Zanzibar: Where to play and stay

Zanzibar, the Indian Ocean island with historical links to the Sultanate of Oman, is a place full of history, richly colourful cultures, and magical sunsets and seascapes...

Zanzibar is also the perfect place for you and the family to stay and play – while soaking up some Indian Ocean-style luxury. Here are some ideas…

Get lost in the Stone Town streets…

With its exotic mix of Arabic, African and European influences, Stone Town – one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites – is the historical and cultural heart of Zanzibar. It’s here, in Stone Town’s tiny streets and alleyways, public squares, coffee shops and tea houses, and markets selling fresh produce and fish, where you can get lost in a myriad of old-world wonder and charm.

Take a sunset cruise…

Zanzibar has a long and rich maritime history, which has been carried afloat through hundreds of years by the island’s traditional style wooden dhows. Used mainly for fishing, and transport to and from neighbouring islands, these boats are also perfect for a sunset cruise with family and friends (and accompanying schools of dolphins), or for heading out to a secluded beach for a midmorning picnic brunch. 

Explore underwater Zanzibar…

For scuba divers, Zanzibar needs no introduction. This is where, as the globally-based PADI diving organisation explains, aquariumlike conditions combine with an array of micro, and giant marine life – like whale sharks and turtles – making it one of the world's premier dive destinations. And, for those that are just keen to go snorkelling, there’s a kaleidoscope of colourful marine life to see in shallow water.

Head off on a spicy adventure…

Zanzibar still goes by the name of ‘Spice Island’, as a result of it being one of the world’s leading producers of cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon in the 1800s. Today, travellers can head off on an adventure in exotic, spicy aromas, and delicious, locally prepared dishes – on one of the island’s celebrated spice plantation tours.

Learn to kitesurf…

Two factors combine to make Zanzibar one of the world’s premier kitesurfing destinations. One is the flat water conditions on the lagoons adjacent to the island – which means fast sailing for the pros, but also perfect conditions for beginners. Another is the consistently good trade winds – especially in January and February, and June, July, and August. There are also several kitesurfing schools based around the islands, who offer top-class instruction and equipment. For both beginners and experienced kiters, it’s a fantastic spot.

Where to stay: Luxury highlights

If you’re looking for a luxurious stay-and-play spot on Zanzibar, keep these three magnificent properties in mind…

Kilindi Zanzibar: Located on the northern part of Zanzibar, nestled among a 35 acre tropical garden, Kilindi’s 15 ultra luxurious, white-domed villas in Zanzi-baroque style (each with their own private plunge pools and rainfall shower) provide an unforgettable Indian Ocean island escape.

Zuri Zanzibar: With stunning views over Zanzibar’s azure-blue waters, Zuri Zanzibar offers 55 bungalows, suites, and beach villas all touched by a traditional-chique style, and complimented by a culinary experience that features a mixture of African, Arabic and Indian influences. It’s luxurious, delicious place to be.

Kono Kono: Kono Kono, on the south-east coast of Zanzibar, covers almost 48,000 square metres – of which 40% is under the Kono Kono conservation project. This is where you come to relax, rejuvenate, soak up the Zanzibari sun, and immerse yourself in the island’s wildlife wonders.

Travel back in time: Oman and Zanzibar

Around the mid-1830s, Oman’s ruler Said bin Sultan moved his court from Muscat to Zanzibar’s Stone Town, in order to establish a ruling Arab elite. This came after Zanzibar had become part of the overseas holdings of Oman around 130 years previously in 1698, at a time when Saif bin Sultan – the then Imam of Oman – had defeated the Portuguese in Mombasa, Kenya. These days, Oman maintains close cultural ties with Zanzibar, and the Indian Ocean island remains a favourite travel destination for the people of Oman.

Online Info:

For more info on what to see and explore around Zanzibar, visit the island’s official tourism site

Kilindi Zanzibar:

Zuri Zanzibar:

Kono Kono Zanzibar:

Fly Oman Air!

Oman Air flies direct Muscat/Zanzibar. To view the full flight schedule and to book flights, visit

Images: © Zuri Zanzibar; Kono Kono Zanzibar