The Ultimate Zanzibar Honeymoon Guide: Everything You Need To Know

Beautiful Beach Zanzibar

Zanzibar’s stunning beaches, crystal clear waters, and exotic culture make it an ideal romantic getaway – perfect for honeymooners and couples looking for an extraordinary destination to explore. 

Sitting pretty in the Indian Ocean off Tanzania’s coast, Zanzibar beckons honeymooners with its serene beaches, verdant forests, and vibrant cultural mosaic. A hidden gem on Africa’s east coast, this offbeat island is ideal for couples seeking a unique getaway. Whether intrigued by history or drawn to the beach, Zanzibar guarantees an unforgettable honeymoon experience. 

Over the centuries, Zanzibar has served as a haven for countless seekers of culture and relaxation. Today, it continues to entice couples from around the world, tempting them with the allure of palm-swayed beaches, white sand, smiling locals, elegant modern villas, romantic sundowner dhow cruises, and enchanting Arabian-style boutique hotels.

Why Choose Zanzibar for Your Honeymoon?

Zanzibar is a cultural melting pot with a unique mix of Swahili, Arabian, European, and Asian influences. Often referred to as Spice Island, it served as a vital trade centre connecting mainland Africa, India, and the Arab Peninsula. 

Today, you can see the impact of this diverse heritage in various aspects of life on the islands, such as local cuisine, religious practices, and architectural wonders.

Recently, the beautiful contrast between Zanzibar’s distinct cultural tapestry, different from mainland Tanzania, and the rise of stylish, laid-back resorts has brought even more attention to the destination and placed it at the top of many people’s travel bucket lists.

Maasai Warrior with yellow boat on beach Zanzibar
Maasai Warrior on a beach in Zanzibar

Fun fact: Zanzibar is the birthplace of Freddie Mercury, also known as Farrokh Bulsara, injecting a touch of rock and roll into its exotic allure.

Freddie Mercury’s former residence in Zanzibar, known as Stone Town’s Mercury House, stands as a cultural landmark. While the house is not open to the public, fans often visit the exterior to pay tribute to the legendary Queen frontman.

Is Zanzibar Safe to Visit?

Beach Eastern Zanzibar

 Zanzibar is considered a safe destination for travel. In fact, as part of Tanzania, known for its stability, Zanzibar is one of Africa’s safest places.

The local population is known for their welcoming and relaxed attitude. With its stunning beaches, sunny climate, and rich cultural heritage, Zanzibar is a favoured tourist spot with reliable tourism infrastructure for a secure and enjoyable holiday. 

Things to Do on Your Zanzibar Honeymoon

Zanzibar is an exotic, tropical paradise that offers countless ways to make your honeymoon unforgettable. From relaxing on tranquil beaches to exploring vibrant local culture and dining at one-of-a-kind restaurants, there’s something for every couple. Dive into turquoise waters, wander through historic streets, and savour exotic flavours as you celebrate your love in this stunning destination. Here are some must-do-and-see activities to pop on your Zanzibar honeymoon itinerary to ensure you get the most out of your time together in this beautiful place.

Visit Stone Town

The main island in Zanzibar, locally called Unguja, is the primary entry point for most journeys to Zanzibar. It’s also where you’ll find Stone Town, a vibrant area celebrated for its narrow streets that embody a diverse cultural mix.

While Stone Town may not be ideal for your entire stay (considering the many attractive beach resorts perfect for honeymooners), it’s worth dedicating at least a day to exploring its rich heritage.

Aerial view of Stone Town, Zanzibar
Aerial view of Stone Town

Here, men can be seen wearing Oman’s kuma caps, stalls sell urojo soup from India, and muezzin calls resonate over centuries-old buildings and a bustling marketplace.

Wander through the narrow, labyrinthine streets of Stone Town to explore its historic architecture and immerse yourself in Zanzibar’s rich, multifaceted history. 

Explore Stone Town’s Historic Zanzibar Doors:

Stone Town Zanzibar Doors

Admire the intricately carved Zanzibar doors in Stone Town, offering a unique cultural experience. These teak masterpieces represent the artistic essence of the Swahili coast, merging Swahili, Arab, and Indian traditions. Beyond aesthetics, the doors symbolised owners’ wealth and personal reflections. Although once globally traded, a ban now restricts such transactions. The remaining doors, primarily in Stone Town, are open for exploration and often feature on travellers’ social media.

Visit the Night Market at Forodhani Gardens:

Experience the vibrant atmosphere of Forodhani Gardens, a popular waterfront park. As the sun descends each evening, Forodhani Gardens transitions into an al fresco food market. Be sure to visit one of the stalls offering urojo—a dense soup crafted from mango and tamarind, accompanied by chickpea fritters, boiled potatoes, cassava flakes, chutney, and a generous amount of hot sauce. Finish your meal with freshly pressed sugarcane juice infused with ginger and lime.

Swim With Dolphins:

If your lifelong dream involves swimming alongside dolphins in their natural habitat, Zanzibar offers the perfect opportunity! Take a trip to Kizimkazi on the island’s southern coast, where you can join a guided dolphin tour. Dive into the crystal-clear waters and snorkel alongside these majestic creatures, experiencing an unforgettable encounter in the wild.

Tour the Spice Farms:

Take a spice tour to discover Zanzibar’s reputation as the “Spice Island.” Visit nearby spice farms to learn about cultivating and harvesting spices like cloves, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Engage your senses as you smell and taste the fresh spices straight from the source.

Visit the Old Dispensary:

Discover historical sites like the Old Dispensary, an impressive 19th-century building influenced by various cultures. Initially a charity, it is one of Zanzibar’s appealing waterfront landmarks. Financed by Tharia Topan, an influential Ismaili Indian merchant serving as a financial adviser and banker to Tippu Tip, a notorious slave trader, the ground floor courtyard now houses the Abyssinian’s Steakhouse restaurant, offering a distinctive dining experience well worth putting on your Zanzibar honeymoon itinerary.

See the Old Fort

Old Fort, known as Arab Fort, in Zanzibar

The historical landmark known as the Old Fort, or Arab Fort, adds to Stone Town’s status as an open-air museum. Built by the Omanis in 1698 when they took control of the island, this defensive structure served the dual purpose of a prison and execution site. Today, it attracts culture vultures from around the world. Its amphitheatre is a renowned venue for screenings during the Zanzibar International Film Festival and hosts the annual Sauti za Busara music festival.

Visit the Sultan’s Palace Museum, the Anglican Cathedral, and the Malindi Mosque to delve into the island’s complex history and cultural heritage.

Join the Fish Auction at the Darajani Markets

Every afternoon, the fish aisle in Darajani Markets offers a lively local experience, where observers can witness energetic bartering for the freshest catch. For those not inclined towards the hustle of the fish auction, the market itself is one of the best activities in Stone Town. It is ideal for acquiring spices, fresh bread, meat, and neatly stacked fruits and vegetables at affordable prices. It’s recommended to visit around 5 pm when evening traders set up outside the market walls, and closing-day traders wind down their stalls, creating a vibrant market atmosphere.

You Might Also Enjoy: Explore the Beauty of Africa on This Three-Country Luxury Honeymoon // The Ultimate Honeymoon Guide to South Africa // Honeymoons that Give Back

Visit Jozani Forest

Red Colobus Monkey Zanzibar

Initially established as a forest reserve in the 1960s, Jozani Forest was designated a national park in 1984 to safeguard its distinctive wildlife, including the Kirk’s Red Colobus, an endangered primate indigenous to the main island of Zanzibar. In the 1990s, the population of this species fell drastically to less than 2,000 individuals, which called for urgent conservation measures. However, the park’s protection has led to the red colobus population more than doubling since then, demonstrating conservation efforts’ effectiveness in halting species decline.

Covering 50 square kilometres, Jozani Forest is relatively small compared to global national parks but boasts Zanzibar’s largest remaining near-natural forest.

Zanzibar’s only national park is open daily from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm, with the dry season (June to September) recommended for visits. Entrance includes a mandatory tour guide and costs 25,000 Tanzanian Shillings (approximately $11).

Related: Five Animals to See in The Wild

The Rock Restaurant in Zanzibar: A Must-Visit

Zanzibar’s iconic The Rock restaurant is off the coast of Michanvi Pingwe and is one of the most unique restaurants in the world. Perched on a floating rock island in the ocean, it offers unparalleled views, a delightful seafood menu, and an exquisite setting for unforgettable photographs. Guests can walk from shore during low tide, but free canoe service is available during high tide.

Here are some quick details for those wondering how to get to this must-visit restaurant (you’ll want a honeymoon photo here!). For those staying in lively areas like Paje or Jambiani, it’s a 15-minute drive to The Rock. If you stay in the north in places like Nungwi, the drive will be approximately 1.5 hours. Taxis are the best mode of transportation. Negotiating prices is common, but as a reference point, expect to pay around $30 (USD) one way from Stone Town (1h+).

Whether you’re a tourist or a local, The Rock Restaurant promises an unforgettable dining experience in a unique and stunning setting and worth splurging on a taxi fare and meal (food here is, understandably, more expensive than most places in Zanzibar with prices similar to regular food prices in nice Western European, Australian or US restaurants).

Read more: The Most Unique Restaurants in The World

Changuu Island

Changuu Island Tortoise

Prison Island, also known as Changuu Island, is an ideal stop for your Zanzibar honeymoon, offering a serene and less crowded beach with crystal-clear waters for excellent snorkelling. Just a 30-minute boat ride from Stone Town, this island boasts a fascinating history as a former yellow fever quarantine station. 

It also has an incredible Tortoise Sanctuary with around 100 giant, rare Aldabra tortoises. Inside the sanctuary, you can freely interact with these impressive creatures, petting, feeding, and posing for photos. These tortoises have a remarkable lifespan, often exceeding 100 years, with an average range between 65-95 years.

The 5.6km boat journey from Stone Town takes roughly 25 minutes, and prices are negotiable with local boat owners. It can also be booked through a tour company, albeit at a slightly higher cost. 

Just remember that the waters around Prison Island can be choppy and are influenced by factors like wind and currents. It’s recommended to check the weather and inquire locally about sea conditions, especially if you’re sensitive to choppy waters.

Kendwa Beach

Kendwa Beach Sunset with Boat

Nestled on the island’s northern side, Kendwa Beach is an essential Zanzibar honeymoon destination. It is celebrated as one of the finest beaches for its expansive white sandy shore and breathtaking sunset vistas. With talcum-powder-like soft sand, water displaying two shades of turquoise, and beach bars adorning the landscape – Kendwa is a paradise for beach lovers.

Kendwa Beach offers various activities, including snorkelling, scuba diving, sunset cruises, and beach volleyball. For the more adventurous, it stands out as a unique hub for skydiving. The area boasts numerous restaurants and cafes serving fresh seafood and a blend of local and international cuisines. 

Accommodations in Kendwa cater to diverse preferences, ranging from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxurious resorts perfect for couples. 

Top Honeymoon Resorts in Zanzibar

Discover the epitome of romance in Zanzibar with our curated selection of the best honeymoon hotels on this enchanting African island. Immerse yourselves in luxury and privacy as you explore these idyllic retreats carefully chosen to elevate your honeymoon experience. From stunning beachfront villas to five-star escapes surrounded by tropical beauty, each hotel promises an unforgettable stay tailored for newlyweds seeking the perfect romantic getaway.

Tulia Zanzibar Unique Beach Resort

Nestled on Zanzibar’s northeast coast, Tulia Zanzibar Unique Beach Resort is an idyllic haven for honeymooners, embodying the essence of refined tranquillity. 

This exclusive retreat, tailored exclusively for couples, is on a pristine private beach that offers uninterrupted seclusion, allowing newlyweds to bask in the serenity of their romantic getaway. The sea-facing side of the resort, perched on low cliffs above the Indian Ocean, adds a touch of exclusivity, with beach access available only at mid-to-low tide, ensuring a secluded and intimate coastal experience.

The resort’s commitment to personalised luxury shines through in its spacious and air-conditioned rooms, strategically placed amid lush tropical gardens and native shade trees. 

Each moment at Tulia is crafted to perfection, offering newlyweds the chance to indulge in complimentary private yoga sessions, rejuvenate with a comprehensive spa program, and embark on an exquisite culinary journey designed to tantalise their taste buds. 

Meliá Zanzibar

Nestled on Zanzibar’s lush east coast, Meliá Zanzibar is an exclusive, all-inclusive resort ideal for honeymooners. With 300 meters of pristine white sand beach and a coral reef, this romantic haven is a scenic 45-minute drive from Stone Town and the international airport.

Meliá Zanzibar offers 137 rooms and suites, each with private terraces offering stunning sea or garden views. Modern comforts include air conditioning, ceiling fans, flatscreen TVs with international channels, and high-speed internet.

For an unforgettable experience, couples can book a Romance Ocean Front Pavilion, perched atop a cliff, providing breathtaking ocean views. Guests can wake up to the gentle sounds of the Indian Ocean, enjoy leisurely days by the pool, or explore Zanzibar’s romantic heritage. As the sun sets, couples can share spectacular moments and indulge in romantic dinners for two beneath a canopy of sparkling starlight.

Elewana Kilindi Zanzibar

Kilindi Zanzibar, an extraordinary luxury boutique hotel spanning 50 acres of lush tropical gardens, seamlessly fuses Tanzanian and Zanzibari cultures. Designed initially for ABBA member Benny Andersson, Kilindi amalgamates Scandinavian minimalism with Middle Eastern architectural influences, fostering an open and nature-centric atmosphere.

A stay at Kilindi promises a sensory delight, harmonising natural beauty with elegant design. The Pavilion suites, characterised by white-domed structures, feature white wooden-slatted shutters and expansive, glassless arched windows, offering stunning views of the Indian Ocean. This design allows the gentle ocean breeze to permeate each room, accompanied by the melodic symphony of Kilindi’s vibrant birdlife. 

As evening descends, the ambience transforms with storm lanterns casting a soft glow, complemented by attentive hotel staff patrolling the premises. Kilindi Zanzibar enhances the honeymoon experience with exclusive packages, including candlelit dinners, discounted room rates, and toasts with champagne beneath the star-studded Zanzibar sky.

The Residence Zanzibar

Nestled on the captivating southwest coast of Spice Island, The Residence Zanzibar is Tanzania’s exclusive member of the Leading Hotels of the World, offering an unparalleled seaside haven for honeymooners.

Within 32 hectares of tropical gardens, the resort’s 66 luxuriously appointed villas seamlessly blend contemporary style with the island’s rich African, Omani, and European heritage, providing an intimate fusion of spacious living areas and secluded romance. It’s the sole resort on the island boasting private pools in all 66 villas.

Indulge in dining experiences, choosing between the Pavillion’s set menu and the buffet-style Dining Room, with the beach buffet standing out for its delightful offerings, complemented by Swahili music—a perfect setting for a romantic evening under the stars.

Zanzibar Honeymoon Tips: What You Need to Know


Getting to Zanzibar

Zanzibar is typically reached by plane or ferry. If you choose to fly, you’ll land at the Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (ZNZ).

Best Time to Visit Zanzibar

Zanzibar is a good honeymoon destination year-round, offering beautiful weather and warm temperatures almost all year. However, the optimal period to explore Zanzibar is throughout the dry season from June to October, with an average temperature of 77°F (25°C) when minimal rainfall is on the island.

How Long to Spend on Your Zanzibar Honeymoon

To fully experience Zanzibar, you should plan for at least one week, giving you ample time to enjoy your resort, explore Stone Town, and unwind on the gorgeous beaches across the islands.

Health & Vaccinations

It is advisable to consult with your local healthcare professional before embarking on a trip to Zanzibar to ensure you receive the necessary vaccinations. Generally, Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Diphtheria, and Polio vaccinations are recommended. Additionally, you may need to present your Yellow Fever vaccination card as a requirement.

Read More: The Best African Safari’s for Honeymooners

Scroll to Top