may give you an opportunity for a swim together. Dolphins often come to the vicinity of the Mnemba atoll where they like to play on the sandy seabed. Snorkelling in their company is tremendous fun.

Distance from Marafiki to Kizimkazi: 72 km, 1 hour 15 minutes drive
Recommended duration of the stay: 2 hours
Tip: take your swimming suit and snorkelling equipment with you; you are most likely to meet the dolphins at sunrise.

Sunset cruise

After a day at the beach or among the turtles in Nungwi, change your perspective and take alook at the island from the ocean, from the deck of a traditional dhow boat. A wooden boat departs from Kendwa beach at 16:30 taking unto its 2-level deck  up  to several people at one time. The cruise along the shore takes about 1.5 hours. During this time, you can admire numerous hotels along the beach, and above all the ocean shimmering in the colours of the setting sun. Before boarding, it's worth getting cold drinks.

Distance from Marafiki: 44km, 50 minutes drive
Duration of the cruise: 1.5 hour
Tip: take your swimming suit and towel with you

Prison Island

This small island close to Stone town was used as a prison for rogue slaves in the mid-19th century and then as a place of quarantine for yellow fever patients. Today its main attraction are giant tortoises from the Seychelles, which are among the largest and longest-living tortoises in the world with a lifespan of over 100 years and an average weight of over 200 kilograms.

Distance from Marafiki Bungalows: 1 hour drive to Stonetown + 30 minutes by boat to Prison Island
Recommended duration of the visit: 1h

Tip: Reserve an entire day for the trip, so you can combine it with a visit to Stone Town

Quad adventure

Taking a powerful ATV quad tour into the heart of the island will allow you to discover small villages lining the spice and sugar cane plantations, have a closer look at the life of their inhabitants and to learn about local customs. Exploring a cave is on the agenda, too. By escaping the crowds and venturing off the beaten track, you’ll be able to fully capture the beauty of untouched nature.
During a visit in a village, small gifts for its residents are welcome, such as school supplies, toys, clothes for children or food.

Distance from Marafikito the starting point: 10 minutes
Durationof the trip: 3 hours
Important: Driving an ATV quad requires a driving license.

Caves

The forest reserve of Kiwengwa-Pongwe on the eastern coast of Zanzibar hosts a number of interesting yet rarely visited caves allowing a closer look at the bat population and the unique rock formations. A number of picturesque caves can also be found in the Jambiani area (the Kuumbi Caves) in the south-eastern part of the island, and in Mangapwani (around 20 kilometres north of Stone Town) with a little freshwater lake glittering at the bottom of a grotto.

Distance from Marafiki to Kiwengwa: 10 minutes by car or 25 minutes by bicycle
Recommended duration of the visit: 45 minutes
Tips: It’ s best to wear sport shoes and long sleeves as it can get cold in the caves. A torch will be usuful.

Kitesurfing

Over the last few years, Zanzibar has become a popular destination for fans of kitesurfing. Aside from the fabulous view, this is helped by the winds blowing with great regularity. The high season coincides with the southern monsoon Kusi (from June to August) and then the Kaskazi from the north (from December to February). Surfing conditions are appreciated by beginners and advanced kite surfers alike; a number of schools offer both rental of equipment and tuition.
Although the kite mecca is Paje, located on the south-east of Zanzibar, the Kiwengwa beach offers very good conditions for this sport, as well. For beginners, we recommend One Love Kite.

Sauti za busara Music Festival

Sauti za busara (Sounds of Wisdom) – a famous festival of African music, held in Stone Town. The concerts are accompanied with exhibitions, workshops and meetings with the artists amidst a great atmosphere. 

ZIFF Zanzibar International Film Festival

ZIFF Zanzibar International Film Festival – the greatest film festival in East Africa, showcasing feature films and documentaries of both African and foreign authors. The festival, taking place in July, is accompanied by a variety of concerts and exhibitions.

Mwaka Kogwa

Mwaka Kogwa – a bright, colourful welcoming of the Persian New Year (around 20th July) in Makunduchi, in the southern part of Zanzibar. The key point of the programme is a battle using banana stalks, involving both men of the village and the newcomers. The battle is ended by torching a purpose-built hut which is to protect the villagers from dying in a house fire in the coming year. It is a high-energy, unique spectacle.

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