Spending your honeymoon in Zanzibar – it sounds dreamy doesn’t it? Here’s why we think this stunning African island with white beaches, glittering oceans and a unique history should be at the top of your honeymoon bucket list.
This past August we spent an epic 27 days in Africa for our honeymoon. We started with 7 days in Zanzibar & then continued on to other amazing destinations like Serengeti National Park in Tanzania; Amboseli Safari in Kenya, climbing Kilimanjaro and Gorilla-trekking in Uganda.
Out of all the places we visited on our honeymoon – Zanzibar has sparked the most interest from our readers. With lots of questions coming through on our emails and social media about the beautiful island of Zanzibar. In this piece, we will aim to answer all those questions and give you lots of advice for your honeymoon in Zanzibar.
Tip #1 – Divide your time between the beaches and Stonetown
We spent 4 nights on Jambiani beach, which is one of the best beaches in Zanzibar – on the Southeast of the island and 3 nights in Stonetown. This itinerary worked out perfectly for us, because it meant we spent our first few days relaxing on the white sand beaches of Paje. We wanted to de-stress after our wedding in Italy and so doing nothing more than swimming, eating & drinking cocktails was just what the doctor ordered.
Stonetown on the other hand was pretty jam-packed as there’s lots to see. We recommend visiting the Old Slave Market, doing a boat tour to Prison Island to see the giant tortoises and visiting the Darajani market. In the evening make sure you head to the beach to watch the sunset preferably at one of the many bars and restaurants dotted along the beach. We liked The Beach House.
Some of the other awesome activities availabe from throughout Zanzibar include a guided quad-biking tour to a local village; a visit to Jozani Forest that also includes the chance to see dolphins and finally the chance to swim with wild dophins. All the above tours include pick-up from most hotels on Zanzibar.
Tip #2 – Book a table at the Rock Restaurant
We hugely recommend booking the Rock Restaurant in advance as it is extremely popular. We advise booking your table at least 2 weeks prior, especially, if you want a dinner sitting. The Rock Restaurant is pricey, but in our opinion it’s worth the price tag. The cuisine is best described as fresh Zanzibar seafood with an Italian twist. You can order non-fish items on the menu too. In fact, I ordered the vegetarian ravioli and it was yummy! We also ordered the house wine which has a beautiful label featuring the restaurant at sunset (we peeled this off and took it home for our memory box).
Depending on the tides you may be able to walk to the Rock restaurant or the restaurant will collect you on their boat if the tide is in. Your hotel will need to organize a taxi for you as the Rock restaurant is quite far from most places. Your driver will wait for you in the carpark until your finished. Our taxi cost $40 return from Jambiani.
Tip #3 – Splurge on a nice hotel
It is your honeymoon after all, so treat yourself to a ‘fancy’ hotel – ideally on the beach. We chose the Spice Island Resort in Jambiani. The unique selling point for the Spice Island Resort is the jetty extending into the bright blue Indian ocean. You can sunbathe on the jetty, swim off its wooden steps or enjoy a cocktail at sundown. The hotel also has a large swimming pool, a Spa and a large restaurant. They were also nice enough to organize a private dinner on the beach for our honeymoon. A very special touch.
You can search all available accommodation options in Jambiani here.
In Stonetown we stayed at the Doubletree by Hilton. And we’re so glad we did – we were upgraded to a Suite and even got a warm chocolate chip cookie on check-in. The Doubletree is centrally located and has an excellent view from the rooftop restaurant Taarab. Here are some of the best accomodation available in Stonetown.
Tip #4 – Make sure you watch sunset every night in Zanzibar
We’re so glad we made the effort to watch the sunset every night of our honeymoon in Zanzibar. Some of the sunset highlights for our honeymoon were at the jetty at Spice Island in Jambiani or as previously mentioned the Beach House in Stonetown.
One of the best ways to watch the magnificent Zanzibar sunset is on a traditional Dhow sunset tour from Stonetown. A dhow is a popular boat type used in Zanzibar and is from the Arabian region – it’s very photogenic with its two large unusual masts.
Can you swim in the ocean in Zanzibar?
You can definitely swim in the ocean in Zanzibar – in fact we made sure to swim a few times a day. In the Southeast where we stayed the water is gorgeously turquoise but it can be windy and so the water tends to be choppier. Keep in mind that Paje & Jambiani beach are very popular windsurfing destinations. When the tide goes out you can walk over the rock pools for quite a while and spot crabs and small fish. Pretty cool!
If you’re a confident swimmer you can book a private snorkelling tour to Mnemba island, which also includes the chance to swim with wild dolphins!
Is Zanzibar safe?
We never felt unsafe during our honeymoon in Zanzibar and found the locals to be incredibly friendly and accommodating. However, as with everywhere we recommend having ‘your wits about you’ when walking the streets of Stonetown or the beach of Jambiani. Locals will approach you often but they are usually just trying to sell you a tour or get you to visit to their restaurant or bar. Be polite, smile and tell them firmly “No, thank you” and they tend to leave you alone.
Don’t display flashy jewelry or cameras. Lock your valuables in the safe in your room. If your room doesn’t have one ask reception to store your valuables securely for you. Above all be respectful – Zanzibar is a predominantly Muslim nation and so respecting their culture is important. Dressing appropriately, especially for women is recommended.
How easy is it to get to Zanzibar?
I will admit, I thought it would be a lot more difficult to reach Zanzibar than it actually was. We saved money by flying from London Gatwick via Istanbul with Turkish Airlines. You can also fly with Emirates via Dubai and British Airways via Doha. As always, we recommend using google flights to find the best flight deal!
From Zanzibar airport it’s best to book a transfer to your hotel in advance as it can be very expensive if you get a taxi when you get there.
Is Zanzibar a good honeymoon destination?
Zanzibar is a fantastic honeymoon destination. From white beaches, a unique history and plenty of luxury resorts. Zanzibar is the ultimate honeymoon destination! You will be spoiled with romantic things to do on Zanzibar too – think a sunset cruise in a traditional boat and a traditional cooking class in a beautiful setting. If you’re looking for the most romantic area in Zanzibar the East Coast beaches like Jambiani and Paje have Zanzibar’s prettiest beaches!
As always, if you have any questions – please comment in the comment section below and we will get back to you.