Last-Minute Zanzibar Express: Culture, History, & Relaxation

Cultural Stone Town | Dhow Safari | Spice Farm | Swahili Cooking Lesson | Jozani Forest | Muungoni Village | Pongwe Beach

November 18 - 25, 2023December 1 - 8, 2023December 9 - 16, 2023(or custom dates for private trip)

2468 USD Double Occupancy | 3707 USD Single Occupancy
Book This TripMore Last-Minute Specials

Itinerary

This incredible Zanzibar holiday is perfect for those who have a week to spare! It is a culturally rich holiday that begins in Zanzibar's historic Stone Town featuring a stay at one of the incredible Swahili-style Emerson hotels and lots of cultural and culinary activities followed by four days of relaxation and coastal activities in a serene area on the east coast of the island.

Destination: International Arrival in Zanzibar; Stone Town
Accommodations: Emerson on Hurumzi or Emerson Spice House
Activities: Arrival; Hotel Check-in; Secret Garden dinner
Transit Time: 20 minutes from airport to hotel

You will be greeted at the Zanzibar airport and taken to historic Stone Town where you will check in to one of the historic Emerson hotels, a pair of elegant boutique hotels that capture the essence of traditional Swahili architecture. Emerson Spice consists of three adjoining World Heritage site buildings in the exotic Kasbah of Zanzibar’s Stone Town. Two of the facades face a quaint square at the end of historic Tharia Street, a principal thoroughfare for walking tours of the city. The third façade looks down Tharia Street toward the Anglican Cathedral and the slave market. Nestled among the rear facades is a squared private courtyard containing an ancient well. Emerson on Hurumzi was once the home of one of the richest men in the Swahili Empire, built in the 1870s at a location and height from which he could obtain a clear view of the ocean and watch his vessels and precious cargo arrive in the nearby port of Malindi. The top of the building reaches a height of 80 ft and now houses the restaurant of Emerson on Hurumzi Hotel while still commanding a magnificent view of the Indian Ocean and the jumble of rooftops, tea houses, mosques, and spires that make up the bird’s eye view of Stone Town. After settling into your rooms, enjoy dinner in the Secret Garden of Emerson Spice House before settling in for a good night’s rest.

*Note that most flights from the U.S. to Zanzibar arrive in the evening, but if your flight arrives early, we can arrange additional meals and activities for you on day 1.

Destination: Stone Town
Accommodations: Emerson on Hurumzi or Emerson Spice House
Activities: Stone Town Tour; Traditional Swahili Tea Ceremony; (Optional) massage or treatment at Mrembo Spa; “Taste Safari” rooftop dinner

After breakfast, you will be met by a local guide and taken on a historical and cultural walking tour of Stone Town, a perfect initiation into the sensory paradise that is Zanzibar. While savoring the local treats along the way, you will learn about Stone Town’s complex history and also about contemporary life in Zanzibar. After lunch, return to Emerson on Hurumzi for a traditional Zanzibar chai ceremony, during which you learn more about the culinary traditions of Zanzibar, how Zanzibari chai is made, and for which occasion the special chai is served. Chai is accompanied by a variety of traditional Zanzibar sweets. Enjoy a little free time exploring Stone Town on foot or relax in your hotel before joining the group for a fantastic rooftop dinner celebration—a “Swahili food safari” with music performed by the Dhow Countries Music Academy.

Destination: Stone Town
Accommodations: Emerson on Hurumzi or Emerson Spice House
Activities: Spice Farm Tour; Swahili Cooking Lesson and Lunch; Forodhani Gardens Night Market
Transit times: 25 mins to/from the spice farm

After an early breakfast in the hotel’s Mistress of Spices Lounge, depart with your guide for the local market where you will purchase ingredients for your Swahili cooking lesson. Then continue on to the village of Dole bordering the Masingini Forest for a tour of the Tangawizi Spice Farm. Zanzibar is known as the “Spice Island”, a name that evokes a romantic past infused with the particular aroma of cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and lemongrass. Today, these, and many other spices, herbs, and tropical fruits are cultivated on the same plantations that have been producing them for centuries. A tour of the Tangawizi spice plantation starts with a drive through a profusion of greenery in the countryside and follows with a walk through the plantation where you will see and taste a variety of mouth-watering tropical fruits such as: jack fruit, pineapple, banana, green coconut (madafu), durian, love apple (matufaa), litchi (shoki-shoki), sour sop (mabungo), and star fruit (carambola); spices such as cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, turmeric, and nutmeg. A full tour involves much more than edible plants—you will also have a chance to see the iodine plant, heena bush, ylang-ylang, lipstick tree, cacao, and coffee trees. The tour additionally includes a bit of history with a visit to the Kidichi Persian Baths built in 1850 by Seyyid Said bin Sultan for his Persian wife Princess Sheherezade, granddaughter of the Shah of Persia, and to the Maruhubi Palace Ruins built by the third Sultan of Zanzibar Seyyid Barghash for his 99 concubines. After the tour, walk to the outdoor kitchen to prepare a sumptuous Swahili meal using many of the spices and fruits you have just sampled, with the guidance of an expert Zanzibari home cook. Afterward, return to the hotel for a brief rest before venturing out on your Made in Zanzibar tour, a shopping excursion that promotes local handcrafts in various shops around Stone Town, led by a local guide. In the evening, dine under torchlight at the most spectacular street food display at Forodhani Gardens Food Market on the seafront, an iconic Zanzibar experience.

Destination: Jozani Forest Reserve; Paje
Accommodations: Kisiwa on the Beach
Activities: Jozani Forest Reserve tour; beach time
Transit Time: 1 hour to Jozani; 30 minutes to resort

Rise with the call to prayer, enjoy an early breakfast, and depart for the southeast of Ungunja, first stop: Jozani Forest Reserve. Jozani tropical rainforest (Jozani Chakwa Bay National Park) lies 35 kilometers southeast of Stone Town with an area of about 1,000 hectares. Long ago, you could find leopards and antelopes that are now reported extinct. At present, you will find primates such as the indigenous red colobus monkey, the blue Sykes monkey, and the adorable bush baby. The red colobus monkey is one of the most endangered and rarest species in the world. They are very friendly creatures, love to be photographed, and can be viewed at close quarters with the help of your guide. You are also likely to see some of the 50 butterfly species, 40 bird species, and several species of snake. Other interesting features of this ecosystem include the coastal evergreen bushland, mangrove forest, saline grassland, and groundwater forest. Continue on to Paje on the serene east coast of Unguja where lies Kisiwa on the Beach, an idyllic retreat with gorgeous white sandy beaches, oscillating palm trees, a seemingly endless turquoise ocean, jaw-droppingly beautiful sunsets along a stretch of picture-perfect coastline. Check into you beach villa, kick off your shoes, and soak in the sun, sand, and surf. The afternoon is reserved for relaxation! Gather for dinner at the restaurant which features an evolving menu of Swahili-Zanzibari cuisine using locally sourced ingredients and freshly caught seafood paired with carefully selected wines and freshly squeezed local juices to create an authentic local culinary experience you will never forget! Round off the night with amazing sunsets and star gazing. Sleep to the sound of waves lapping outside your door.

Destination: Paje; Fumba; Menai Bay Conservation Area
Accommodations: Kisiwa on the Beach
Activities: Safari Blue Dhow Tour
Transit Times: 1 hour to/from Fumba; leisurely sailing throughout the day

Wake to the sound of waves and step out onto the sand for a nice stretch! After a tropical breakfast, it is time to depart on a full-day adventure with Safari Blue. After breakfast, your driver will take you to to the little fishing village of Fumba, and set sail into Menai Bay where you can glide alongside pods of dolphins, which local conservation efforts have allowed to flourish. Mid-morning, land on a powdery sandbank and enjoy snorkeling in the shallows or bask in the sun under the clear Zanzibari sky, then snorkel over two different reefs, both offering a variety of pristine marine life. After working up an appetite, the Kwale Island “restaurant” is ready and waiting for your arrival where you will feast on a freshly caught seafood buffet. Taste 10-15 of Zanzibar’s exotic fruits, and sip on Amarula and coffee. Mid-afternoon, discover all that Kwale island has to offer: sail on a traditional ngalawa canoe, explore the mangroves, climb an ancient baobab, witness the coral formations, swim or lounge the afternoon away on a day-bed on the beach. Finally, in late afternoon when the day is done, the crew hoists the lateen sail as you make a leisurely voyage back to shore. From here, your driver will bring you back to Paje to relax as the sun sets on your glorious day in paradise. Enjoy another island-to-table dinner on the sand.

Destination: Paje; Nungwi; The Rock
Accommodations: Kisiwa on the Beach
Activities: Nungwi Village bike tour; Swimming with sea turtles; Free time; The Rock Restaurant
Transit Times: 1.5 hours to/from Nungwi; 20 minutes to/from The Rock

Today is a day full of Insta-Famous experiences, so have your camera ready! After breakfast, your local guide will take you to the north of the island to spend an interesting morning biking* through Nungwi village, discovering how locals live their everyday lives and how they make their livelihoods. This is a great opportunity to get in touch with the daily village life while getting a little exercise. Cycle through rural villages, explore Portuguese ruins dating back to the sixteenth century, swim in a tidal, half-fresh half-salt, clear water, try your hand at being a blacksmith (local style), and adventure through recently discovered stunning coral caves filled with stalagmite and stalactite crystal rocks. At the end of the tour, your guide will take you to Mnarani Aquarium where you can swim with protected sea turtles. Mnarani aquarium is home to the marine turtle conservation lagoon. This community-led project started in 1993 to protect, safeguard, and help recover injured sea turtles, and to finally release them back to the sea. All turtles brought to the lagoon are injured in some way—caught in fishing nets, hurt by boats, or appearing ill. Raising awareness about turtles around Zanzibar is reducing the number of turtles hunted for their meat or shells. At the Mnarani aquarium, you’ll have the chance to watch turtles of all sizes and ages swimming in a hatchery pond, and you can even swim with them! The tour finishes with a great Swahili local-style lunch!

After lunch, return to Paje for some afternoon relaxation and free time. In the evening, visit the iconic restaurant, The Rock, appropriately named as it sits upon a jutting coral stone rock off the coast of Dongwe, just north of Paje. A small boat will bring you the short distance from shore to the restaurant where you will dine on fine cuisine in the middle of the Indian Ocean with views in all directions. Return around sunset to the beach hotel for another night sleeping to the sound of waves.

*Note: you can do this tour on foot; the activities will vary slightly.

Destination: Paje
Accommodations: Kisiwa on the Beach
Activities: Free Time
Transit Times: N/A

We have left the last day of your itinerary completely open for you to do whatever you wish: Go deep sea fishing; Walk and discover the friendly creatures and beautiful nature of Paje; Get a massage; Snorkel; Kayay; Go on an arranged deep sea dive…or do nothing at all! Enjoy island-to-table meals at Kisiwa, unless your activities take you elsewhere. Conclude the day with a fabulous sunset cocktail.

Destination: Departure to Dar es Salaam; International departure home (11:55 pm)
Activities: Morning beach time; Free time and farewell lunch in Stone Town
Transit Times: 1 hour to Stone Town; 15 minutes to the airport

After breakfast and, perhaps, another swim or spa service, check out of Kisiwa by the Beach after lunch and head to Stone Town. Your local guide will hold onto your luggage in so that you have the opportunity to roam Stone Town freely, exploring what you may, visiting historic sites and museums, doing last-minute shopping, and sampling the local food. In the evening, your driver will take you to the airport to board your international flight home*. Kwaheri!

*Most flights to the U.S. depart in the evening. A day room can be arranged upon request.

Beach Holiday Includes:

  • Transfer from the last leg of your safari; pick up/drop off at Zanzibar Airport before and after the trip; and transfer to your international flight home
  • Adumu Safaris local guide and driver
  • Full board accommodations
  • Extra meals per itinerary
  • Plentiful drinking water
  • Traditional Tea Ceremony
  • Cultural Stone Town Tour
  • Spice Tour & Swahili Cooking Lesson
  • Forodhani Gardens Tour
  • Jozani Forest Reserve Tour
  • Dhow Safari
  • Swahili Culture Tour
  • Snorkeling & Kayaking
  • Nungwi Village Tour
  • Mnarani Aquarium sea turtles experience
  • Other boat rides
  • Government Taxation
  • Flying Doctor services in Tanzania
  • Plentiful drinking water (mineral water)
  • Service charges
  • Adumu Impact Fund (see adumuimpact.org)
  • Bespoke concierge service before, during, and after your trip

Beach Holiday Excludes:

  • International airfare & flights
  • Visa fees
  • Personal health insurance
  • Travel insurance (recommended)
  • Dinner at Forodhani Gardens (purchase from individual food stalls)
  • Optional Dive Trip
  • Additional alcoholic beverages & sodas, except as stated as included above
  • Laundry services, except as provided by the hotel and resort
  • All items of personal nature
  • Gratuities to safari guides and lodge staff

Please note: Adumu Safaris makes every effort to customize your safari itinerary in order to cover areas where wildlife habitats are known to be plentiful during the season and precise time of year that you are traveling. However, since wild animals move freely in their environment, we cannot absolutely guarantee sightings of every species. We also use our best effort to provide the lodging set out in this itinerary, but occasionally there are circumstances that occur which require lodging substitutions. We reserve the right to make comparable lodging substitutions or upgrades whenever necessary or in your best interest to do so. Fortunately, we have vetted all of our lodges and stand by their ability to provide an amazing accommodation experience.

Cost:

Traveling with the group, November 18 – 25, December 1 – 8, or December 9 – 16, 2023 OR as a private trip through December 20, 2023

DOUBLE OCCUPANCY…………………………………….……2468 USD

SINGLE OCCUPANCY……………………………………………3707 USD

**NB: Prices drop for larger parties traveling together. Children are accommodated at lower rates than adults. Adumu Safaris customizes itineraries to fit your preferences, desires, party size, and budget.

Group Trips: Trips will not be canceled if the minimum is not reached. However, travelers will be responsible for paying the price difference for less than 3 travelers per group. 

Pay Trip Deposit

To reserve this trip we require $500 per person. The remainder is due 59 days before departure. All major credit cards and PayPal are accepted. Affirm and Klarna financing options are also available. We will send a secure payment link when you are ready to confirm this trip.

For last-minute bookings, payment is due in full at booking.

Please note that we offer these variations to demonstrate some of the ways that we can modify an itinerary to suit your preferences (destinations, activities, level of luxury, type of accommodations, length of stay, budget, etc.). If none of these options looks best for your group, we are more than happy to gather more information from you and customize the perfect trip. You can call us at +1 530 574 9519 or email us at to discuss this itinerary or others on our website.

Karibu Africa!
The Adumu Safaris Team