Travel Guide - Zanzibar the Indian Ocean Hotel

Diamonds Hotels & Resorts

Zanzibar

Life is a journey, travelling is living twice

50 km off the eastern coast of Tanzania, a few degrees south of the Equator, the island of Zanzibar lies opposite Tanzania. This island not only offers breathtaking nature and scenery but also numerous activities and excursions to really experience the local atmosphere and traditions.

The island of Zanzibar is in the Indian Ocean, 50 km off the Eastern coast of Africa, a few degrees South of the Equator.

It joined Tanzania in 1964, known as Tanganyika at the time, and since then it has been a part of what is now known as the United Republic of Tanzania. However, it has its own Government, Parliament and President.

The largest town is Zanzibar, which includes the ancient part Stone Town. Among the many islands forming its archipelago, Unguja and Pemba are the most extended and inhabited.

The language spoken here is Ki-Swhaili, a result of the contact between the Bantu and the Middle Eastern civilizations, declared UNESCO World Heritage in 1960. English is also spoken, along with French and Italian. The most common religion is Islam and a very small minority of people are either Christians or Indus.

The island of Zanzibar is an extraordinarily beautiful place from the naturalistic point of view and was, for centuries, a crossroads for international trade between Eastern Africa, the Indian Ocean, China and Europe. This has turned the island into a place where different cultures cohabit harmoniously.

Get In

A tourist visa and a valid passport are required to enter the country.

Each home country has its own regulations, so we recommend having your documents checked by your Embassy or travel agency in advance before departure.

Hotels Point of interests

By plane

There are numerous airline companies which fly from Europe or Africa to Dar es Salaam (DAR), one of the main international airports in Tanzania or Doha (DOH). From the airport of Dar es Salaam it is possible to take an internal flight lasting about 30 minutes which will take you to the island, landing at Zanzibar’s International Airport (ZNZ).

From South Africa there are companies which fly from Johannesburg directly to Zanzibar such as Mango airlines (www.flymango.com).

Main airlines which fly to Zanzibar from Dar Es Salaam are:

Coastal Aviation www.coastal.co.tz
Zan Air www.zanair.com
Precision Air www.precisionairtz.com

Airport Tranfer

Airport transfers can be booked before arrival. The vehicle will wait for you at the airport to drive you comfortably to your resort. Transfers can be paid online when booking.

Typical zanzibari dishers

Zanzibari cuisine should be sampled at least one in your life. In our resorts, you can experience evenings dedicated to local cuisine. Zanzibari cuisine is the product of diverse influences accumulated over the centuries and which can be traced back to the numerous cultures which have characterised the island’s history. The flavours are mixed with the gastronomic traditions of Arab, Portuguese, Indian, British and Chinese cultures.

A typical Zanzibari dish is spiced pilau rice. Other delicacies originate from the African mainland: manioc potatoes, boiled beans, sweet potatoes, roasted corn on the cob and yam.

The famous nut and date bread made with eggs and vanilla which is traditionally eaten at the end of Ramadan must also be tried.

If however you want to try something a little bit different, don’t miss out on shark in pepper, or “pwewa wa nazi”, Swahili for octopus in coconut milk prepared with curry, cardamom, cinnamon, garlic and lime juice.

Another equally traditional dish is “sorpotel”, a mixed offal and pork stew seasoned with curry spices. “Boku-boku” however, is a type of spicy meat stew cooked with wheat, ginger, cumin, chilli, tomatoes and onions. The famous Zanzibari pizza is also not to be missed.

For those with a sweet tooth, the spiced cake made with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and chocolate must be sampled.

In general, spices are used in all types of cooking on the island and characterise destinations, flavours and colours.

Drinks must have their say too: try DAWA, a local cocktail that literally means “Medicine”. It is similar to Caipirinha but honey is used instead of sugar.

Must see

Stone Town

With visits to the House of Wonders, the Palace Museum (People’s Palace), Dr Livingstone’s House and the Arab Fort amongst others, it is a fascinating look at the essence of Zanzibar. You will see Zanzibar’s bustling market, winding alleyways, ornately carved and studded doors, two cathedrals and countless mosques.

A trip to the site of Sultan Barghash’s harem at Marahubi should also be included and rounds off an insight into Zanzibar’s huge history and vibrant culture. Stone Town has some excellent gifts shops with plenty of souvenirs and handicrafts to choose from.

Forodhani Night Food Market

A visit to Stone Town is not complete without a stop at the Forodhani Night Food Market. We suggest you arrive before dusk, and watch the space fill up methodically with chefs dressed in whites and tall hats setting up stands and grills. You’ll be able to test fish, squid, prawns, lobster, crab claw and seafood kebabs.

Freshly pressed juices, like sugar cane juice and cassava, fried potatoes, chapatis, salads, beef skewers, falafel and Zanzibar ‘pizzas’ are further temptations. Forodhani Market is frequented mostly by locals. Forodhani has a festive, carnival-like atmosphere, so do not miss out to experience this event.

Prison Island

Once the site of a gaol for misbehaving slaves, the island lies just off the old stone town. It is fringed with a beautiful coral reef, ideal for snorkelling, and has a lovely white beach for sun-bathing.It is also home to a family of giant tortoises, imported from the Seychelles in the late 19th century.

This island is ideal for a day-trip with refreshments available throughout the day. It also has a small restaurant where you can enjoy freshly caught fish.

Kizimkazi Mosque & Dolphin Tour

Situated on the southern point of the island, Kizimkazi fishing village is home to several schools of bottle-nosed dolphins which can often be sighted following a short boat trip from the village. If you are lucky, you may be able to swim quite close to the dolphins which can be a very rewarding experience.

Kizimkazi is also the site of a 12th century mosque, the earliest evidence of Islam in East Africa, and is thus worth a visit for both natural and cultural reasons.

Jozani Forest

The Jozani Natural Forest Reserve is located in the central east region of Zanzibar island and is home to the rare Red Colobus Monkey (pictured opposite), which is endemic to Zanzibar. These monkeys are full of character, and roam freely.

They can also be seen at very close quarters just outside the reserve’s perimeter and are incredibly photogenic.

Jozani is home to other species including Syke’s monkey’s, small buck and bushpigs. The elusive Zanzibar leopard (last sited several years ago) is said to feed here at night – perhaps this is why the reserve is only open during the day. Jozani has an excellent nature trail and the guides are well trained and informative.

North Coast and dhow

Tours to the unspoilt north coast always end up at Ras Nungwi, a sleepy fishing village on the northern tip of Zanzibar island. It is the dhow building capital of Zanzibar, so you will be able to see the traditional methods of dhow construction in action.

This area of Zanzibar has some fantastic beaches and nearby coral reefs which are ideal for diving and snorkelling.

The local villagers have built a turtle sanctuary where injured turtles and other marine animals are nursed back to health before being released back into the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

Turtle Sanctuaries in Nungwi

If you have been looking for that unique moment to be spent with nature, Nungwi may be the place to be. Visit the two Turtle aquariums in Nungwi, Mnarani Natural Aquarium and Baraka’s Turtle Aquarium and be prepared to make an experience that you will remember forever.

You will have the chance to see Hawksbill turtles (ng’amba in Swahili) and Green turtles (Kasakasa in Swahili).

Get a little taste of whom you may encounter by watching this video.

Special experience

Busara music Jazz Festival
Busara music Jazz Festival is an international festival held every year in Zanzibar, particularly in Stone Town. It is a very characteristic event and the quality of the music is superb. Our resorts will be happy to organise a transfer from your accommodation to the event. Visit the website to find out more: www.busaramusic.org

Walking in the night
Walk along the beach at low tide under a full moon: a simple yet magical experience.

Ngalawa
A ngalawa is a double outrigger canoe typical of the Swahili traditions of Zanzibar and the Tanzania coasts. It is between 5 and 6 metres long and features an outrigger float on each side to improve the vessel’s stability and allow it to be sail-powered. This traditional boat is well worth a short excursion.

Full moon party
If you want to experience the genuine local atmosphere, come to a Full moon party to take part in a truly native experience.

Shopping in Stone Town
Shopping in Stone Town is not to be missed and you will find many locally handcrafted items. Don’t forget to fit in a trip to the town before setting off home!

House of Freddie Mercury
Not many people know that Freddie Mercury was born in Zanzibar, where he lived until the age of 8 before being sent to India to study. Evidence of his presence is limited and not many people mention it. The only officially recognised dwelling is on the crossroads of Kenyatta Road and Gizenga Street in the heart of Stone Town. Today it is home to the Zanzibar Gallery, a souvenir shop. The only “distinctive features” are a gold plaque above the entrance which reads “Mercury House” and a couple of small display cabinets housing faded photographs.

Forodhani Garden
The Forodhani Gardens are located along the sea front in the centre of Stone Town, near the Arab Fort and the House of Wonders. The gardens are very popular, particularly in the evenings when they host the famous Stone Town market.

Africa house Happy hour
If you are headed for Zanzibar, don’t miss an sunset aperitif at Africa House. This bar has been a popular haunt for enjoying an aperitif since the colonial era and is an experience which will take you back in time.

Drink Kilimanjaro beer
Kilimanjaro beer is a typical African beer which we highly recommend you try. Sipped at sunset, the taste is even better.

fromJanuary 6, 2019toJanuary 14, 2019

MART SCHERP

Diamonds Star of the East
He opened his own restaurant Scherp, located in the historic center of Middelburg. The cooking style is refined and tasteful, with great attention to fresh fish and local products. In...
fromJanuary 13, 2019toJanuary 21, 2019

ALLAN CASTELLOTE

Diamonds Star of the East
After studying philosophy and law, Allan turned to cooking, which has been his passion since childhood. With a Picard grandmother and another Spanish he has, since his youngest age, juggled...
fromJanuary 20, 2019toJanuary 28, 2019

MATIJA BREGEŠ

Diamonds Star of the East
The young chef from Zagreb did an internship in 3* Michelin starred restaurant Azurmendi in Spain and then in De Librije in Netherlands, also a 3* Michelin starred restaurant. Now...
fromJanuary 27, 2019toFebruary 4, 2019

MARKO PAVCNIK

Diamonds Star of the East
Always dreamed of having his own restaurant, he opened in 2011 Pavus, now one of the most exciting dining destinations in Slovenia, ranked as one of the best 15 by...
fromFebruary 3, 2019toFebruary 11, 2019

DANIEL SCHMIDTHALER

Diamonds Star of the East
The country star chef Daniel Schmidthaler is managing the Hotel & Restaurant Alte Schule Fürstenhagen, where, he places value on high-quality ingredients as a basis for his culinary delights: fine...
fromFebruary 10, 2019toFebruary 18, 2019

HUBERT WALLNER

Diamonds Star of the East
With his recent ‘three toque’ rating, Hubert has ascended into the elite league of Austria’s top chefs. Inspired by the Alpine region between lake and sea, his cuisine captivates with...
fromFebruary 17, 2019toFebruary 25, 2019

JORIS KERKHOFS

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The classic French cooking is the foundation of his cooking style, but much of his inspiration he get from other world cuisines. His cooking style is therefore best described as...
fromFebruary 24, 2019toMarch 3, 2019

ENRICO GERLI

Diamonds Star of the East
In the process of graduating from the conservatory, Enrico discovered a great passion for refined food and wines. He own the Michelin starred restaurant I Castagni, located in the countryside...
fromMarch 3, 2019toMarch 11, 2019

GIOVANI OOSTERS

Diamonds Star of the East
Giovani has developed a unique gourmet style. Variety, quality, perfection and friendliness are his credo. As Limburger, Giovani puts a love of the day for the use of local products....
fromMarch 10, 2019toMarch 18, 2019

MARK DIXON

Diamonds Star of the East
Mark Dixon is Norfolk Chef of the year and finalist in the Academy of Culinary arts and takes great pride in his kitchen serving the freshest ingredients, creating seasonal dishes...
fromMarch 17, 2019toMarch 25, 2019

MIKE VRIJDAG

Diamonds Star of the East
The motto of chef and owner of the Michelin starred restaurant Strandlodge is ‘Think Global Eat Local’. His cuisine is all about the overall experience: on moments where wine-food combinations...
fromMarch 24, 2019toApril 1, 2019

VITTORIO COLLEONI

Diamonds Star of the East
His cooking philosophy comes from his father, who opened the restaurant San Martino in 1969. With his brother, he brought it to the now muffled excellence, enriching the proposal through...
fromJune 30, 2019toJuly 8, 2019

GRÉGOIRE ANTONIN

Diamonds Star of the East
After ten years in the service of a renowned chef in Valais, the experience of Grégoire Antonin has lead him to meet people who were able to share in his...
fromJuly 7, 2019toJuly 15, 2019

DAVIDE DEL DUCA

Diamonds Star of the East
The young chef has a marked creative spirit, well represented in his cuisine, well rooted in the territory, with contemporary leaps that enhance the artisan raw material. His Osteria Fernanda,...
fromJuly 14, 2019toJuly 22, 2019

LUKAS KIENBAUER

Diamonds Star of the East
He is one of the major shooting stars of the Austrian gourmet scene. The success of his Lukas Restaurant, located in the historic center of Schärding, is guaranteed by the...
fromJuly 21, 2019toJuly 29, 2019

BENJAMIN MAERZ

Diamonds Star of the East
For the young creative chef and entrepreneur his profession has become a vocation. After a long and deep training in the family business, now he is running with passion the...
fromJuly 28, 2019toAugust 5, 2019

THORSTEN PROBOST

Diamonds Star of the East
Thorsten wandered his way through all kinds of gastronomy from good honest home cooking to nouvelle cuisine. He has been working in Austria’s top restaurants since 1996, in 1999 he...
fromAugust 4, 2019toAugust 18, 2019

Damien Germanier

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The pure Valais native chef brings his cuisine to life according to the seasons. His recipes are born from the encounter with a product and reflect the desire to explore...
fromAugust 11, 2019toAugust 19, 2019

HANS KINKARTZ

Diamonds Star of the East
His restaurant l’Atelier is characterized by surprising dishes in a warm welcoming environment in the heart of the hills of Limburg. He offers a modern, innovative cuisine, with focus on...
fromAugust 18, 2019toAugust 26, 2019

RICK MAY

Diamonds Star of the East
His cooking style is inspired by the French-Mediterranean cuisine enriched with culinary interpretations of Dutch cuisine. His restaurant Fris stands for good food in a relaxed atmosphere, offering an authentic...
fromAugust 25, 2019toSeptember 2, 2019

TOMAS MERKLE

Diamonds Star of the East
At Merkles Restaurant in Endingen at Kaiserstuhl, Thomas offers his guests a star-studded gourmet cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere of a village restaurant. Merkle’s restaurant is a reliable institution, which...

Special events and entertainment in the resort

Diamonds Star of the East
Every day of the week, we plan activities within the resort, suitable for adults and children: Monday: Mzuca Acrobatic show DJ set at Sunset Lounge with DJ Lee Tuesday: Special event: Italian Dinner DJ set at...

Traditional Zanzibar Night in the resort

Diamonds La Gemma dell'Est
Enjoy a unique night while staying in Diamonds La Gemma Dell'Est by experiencing the Zanzibar Night.The African night takes place every Thursday with a typical African Village atmosphere. An unforgettable evening is...
fromJanuary 1, 2019toApril 8, 2019

DINING WITH THE STARS

Diamonds La Gemma dell'Est
''Dining with the Stars'', at its 5th edition in 2018, is the gourmet event that brings the star chefs of the Jeunes Restaurateurs to the kitchens of the exclusive Diamonds Resorts in Zanzibar. From 1st...