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Zanzibar City Island tours

Our most recommended Zanzibar City Island tours

Zanzibar: Prison Island Tour with Lunch on the Sandbank

1. Zanzibar: Prison Island Tour with Lunch on the Sandbank

Your Zanzibar adventure begins with a visit to Prison Island, purchased in 1893 by Lloyd Mathews, the British First Minister of Zanzibar at the time. Mathews constructed a prison complex on the island which is still visible today, however no prisoners were ever housed on the island and instead it became a quarantine station for yellow fever sufferers. On the island, spend some time exploring the area and discover the collection of over 50 tortoises that live here, some of which are more than 100 years old. Learn about why the tortoises call the island their home, as well as taking photos and feeding them too. The island is also home to peacocks and small antelope too. Once you’ve explored the island, enjoy the opportunity to cool off from the hot weather with a refreshing dip in the surrounding crystal clear waters. Spend some time snorkeling in the water just off the island and search for colorful tropical fish and vibrant coral reef. After you’ve worked up an appetite from swimming, relax on the sandbank with a delicious lunch including a seafood BBQ, Swahili cuisine, cheese, tropical fruit, and more.

Zanzibar: Quad Bike Adventure Tour to a Local Village

2. Zanzibar: Quad Bike Adventure Tour to a Local Village

Meet your guide at the office of the activity provider then drive along the main road going to Pwani Majangani, for about 4 km. The tour usually stops for a few minutes at a local shop where you can buy some food to offer as a present to the village. After this small pit stop, you leave the tarmac road to ride the quad off-road through the rice fields, where your guide stops for about 15 minutes to explain the economy, culture, and habits of the villages in the middle part of the island. After this explanation, the excursion goes ahead through the environment of the island to arrive at the local village, where you'll stop for about 1 hour. Travelers will have the opportunity to stay with the children, play with them, and be in contact with the community of the village. After this first contact, your guide will offer guests local fresh fruits (Madafu, seasonal fresh fruit). Next, head to the House of Mad, a typical home in the rural village, as your guide discusses the life and culture of the Zanzibarian people. Before getting back on the quad, visit plantations of cinnamon, cloves, lemon grass, and other varieties, which are cultivated by the people of the village. You finally leave the village riding to Pwani Majangani to reach the fishermen's village. At the village, you will stop for a few minutes to explain the difference between the rural village and the community based on the coast of the Island. Following the sand road, passing through the fishermen's houses, you arrive at the beach where you will stop for a few minutes before heading back to the starting point.

Prison Island: Private Half-Day Tour

3. Prison Island: Private Half-Day Tour

This private guided half day tour can begin any time from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM. Meet your well-trained guide and boatman as your board your steam-engine wooden boat. Head to the prestigious island and enjoy the 30-minute journey.  Listen to the history of the island and discover the past centuries through the historical buildings, which have served many purposes over the years including a prison, chapel, and hiding place for slaves after the abolition.  Enjoy a swim or snorkel around the colorful coral rocks and turquoise waters. Play with giant tortoises and you may take photographs with these old precious creatures. If you do not have much experience or confidence in the water, you will be provided with a life jacket. 

Zanzibar: Changuu Island and Stone Town Tour with Lunch

4. Zanzibar: Changuu Island and Stone Town Tour with Lunch

The tour begins with a private boat trip to Changuu Island, also known as Prison Island or Turtle Island. The island earned its name after it was purchased in 1893 by the British First Minister of Zanzibar who constructed a prison complex here. Although no prisoners were ever housed on the island, it was eventually used as a quarantine station for yellow fever sufferers, and later became home to more than 50 tortoises who still live there today. On the island, enjoy some free time to explore the beauty of this wild paradise, and get up close to the tortoises that roam freely. Some of the tortoises here are more than 100 years old, and you can even get close enough to feed them and take photos. You can also find peacocks and antelope on the island, then cool off in the crystal clear waters during a snorkel session in search of marine life, colorful fish, and coral reef. After your visit to Changuu Island, head towards one of the most historically prominent and artistic destinations in East Africa, Stone Town. Upon arrival, admire the fascinating architecture of the town, which dates back to the 19th century, and reflects the diverse influences of Swahili, Arab, Persian, Indian and European cultures. Learn about how the town earned its UNESCO World Heritage status, and then visit the Old Slave Market and the City Market. Here you can shop for almost anything whilst soaking up the authentic East African atmosphere and meeting the locals. Once you’ve wandered through the market it’s time to visit the Palace Museum, the local House of Wonder, and of course Freddie Mercury’s former home. There’s also time for a trip to the Peace Memorial and the Natural History Museum before ending the tour with a delicious local lunch at a traditional restaurant.

From Stone Town: Private Tour to Prison Island

5. From Stone Town: Private Tour to Prison Island

Visit Prison Island on a private 3-hour tour, and discover the rich history and beautiful natural surroundings of this location. Meet your guide in Zanzibar, or select the option including hotel pickup, then enjoy the ride to the island on a traditional dhow. Learn how this small island gained its name and explore the place that is now home to more than 50 tortoises, some over 100 years old.   Feed the tortoises and take up-close pictures with them, as you keep a look out for the peacocks and antelope that also live there. After discovering the island and its history, take the opportunity to snorkel in the clear waters off the coast amongst tropical fish and colorful coral. At the end of your tour, return to Zanzibar, where you’ll be dropped off in the city center, or at your hotel.

Zanzibar: Mnemba Atoll Marine Reserve Snorkeling Tour

6. Zanzibar: Mnemba Atoll Marine Reserve Snorkeling Tour

After pickup at your hotel on Unguja, Zanzibar, hop in your private boat toward Mnemba Island. Depending on conditions, reach the coral reef of the Mnemba Atoll Marine Reserve in up to 20 minutes. Once there, explore a reef that is big enough for everyone so you won't feel crowded, even on busy days. Keep your eyes peeled for yellow snapper, barracuda, turtles, and much more. After snorkeling, enjoy a snack stop on a sandbank. Relax under the sun as you savor seasonal fresh fruit and other small bites. Later, head back to shore on Unguja. See local fishermen coming back from the sea and selling their day's catches before being transferred back to your accommodation.

Zanzibar: Spice Farm Tour with Traditional Cooking Lesson

7. Zanzibar: Spice Farm Tour with Traditional Cooking Lesson

Visit an organic spice farm on this 3-hour guided tour to learn about one of Zanzibar’s most popular industries: spices. Discover how the islands produce cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, black pepper, and more. See why the Zanzibar Archipelago, together with Tanzania's Mafia Island, is sometimes called the "Spice Islands".   When you arrive, the spice farm guide will describe how the spices are grown and used as medication and flavor in dishes. See spices like vanilla, cardamom, nutmeg, and many more. You’ll be able to touch, smell, and taste the spices and herbs directly from plants—you’ve never smelled spices as fresh as these before. Along with these fragrant plants, there will also be some fresh tropical fruits to see and taste.     Later, take the opportunity to join a cassava leaf harvest, make coconut milk, and practice some cooking. Then, a coconut tree climber will pick some fresh young coconut fruits for you to try. End the trip with lunch at the spice farm and the opportunity to purchase spices from the shop.

Stone Town: Stone Town and Prison Island Private Day Trip

8. Stone Town: Stone Town and Prison Island Private Day Trip

See the National Museum of Zanzibar (rebuilt in 1883) and the Arab fort while passing along bazaar streets towards the famous Freddie Mercury house. See the old slave market, fruit market, and spice market — don’t miss the classic Zanzibar curved doors decorating the stone town.  After you have explored Stone Town, you’ll have an opportunity to take a short break before heading to Prison Island. Prison Island is also known as Changuu Island, the nickname came from the island being used by some sultans of Zanzibar to detain enslaved people. While you are on this island, you can swim and take pictures with giant tortoises. 

Zanzibar: Ethical Dolphin Tour with Island Picnic

9. Zanzibar: Ethical Dolphin Tour with Island Picnic

Go on an ethical dolphin tour with boat captains who are specially trained to operate sustainably and respectfully towards the dolphins. As well as dolphin watching, enjoy a full day of fun activities by including a picnic on the Invisible Island and snorkeling in the nearby coral reefs. Get an early start in the morning with pickup from your hotel in Stone Town. Then, drive for around 30 minutes to thefishing village, Kizimkazi, whose shores are home to several pods of humpback and bottlenose dolphins. Experience the once-in-a-lifetime chance of spotting dolphins in the protected Menai Bay Conservation Area. Conditions permitting, you will also have the chance to swim with the dolphins.  Rest and enjoy a picnic lunch on the Invisible Island. Go for a swim, snorkel, or gaze out at the beauty of the Indian Ocean.

Zanzibar: Full-Day Protected Chumbe Island Tour w. Lunch

10. Zanzibar: Full-Day Protected Chumbe Island Tour w. Lunch

Snorkel in the most colorful underwater world with a huge variety of fish, corals, turtles and other fascinating sea creatures. Learn about the marine life, forest, and nature reserve from professional guides. Enjoy a tour of one of the eco-bungalows available for overnight guests, and taste the delicious Swahili cuisine for lunch. The Chumbe Island Coral Park is an award-winning private nature reserve and one of the last pristine coral islands around. It is the home of many rare and endangered animals that are protected here. The park includes a fully protected coral reef sanctuary and forest reserve, a visitor and education center, nature trails, historical ruins, and eco-bungalows for overnight guests. Snorkeling gear and wetsuits are available to borrow before your experienced guide and a professional marine biologist take you on the most beautiful snorkeling tour you may have ever experienced. The almost untouched reef includes over 400 species of fish, more than 200 species of corals, turtles, friendly sharks, and many more. After you return, a delicious buffet with dessert is served. The rest of the day you can relax at the beach, enjoy the many sitting areas at the education center and around the island, or you can go on a guided nature trail walk. As a Marine Protected Area, the number of guests on the island is limited to 14 persons. Day trip bookings can only be made if there is availability in the lodge. This means that we can only take advance bookings for overnight stays and not for day trips (which can be booked a couple of days beforehand).

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What people are saying about Zanzibar City

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 8 reviews

Unmissable!!! Palace of Versailles is of infinite cultural wealth, stroll through history, its narratives and beauties. Walking through the most well-kept gardens in the world also becomes an unspeakable experience, you have to come to delight in so many wonders!!

All well organized, guide was friendly and explained really a lot. All others involved including driver very kind and punctual.

Guide was friendly and knowledgeable. He went the extra mile to make sure we saw as much as we could during our tour.

Our guide Simba, he is very funny and a nice guy,we spend the trip laughing with him. 5 stars absolutely

Very nice visit Nice trip through time Lots of people at that time (end of July)