does a great job of pretending to be a tropical island.
Balmy weather ✔️
Blissful beaches ✔️
Warm tropical (clear)water ✔️
Coral reefs filled with a rich diversity of marine life ✔️
But the Rothschild Safaris blog never aims for the blatantly obvious. Instead, as usual, we are on the hunt for more… and inspired by the great African hunters we will be ruthless in our quest (except, of course, no animals will be harmed in the process).
Who should visit Zanzibar?
Lovers of Architecture and Heritage
The rich heritage of Zanzibar is very evident. The island was once the biggest slave market in East Africa and as you walk along the cobbled alleyways of historic Stone Town you will encounter a blend of strong Arabic, Indian, African, Persian and European influences. It has been home to Omani Sultans, African Kings, British Colonialists, and Portuguese traders and is so intricate and historic it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are also the Zanzibar Gallery, Palace Museum, Peace Memorial Museum.
The detail is exquisite everywhere… which brings us to
Lovers of Photography (or Selfies)
Ancient mansions and palaces with evocative names like ‘the House of Wonders’, Turkish Baths, bazaars and a cornucopia of furniture, fabric, jewelry, and crafts. There is a photo-opportunity for every moment of the day. Do rent a scooter for an extra touch of authenticity.
Unless of course, you are a…
Lover of Shopping
Do be warned. Zanzibar has been the center of this universe for trade ranging from slaves through gold, ivory, wood, and spices.
It is also in the markets where you will experience the collision of cultures and at the centuries-old fish market you will be transported back in time (although you might simply be hallucinating from the very fishy odors!)
Lovers of Music
The local music style is known as the Taarab. A unique blend of classical Swahili poetry infused with an echo of the architectural accents. Utterly unique.
Lovers of Food
The island is home to spice farmers cultivating cloves, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemongrass, and black pepper. Dig into the history of the crops, the medicinal uses and of course… the traditional blend of flavors in the street market.
The fresh seafood is fabulous, whether you enjoy fresh fish cooked on an open fire on the beach or Lobster Thermidor at a fancy restaurant.
Lovers of the Alternative Sightseeing Adventure
A small prison island 5.6 km off the coast of Stone Town is now a sanctuary for the very endangered Aldabra giant tortoise. All the inmates hail from four individuals gifted to Zanzibar by Seychelles in 1919.
Lovers of Coffee
Do indulge in the best coffee in Africa, sourced from Kilimanjaro and flavored.
Lovers of the Red Colobus
This might be quite the niche reason. But on Zanzibar, this species is slowly being coached back from the brink of extinction… and in the Jozani Forest Reserve where you go to spot them, you will also see hundreds of different butterflies, numerous birds and a variety of interesting plants and animals.
The problem with very famous landmarks lies in the word ‘famous’. Which, let’s be honest, is only another way to say oversubscribed.
You want to visit the largest curtain of falling water in the world, and you accept that you have very little chance of doing this entirely privately. But then you rather fancy escaping to an exclusive island.
Somewhere close enough to allow you to enjoy all the activities on offer in an adrenaline capital.
And private enough to be worlds away.
Welcome to Sindabezi Island.
A tiny corner of paradise in the middle of the Zambezi.
It is surrounded by water and you can walk barefoot in the fine white sand. There is no mainline electricity (it is an award-winning eco resort running off solar power) and hot water for your shower is provided on demand, courtesy of a wood fire.
But this is where we depart from your typical tropical getaway.
It is certainly a little wilder than the average island. You may spy game from your verandah as they come down to drink on the shores of the river across the canal flowing around the island. Horace the hippo loves to wander up onto the island after everyone has gone to sleep. And there is definitely no swimming in the Zambezi… that luxury is reserved for Horace, his family, the fish, and the crocodiles.
So what, we hear you ask, will I do on this island?
Enjoy the stationary game viewing.
Read a book.
Book a floating Sampan dinner.
Drink around the open fire pit under a splash of Milky Way spilling magnificently across the skies.
When the sun comes up you might want to indulge in river activities or pop into town to meet elephants, take a helicopter or microlight flight, up the adrenaline with a bungee jump, gorge swing or by rafting the mighty Zambezi.
Safe in the knowledge that your giant bed, draped in mosquito netting and surrounded by evocative hurricane lamps and candles on your private island retreat awaits.
And as you drift off to sleep to the call of night owls, you must take a moment to congratulate yourself on your excellent taste in islands that are… a little more unique.