Nungwe, Stone Town, and Dongwe: Island Vacation

A 8 day trip to Tanzania 
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Beaches glisten beneath the moonlight, and sounds echo through alleyways of coral houses. Wild dolphins will play as you swim alongside them, and tropical colors will greet you at spice plantations and reefs. Welcome to the most exotic island of them all, where white sand escapism meets ancient heritage in the Indian Ocean. This one-week tour covers Zanzibar’s key highlights, having you stay at beaches on two sides of the island with three nights in Stone Town as well.

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Zanzibar Town, Nungwe, Stone Town, Kizimkazi, Jozani, Dongwe

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Zanzibar Town to Nungwe – White Sand and Escapism

Small coral cliffs will provide the jagged backdrop to Nungwe’s sand, with the beach turning into a series of bays at high tide. At low tide, you can walk for hours. When the water rises, it creates privacy as each beach becomes cut off from the next. Your resort hotel will be perched on these coral cliffs, with barefoot access to the sand and plenty of sunny and shady spaces to lounge throughout the day. It will be a one-hour transfer from Zanzibar’s only airport, and from this northern tip, the Indian Ocean will seem endless. Just gaze out and soak up the views, especially when the tide comes in and the turquoise colors come so near.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Nungwe – Snorkeling and Sunset on a Traditional Wooden Dhow

Pristine reefs will dot the water all around Nungwe, making this the best area in Zanzibar for snorkeling and scuba diving. It depends on how adventurous you are as the very best reefs require a longer boat ride, while there are some much closer to shore for a shorter excursion. You do not have to go anywhere. This day will be left free, so you can relax on the beach, take a stroll along the sand, choose some marine adventures, and then embark on a wooden dhow in the late afternoon.

Dhows are the traditional mode of travel here. They are rounded, wooden boats that once ferried cargo across the ocean to Persia and India. You will cruise on the power of the wind, and drift away as wine bottles are opened and you nibble on a picnic snacks. You can sit back as you cruise along the coral coastline, appreciating how the white beaches are mostly backdropped by indigenous forest. As you keep sailing, dusk will bring lovely changes in hue, as an enormous African sun will drop gently into the ocean. Then, back in Nungwe, you can take your pick from the fish restaurants that range from rustic to absolutely decadent.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Stone Town – History and Mystique of Zanzibar’s Old Town

You will spend a few more hours on the beach this morning. Then, it will be time to get out of the sun. Zanzibar is practically on the equator, and spending a full week on the beach can really take it out of you, even if you are only lounging around. Stone Town is both an exotic and cultural interlude, and once you are inside the World Heritage area, there will be the beauty of early-afternoon shade. You will check into your small, boutique hotel, which will be one of the coral houses for which Zanzibar is now protected as a UNESCO site. Then, you will set off with your walking as you take a sensual tour of the old streets.

Footsteps will echo down through the maze as you explore Tippu Tip’s House, which is the former home of the island’s most infamous slave trader. Passing a Hindu temple and an elaborate mosque, you will eventually reach the Anglican Cathedral of Christ. In the murky smells of the Hamamni Baths, you will explore old Persian designs with geometric patterns that twist all around the walls and ceiling. Malindi Mosque is the most picturesque, and you will be allowed to look inside. It is also a beautiful place to be near when the Muezzin makes his call to prayer.

Turning and twisting in the maze, you will come out at Darakani Bazaar, which is an evocative market of spices, fish, fabrics, vegetables, batteries, shouting traders, and aromatic ambiance. The old slave market will be nearby, and its story is such a contrast from the opulence of The Old Dispensary and House of Wonders. As sunset draws near, you can check out the Old Fort, perhaps stopping for coffee. As dusk arrives, you will be in Forodhani Gardens, immersed in the sizzle and scent of barbecued seafood. Over the last few hours, the narrative will have gone from Chinese traders to Omani art, and from Persian design to European-inspired architecture.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Stone Town – Full Day Archipelago Cruise Including Changuu

Sandbanks lie deserted to Zanzibar’s west, appearing at low tide. Uninhabited islets are all sand and palm trees as they beckon you forward. Reefs rise like strange knolls, sometimes their tips peeking above the water. Protected from the ocean swell, this swathe of water between Zanzibar and mainland Africa is a shelter for both marine life and private experiences. Spend the whole of today on a private dhow tour, cutting a path through the islets and sandbanks. Disembark and go swimming or snorkeling with no other people around. Stop at a sandbank for a barbecue lunch with your feet in the sand. Check out Changuu island and its tortoise population, then sail the afternoon away as a salty breeze ruffles past your ears.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Stone Town – Spice Tour with Village Visit and Cooking Workshop

Zanzibar is the island of spices, and for centuries it cultivated and traded, sending exotic fragrances as far as China and Northern Europe. Mountains of cloves will tickle your nostrils. Nutmeg and cinnamon grow abundantly, and vanilla is planted alongside cardamom and turmeric. On a private plantation tour, you will explore first with your nose, inhaling the scents that made Zanzibar internationally famous. Fruit such as jackfruit and oranges also grow in in the area. You may sit down to taste and appreciate how it is always better when it comes fresh from the farm. Then, you may take some of these spices to a nearby village and put them to use.

All these spices are not native to Zanzibar. It is just that the climate is ideal for their cultivation and the island has been a trading post for over a millennium. Over that time people have brought different culinary ideas, crafting a Zanzibari cuisine that is a mix of Persia, India, and Africa. You will learn the gastronomic secrets with your chef guide, who will take the freshly procured spices to create dishes like a spiced pilaf, octopus curry, coconut bean soup, and highly fragrant bread. The highlight of staying in Stone Town is that you will later have a third evening in the old maze, walking and exploring like the locals as you feel the evening energy of a very social community.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Kizimkazi to Jozani to Dongwe – Swimming with Dolphins, Colobus Monkeys, and a Private Beach

Dolphins will come into the Kizimkazi bay each morning. The shallow waters are home to one of their favorite and most reliable meals, which is a small, abundant fish that also feeds here each morning. You will need an early start to swim with them because the dolphins will be back out in deep water by around 8 a.m. Just after sunrise, you will encounter large pods, playfully pirouetting through the Indian Ocean waves. You can jump in with one and try to follow, watching how they somersault downwards and then spiral back towards the surface. What is most impressive are the sounds, which will be an orchestra of tweets and squeaks.

From Kizimkazi you will stop for a second breakfast en route to Jozani. It will be 9 a.m. now, so the forested national park will not be too busy. Here, you can set off on the trails in search of red colobus monkeys, which is a rare primate that is noticeable for its long, elegant tails and calm gestures. Colobus monkeys like to chill, and they are a symbol of the island, hanging around the branches in beautiful repose and are never flustered by cameras or visitors. Even after these two wildlife stops, you will reach Dongwe in time for lunch. So, check in, check out the exclusivity of the location, and savor an afternoon of doing nothing it all.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Dongwe – The Beauty of Doing Nothing at All (Plus, Dinner at The Rock)

Zanzibar’s southeastern coast is not fully developed. There are a handful of small resorts, and these are well spaced with over a mile between them. Further south from Dongwe, in Jambiani and Paje, you will find a few beach shacks and villas, but mostly the buildings are private residences. Unlike other Indian Ocean islands, Zanzibar has not been ruined by aggressive construction and large-scale resorts. Your suite will be tucked away in the trees, besides a virtually private beach, and without a noisy or nosy neighbor nearby. While Nungwe has some life and different places to eat and dine, Dongwe is cut off and there is not much to do here, which is probably the reason it is so special.

You can walk along the beach, and at low tide, you can walk a marathon on the white sand because it will be so beautiful. Other than a couple of local fishermen, there will be no other people around. Rounding off your week in Zanzibar is The Rock, which is a restaurant that is perched on a coral outcrop, just off the shore. It is the island’s most famous restaurant, serving Italian Zanzibari cuisine and sunset cocktails that you will want to keep ordering.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Dongwe to Zanzibar Town – Departure

Enjoy some final hours on the beach before a transfer back to Zanzibar Town and the island’s airport.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfas

Price

Price 

Your custom trip package will include accommodations, transportation within the country, guided tours and activities, unique experiences, trip planning, and 24X7 support during your trip. 

Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates!