The antique part of Zanzibar City, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hidden amongst a maze of little alleys, squares and backyards are mosques and quite spectacular, yet slightly run-down houses. As fine examples of Swahili architecture they are 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 daily life run 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 slaver and ivory trader Tippu Tip. If you are after gifts or interesting souvenirs, Stone Town is definitely the place. When buying from local vendors never agree for the first offered price, bargaining is a generally accepted habit and a necessity on Zanzibar.
Distance from Marafiki Bungalows: 45 km, 1hour drive
Recommended duration of the visit: 4-6 hours
It seems at times that all the things which in Europe are impossible to get or prohibitively expensive can be found simply 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, with great potential of interesting discoveries. The fruit, roots and leaves which are grown here can be used for both cooking and medicinal purposes.
At the end of the visit, everyone will receive gifts hand crafted from palm leaves. Tips are welcome. Entrance 5 $ per person.
Distance from Marafiki: 25km, 30 minutes drive
Recommended duration of the visit: 1,5 hours
Tip: If you don’t want to overpay don’t buy anything there. At Darajani or pretty much any other market you can pay less for the same items.
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.
Mnemba Atoll is the most famous marine conservation area in Zanzibar – it consists of a 7 by 4 kilometers of 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.
The speed boat takes you to 2 amazing snorkeling sites. You do not actually need to dive to see all 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
An all-day excursion starting on the southern end of the Island, in a small fishing village of Fumba. 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 sand bank 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 sea food, rice, vegetables, fresh fruit and drinks. Here you will also find a number of gigantic baobabs, promising plenty of fun in climbing their massive branches. You can also walk around the island to explore picturesque tiny bays and caves. The Kwale Island is also a perfect shopping place. The prettiest and cheapest dresses, t-shirts and kangas can be found there. Returning to Fumba under sail will allow you to relax in the sea breeze and watch the sun set slowly into the great blue.
Distance from Marafiki: 1h15 drive
Duration of the visit: 6 hours
Tip: Attention to the sun! Mandatory creams with hight filter and hat!
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 colorful birds in the air. The main attraction is a meeting with Red Colombus monkeys which are endemic to Zanzibar; these little jokers usually play in the trees and are happy to pose for pictures. The forest is also inhabited by Blue Monkeys, which sometimes can be seen high up in the trees.
Distance from Marafiki Bungalows: 50km, 50 minutes drive
Recommended duration of the visit: 1 hour
Tip: Reserve an entire day for the trip, so you can combine it with a visit at the Butterfly Centre and/or trip to Paje or The Rock restaurant.
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, not just for 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 the eggs through caterpillars and cocoons, all the way until the winged adult, or imago.
Distance from Marafiki Bungalows: 44 km, 45 minutes drive
Recommended duration of the visit: 30 minutes
Tip: Reserve an entire day for the trip, so you can combine it with a visit at Jozani Forest and/or trip to Paje or The Rock restaurant.
Swimming with turtles
The turtles had long been the attraction of the island. In several places, e.a. on the 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. From 2017 you can also swim with turtles! In Nungwi, in natural water reservoir was located dozens of pieces of aquatic turtles. Visitors can enter the water and swim in the company of these pleasant to touch 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. Worth combining with lunch at Esque Zalu hotel and/or sunset cruise departing from Kendwa.
Swimming with dolphis
The coastal waters in the area of the Kizimkazi fishermen’s village in the south of Zanzibar are frequented by swarms of dolphins that can be watched from up close if you are on a boat. Arriving early morning may give you an opportunity for a swim together.
Dolphins often come to the vicinity of the Mnemba atoll, as well, where they like to play on the sandy seabed. Snorkelling in their company is tremendous fun.
Distance from Marafiki to Kizimkazi: 72 km, 1:15 hour drive
Recommended duration of the stay: 2 hours
Tip: take your swimming suit and snorkeling equipment with you: the biggest probability of meeting dolphins is at sunrise
After a day at the beach or among the turtles in Nungwi, change the 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 at 16.30 taking on a 2-level deck up to several people. The cruise along the shore takes about 1.5 hour. During this time, you can admire numerous hotels along the beach, and above all the ocean shimmering in the colors 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
A small island in the vicinity of Stone town, used as a prison for rogue slaves in mid-19th century and then as a place of quarantine for yellow fever patients. Today it's 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: 45 km, 1 hour drive to Stonetown + 20 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 in Stone Town
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, learn about local customs. Exploring a cave is on the agenda, too. By escaping crowds and venturing off the beaten truck, one is able to fully capture the beauty of the untouched nature of Zanzibar.
During the visit in the village, small gifts for its residents are welcome, such as school supplies, toys, clothes for children, food.
Distance from Marafikito the starting point: 10 minutes
Durationof the visit: 3 hours
Important: Driving a ATV quad requires a driving license.
The forest reserve of Kiwengwa-Pongwe on the eastern coast of Zanzibar hosts a number of interesting yet little frequented 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 from Stone Town) with a little freshwater lake glittering on 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 usufull.
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 – 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.