24 hours in Zanzibar!

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My sister and I visited Zanzibar over a 5 day period after spending the first 6 days of our holiday in search of the big 5 at the Lake Manyara, Tarangire, Ngorogoro Crater and Serengeti national parks.  All we wanted to do afterwards was to eat, sleep and lazy around the beach and pool of the resort we stayed at in Jambiani. (and repeat!)

We spent the first two days doing this but decided to do a combined tour of Stone Town, Prison Island and the spices of Zanzibar on day 3. Our hotel offered this service and since we didn’t know how to move around like locals, we decided to go with them.

The tour cost us $50 each but we were charged about $80 at first. While I considered if that amount was worth spending, we were approached by many ‘beach boys’ who wanted to sell us the same package for $30 – $40.  (Surprisingly, they were all named ‘Ali’). After doing a quick search about them on the internet, I wasn’t comfortable to take the tour with them even though it was way cheaper that what the hotel was offering.

Eventually, we found some people in the resort who also wanted to do this tour on the same day as us, so that brought the price down a bit.

We set out after breakfast, passing by the Joziani Forest (which we skipped during this visit), to our first stop, a farm located about an hour away from Jambiani. There, we were given a tour of the farm and different spices of the Island.

Can I just say that I like the way tourism is packaged here? For me, it felt like I was walking through my grandmother’s farm back home, yet, I paid to do this.

After the tour, we had a Zanzibar-style lunch that managed to involve most of the spices we had just seen. The entire thing was quite interesting, a bit tiring in some parts but I would definitely recommend it. We rode out to Stone Town afterwards. There, we hopped on a boat to Changuu Island (aka. Prison Island). Before getting on, I was pretty confident but once I was inside the boat, fear crept in.

We rode on this boat for about 30mins before getting to the Island. We were riding against the waves on our return leg and that was a bit terrifying for me.

To be honest, I’d have been very happy to pass this part of the tour up. I didn’t quite enjoy visiting this Island. I know a lot of people do though and they have good things to say about the turquoise waters and nice beach.

Anyway, we did a brief tour of the Island, spent some time viewing and feeding the giant tortoises before heading back to the mainland for a walking tour of Stone Town.

We did a quick tour of Stone Town. I realized after we got back that we missed a few key places here. I really didn’t look up any travel guides before we left. We visited The Cathedral Church of Christ (which was the former slave site) and did a tour within and outside the premises.

We also walked around the local market, ending the day back at the church where our driver was waiting to take us back to the hotel.

If I visit Zanzibar again, I think I’ll stay in Stone Town for a day or two before heading out to places like Nungwi or Jambiani (where we stayed).

Have you visited Zanzibar before? What would you recommend for a 24 hours stay? If you haven’t, is this somewhere you’d love to visit?

PS: See the full cost breakdown for our trip here and A recap of our entire week.

PPS: I recommend combining your trip to Zanzibar with another visit to cities or even countries close by. We did a 6 day safari before heading to the beach. (Spoiler alert: it was amazing!)
Some people combine it with a kili climb or a visit to Dar es Salaam. If you have a little more time/money, this is the way to go.


  1. Hi Amara, Just came across this story.. I am actually in Zanzibar right now. Spent 3 Nights in Stone Town and now another 3 Nights in a beach resort in Nungwi. Zanzibar is a nice place to visit for those looking to rejuvenate before returning back to the hustle and stress of life in Naija. I am keeping a travel diary now and may decide to publish like you one of these days.

    • Hi Ronald, I hope you’re having a great time there. We didn’t get to visit Nungwi but we had a great time in Jambiani, Paje and Stone Town. Looking forward to reading your travel diary

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