Top 10 Things And Places You Can’t Miss In Southern Zanzibar : Zanzibar is one of the best beach vacation destinations in Africa for all travelers’ interests and all budgets. Zanzibar-Unguja and the surrounding islands are divided into three regions: Zanzibar Central/South (capital: Koani), Zanzibar North (capital: Mkokotoni), and Zanzibar Urban/West (capital: Zanzibar City), all of which are worth exploring during your Zanzibar beach vacation. The southern region is one of the best zones to visit in Zanzibar and is the focus of this post today. There are many places worth visiting in the southern Zanzibar region, such as Paje, Jambiani, Kizimkazi, Mtende, and Pingwe. You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for things to do and restaurants in this area. On your southern Zanzibar vocation, here are the top must-do things, and if you do, I’m confident you’ll have a fantastic adventure.
- Swim with wild dolphins at Kizimkazi.
This is unquestionably one of Zanzibar’s most popular tourist destinations. For the chance to see the wild dolphins off the coast, many tourists travel to Kizimkazi. It might be more challenging to see them depending on the time of year you go. Currently (January, February, March, and April), if you want to see the dolphins, you must get up very early and arrive at the beach by 7 a.m. According to their migratory patterns, when there are more passing the island (especially in the summer months), it is much easier to see them. It’s also fairly inexpensive, but make sure you talk to the guide about prices because they might initially charge higher prices in the hopes that you’ll haggle for a lower price. I would estimate that a boat carrying four people would typically cost around 120,000 Tanzanian shillings. This is a fantastic, environmentally friendly way to observe local wildlife! Your visit encourages local fishermen to make money by offering tourists the chance to swim with wild dolphins rather than being compelled to fish for them in order to support their families.
- Hang out at Mtende Beach
This beach appears to be from a movie. Because the beach is sandwiched between two rocks and the tide is so high here, it can feel even more dramatic. However, it’s a great location to visit and enjoy the ocean’s beauty. Entry into the area itself costs 2,000 Tanzanian shillings, or about $1. Two restaurants and one eco-hotel can be found nearby. The menu is quite small and expensive in comparison, but one is much closer to the entrance and has amazing lookout points. The other restaurant is a local eatery with great food and affordable prices; it is situated on the beach and is built up on two rock. Also near the main part of the beach is a swing that is great for swinging, especially as the tide comes in and there is gradually more water underneath you.
- Explore Kuza Cave and Culture Centre
It’s one of my favorite spots on the island, so if you visit Zanzibar, I highly recommend going there. It costs 20,000 Tanzanian shillings ($10) to enter the cave, and since the location is a cultural hub, you can also take drumming and cooking classes in Swahili there. Throughout much of the history of the island, local communities used the cave for rituals, and the water there is said to be “wish water.” Since it has a fairly sizable opening and plenty of lighting, this cave is, in my opinion, fantastic for both novice and seasoned cave swimmers. There are plenty of rocks to jump off of and some chilly water, but be careful because one side is much shallower than the other.
- Eat a meal at the Usumba Rock Restaurant
If you’ve ever heard of the restaurant The Rock, this is a better choice! Depending on when you arrive, you might need to take a boat back to the beach if the tide is too high; the restaurant can arrange this for you. The tide coming in is so amazing to watch, and the food comes so quickly—the fastest you’ve ever experienced on the island. The restaurant can be seen from the stairs leading down to Mtende Beach; the distance is short, and it’s a great way to explore the area before the water arrives. Additionally, you might get to see some cool fish and crabs in their natural environments.
- Take in the atmosphere and eat at Gadea Garden Residence.
It is one of the best restaurant and it is located in Jambiani Village. Amazing hanging plants cover the ceiling, and the dining area is also dotted with additional potted plants. They had some of the best drinks you’ve ever had, and you will enjoy everything you try. You might think that their menu is fairly priced; in the end, a number of drinks, a main course, and a dessert came to about $20 per person. What a wonderful dining experience!
- Learn kitesurfing at Paje.
One of the most well-known kitesurfing locations on the island is probably Paje Beach, and for good reason. You can find a kite school that fits your schedule and skill level because there are so many of them along the beach. Although it may seem expensive, this is a popular pastime among the locals, so why not give it a try while you’re here? Paje is a fantastic location to learn because the beach is also quite lovely. You might even see some cows strolling along the beach if you’re lucky!
- Soak up the sun at Ifa Beach Resort.
Although I may have a bias against this resort because I was able to stay there during one of my trips to the island’s south, its amenities are truly exquisite. The pool is gorgeous, almost always the ideal temperature, and has a fantastic ocean view. It’s a nice place to soak up the sun by the pool while you wait for the tide to come up so you can go swimming in the ocean, because the tide can be quite drastic. The pool area has many lounge chairs and a shower outside for washing your body before or after swimming. The location’s beauty is also enhanced by the abundance of trees and other vegetation. Additionally, I twice had their fresh juice, and both times it was amazing! The mango and pineapple mixed juice is fantastic; I could have sipped on it all day.
- Watch the Sunset at Kae Funk
It is one of the top spots on the island’s east coast to see sunsets because it is directly on the beach. They offer a wide variety of drinks, have a lively bar, and serve delicious food. If you’re interested, they also serve local cuisine. If you’re looking for adventure, jet skis are available for rent in the water, and the sand is incredibly soft.
- Take a ride in a local dhow.
These boats, also known as Ngalawa, are notorious on the island and are the typical vessels used by Zanzibari fishermen. They are typically beautifully carved by hand. A great way to tour the coast is to go for a ride in one with a local fisherman; you can typically stop along the way to go snorkeling. You never know what you’re going to find in the ocean, which is amazing! These rides typically cost around 40,000 Tanzanian shillings, but the captain has the final say on the price.
- Watch the tide change on Jambiani Beach
The tide also drastically changes throughout the day in Kiwengwa. Low tide may occur in the middle of the night or in the middle of the afternoon, depending on when you will be there. No matter what, relaxing on Jambiani Beach and taking in the ocean’s power is awesome. Additionally, you can use this time to venture further out into the water and discover areas that are inaccessible during regular tides. However, Jambiani does have a good number of sea urchins, so be cautious. I advise putting on shoes or finding out where it’s safe to swim from a local.
That completes my list of places to visit, activities to engage in, and restaurants to try in Zanzibar’s southern region. If you’re interested in making travel arrangements, I suggest getting in touch with us at Focus East Africa Tours to know more about many of the other areas of the island and to start planning your vocation.