A Family Holiday In Zanzibar
Zanzibar! The spice island. This tropical paradise off the coast of Tanzania has been high on my list of dream holiday destinations for a while so when we decided to squeeze in a quick family break at the start of the Summer I knew it was just the place.
A 6 hour flight away, with a one hour time difference, it’s very accessible. We flew direct with Fly Dubai and the journey was so straightforward that despite our 3.30am departure time, Mr Y ‘s ‘airport face’ hardly made an appearance!
We spent our first few nights at the Neptune Pwani Hotel, an hour’s drive from the airport. The resort has 150 rooms but the fact that they are housed in Zanzibari style thatched ‘huts’ which are dotted around the beautifully landscaped gardens, means that it feels more like a little village.
There are 5 restaurants, 2 pools, a water sports centre, a spa, a couple of bars and a games area so there was plenty to keep us amused. However, the real star of the show is the breathtaking palm-lined beach which stretches for miles along the warm, turquoise Indian Ocean. It’s SO beautiful.
We had arranged to visit Zanzibar’s National Park, Jozani Forest, which is home to several species of monkey. Unfortunately it was raining hard when we arrived. We toughed it out under brollies for a few minutes and spotted several monkeys up in the trees but apparently they don’t like rain any more than my #dubaikids so we retreated to the car.
Instead we drove a short distance to a nearby mangrove. It had dried off at that point and we enjoyed strolling along the walkway which has been built among the trees with our lovely and knowledgable guide.
We headed to a restaurant called The Rock for lunch which is in the most stunning locations. It was low tide when we got there so we could reach it on foot but at high tide you get a little boat out to the steps. The seafood and cocktails were delicious, and the views are spectacular. It really is a Zanzibar must.
During our trip the kids took every opportunity to hand out the colouring books, crayons and stickers which we had brought with us to local children. They were given and received with great excitement. Everywhere you go there are goal posts made from sticks and boys kicking ‘balls’ made from tape so next time I’d also take some deflated footballs and a pump.
We returned to the capital, Stone Town, for our last 2 days and stayed at the beautiful Park Hyatt. Part of the building dates back to the 17th century and it’s interior design, which references the different elements of Zanzibar’s rich history, is award winning.
The town itself is a UNESCO world heritage site (think faded grandeur rather than slick tourist destination) and we spent a lovely morning exploring it’s winding alleys, markets and galleries.
That evening we went to a rooftop restaurant at a nearby hotel called Emerson on Hurumuzi. Seated on cushions and watching the sunset over looking the town’s rooftops we ate a delicious meal that fused both Swahili and Arab cuisine. Oh, and a mojito or two.
On our final day we took a 20 minute boat ride to Prison Island which, historically, was used to quarantine the sick. Thankfully our reason for visiting was a happier one. We went to meet the colony of giant tortoises which have lived there for the past century. The oldest is an incredible 192!
We ended our trip with some snorkelling before returning to shore, and then home to Dubai, with some amazing memories. I had great expectations for Zanzibar and it didn’t disappoint. We will definitely go back and next time will include a few days in Tanzania as you can fly direct to Arusha, the gateway to safari!
Featured image via Pinterest