Zanzibar was the final stop on our honeymoon tour of Africa. We purposely chose to end in Zanzibar because we thought it would be nice to leave on a “relaxing” note after the “active” portion of our trip. Turns out, the Safari was just as relaxing as lounging by the pool all day. All the same, it made for a good excuse to visit and explore this beautiful island off the coast of Tanzania.
October 5, 2018 – Stone Town
I remember landing at Zanzibar’s tiny airport, collecting our giant suitcases [which we hadn’t lifted since leaving California] and then realizing we had no idea how to get to our hotel or where it was in relation to the airport. It makes me LOL now because we were living in a honeymoon dream. After being pampered the last 12 days, we were definitely spoiled and a bit disoriented to be on our own again. Up until this point, we hadn’t needed to think or make any decisions, a welcome break from the stress of wedding planning, and this was a small step back towards reality.
When we finally wised up, we hailed a taxi to our hotel in Stone Town ($25 USD and takes about 15 minutes). After checking in, we set out to explore Stone Town on foot. We strolled past the Old Fort of Zanzibar [but didn’t go in] and walked through the evening food market along the water in Forodhani Park. As the sun started to set, we made our way back for a couple of sundowners at the hotel happy hour on the oceanside veranda. That night we opted to eat at the hotel restaurant since we didn’t have reservations.
October 6, 2018 – Tatata Spice Farm & Kendwa Beach
The next morning we hired a driver through our hotel to take us around the island for a few hours (approximately $80 USD for five hours). Since Zanzibar is known as the Spice Island, we felt obligated to visit a local Spice Farm, Big Body with Tatata Spice Farm. While we did see a ton of spice vegetation (robusta coffee trees, lemon grass, jack fruit, vanilla bean, henna trees, aloe vera, peppercorn, turmeric, cinnamon, cocoa trees, ginger and cloves) and the guides were extremely friendly and knowledgable, the place did feel a bit touristy.
From here, we made our way further north in search of some sun and sand. It was eye opening to see parts of the island that aren’t catered to tourists and a frank reminder to be grateful for even the most basic resources that we have readily available in the U.S.
When we arrived at the beach it was a bit overcast but we decided to chance it and I’m glad we did because we basically had the place to ourselves. Kendwa Beach is supposedly one of the most beautiful on the Island of Zanzibar and the waters were calm and the most rich shade of turquoise. There are also places to rent water sports equipment and a few hotels nearby where you can grab a drink or bite to eat. One thing to note is that the drive to/from the beach is a bit bumpy and a tad sketchy if you don’t enter via any of the hotels.
After an hour or so, we made our way back to the hotel. We had spa appointments for a couples massage that afternoon and it was a 1.5 hour drive back. The massages were enjoyable but nothing special.
For dinner that night we had reservations at the Tea House Restaurant at Emerson on Hurumzi. This rooftop Tea House offers stunning views of the city and Indian Ocean. They are reservation only and offer a three course prix fixe menu for $40/person [excluding drinks]. Dinner is served as the sun sets to patrons sitting on floor cushions while live music plays in the background. If that doesn’t convince you to go, then I’m also happy to report that the food is delicious, unique and authentic. One of the best meals of our honeymoon.
October 7, 2018 – Shopping in Stone Town
Our final day of honeymoon was fairly relaxed. After breakfast at the hotel, we wandered into town in search of souvenirs for our friends & family. After scooping up a few goodies, we spent one last afternoon at the hotel pool before packing up and grabbing a taxi to the airport.
Zanzibar was the perfect conclusion to the most incredible trip and honeymoon we could have ever imagined!
Kara & Kevin
Accommodations & Country Specific Details
Stay: Park Hyatt Zanzibar
I was truly torn when trying to book accommodations in Zanzibar. Initially I was looking for a cute boutique hotel or a rustic beach bungalow but struck out either on availability or price. In the end, we went with the Park Hyatt Zanzibar because it had solid reviews and was centrally located in Stone Town.
As I mentioned previously, we were absolutely spoiled at our first two honeymoon stops and so the Park Hyatt felt a little lackluster in comparison. That said, the property was beautiful, the rooms were modern and clean and the staff was friendly, helpful and gracious.
Our experience at the spa was mediocre but we loved lounging at the infinity pool and veranda over looking the ocean and enjoyed being able to easily walk around Stone Town. For the price point, I think the Park Hyatt Zanzibar is a great option and I would recommend it though I might also try something else if we were to ever go back.
To Zanzibar: By plane on Auric Air from Manyara Airstrip to Zanzibar Airport (arranged by &Beyond).
Around Zanzibar: We walked around Stone Town and used taxis to get to/from the airport and to the Spice Farm/Beach.
Currency: Tanzanian shilling (TSH) but most vendors also accept USD and EUR (which is what we primarily used). I recommend bringing smaller bills to avoid needing change.
Language: Swahili but could communicate using English in most cases. Did learn a few fun words including: asante (thank you), karibu (you’re welcome), jambo (hello).
Outlet Adapter: The standard voltage is 220-240V. The standard frequency is 50 Hz. The power sockets that are used are of type D & G. That said, everywhere we stayed had USB outlets or standard US power sockets type A & B.
Passport/Visa Requirements: U.S. Passport valid for at least six months from date of travel. Visa is required to enter Tanzania but can be acquired upon entry for $50 USD. Visas can also be issued ahead of time by applying online.
Vaccinations/Medicines: List of vaccinations recommended for Zanzibar, Tanzania found here. We both got Yellow Fever to be safe (we had a layover in Ethiopia which is a yellow fever country but since we were only in the airport for less than 8 hours, it technically wasn’t required), we also received updated Typhoid and DTaP vaccines and Malaria Pills. We’ve both already completed both Hep A & B series vaccines.
Weather: We visited Zanzibar in early October, their late spring. It was warm and sunny for the most part but we also had brief rain showers throughout the day. It was warm enough to sit comfortably by the pool or at the beach but definitely not super hot.