Zanzibar Outdoor activities

Our most recommended Zanzibar Outdoor activities

Zanzibar: Quad Bike Tour and Visit to Local Village

1. Zanzibar: Quad Bike Tour and Visit to Local Village

Meet your guide at the meeting point, then you drive along the main road going to Pwani Majangani, for about 4 km. The tour usually stops for a few minutes at a local shop where you can buy some food to offer as a present to the village (flour, rice, and biscuits for the kids). Clients are encouraged to support the local community. After this small pit stop, you leave the tarmac road to ride the quad off-road through the rice fields, where your guide stops for about 15 minutes to explain the economy, culture, and habits of the villages in the middle part of the island. After this explanation, the excursion goes ahead through the environment of the island to arrive at the local village, where you'll stop for about 1 hour. Travelers will have the opportunity to stay with the children, play with them, and be in contact with the community of the village. After this first contact, your guide will offer guests local fresh fruits (Madafu, seasonal fresh fruit). Next, head to the House of Mad, a typical home in the rural village, as your guide discusses the life and culture of the Zanzibarian people. Before getting back on the quad, visit plantations of cinnamon, cloves, lemon grass, and other varieties, which are cultivated by the people of the village. You finally leave the village riding to Pwani Majangani to reach the fishermen's village. At the village, you will stop for a few minutes to explain the difference between the rural village and the community based on the coast of the Island. Following the sand road, passing through the fishermen's houses, you arrive at Waikiki Resort, where you will stop for about 15 minutes. At Waikiki, you can enjoy Focaccia (typical Italian white pizza). You will be able to rest at the beach, relax, and swim in the ocean, before hopping back on the quad and ending the excursion by coming back to the main quarter. You will be dropped off back at your hotel.

Prison Island: Private Half-Day Tour

2. Prison Island: Private Half-Day Tour

This private guided half day tour can begin any time from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM. Meet your well-trained guide and boatman as your board your steam-engine wooden boat. Head to the prestigious island and enjoy the 30-minute journey.  Listen to the history of the island and discover the past centuries through the historical buildings, which have served many purposes over the years including a prison, chapel, and hiding place for slaves after the abolition.  Enjoy a swim or snorkel around the colorful coral rocks and turquoise waters. Play with giant tortoises and you may take photographs with these old precious creatures. If you do not have much experience or confidence in the water, you will be provided with a life jacket. 

Zanzibar: Stone Town 3-Hour Walking Tour

3. Zanzibar: Stone Town 3-Hour Walking Tour

After a greeting and short briefing, you will be heading to the old fort which is also known as the Arab fort, the house of wonders, and then to Forodhani Gardens, a darajani fruits and spice market, and the Zanzibar ferry terminal. The tour also includes visits to the Freddie Mercury house, Zanzibar Curio Shop, Jaws Corner coffee shop, and more. Visit the Anglican cathedral, also known as the former slave market which was used for centuries as a hub for the East African slave market, whereby slaves were hunted and abducted from Malawi, Congo, Zambia and other parts of east Africa. With your guide you will have enough time for some leisure time to explore the narrow streets alongside the curio shops. The tour will end after 3 hours.

Zanzibar: Changuu Island and Stone Town Tour with Lunch

4. Zanzibar: Changuu Island and Stone Town Tour with Lunch

The tour begins with a private boat trip to Changuu Island, also known as Prison Island or Turtle Island. The island earned its name after it was purchased in 1893 by the British First Minister of Zanzibar who constructed a prison complex here. Although no prisoners were ever housed on the island, it was eventually used as a quarantine station for yellow fever sufferers, and later became home to more than 50 tortoises who still live there today. On the island, enjoy some free time to explore the beauty of this wild paradise, and get up close to the tortoises that roam freely. Some of the tortoises here are more than 100 years old, and you can even get close enough to feed them and take photos. You can also find peacocks and antelope on the island, then cool off in the crystal clear waters during a snorkel session in search of marine life, colorful fish, and coral reef. After your visit to Changuu Island, head towards one of the most historically prominent and artistic destinations in East Africa, Stone Town. Upon arrival, admire the fascinating architecture of the town, which dates back to the 19th century, and reflects the diverse influences of Swahili, Arab, Persian, Indian and European cultures. Learn about how the town earned its UNESCO World Heritage status, and then visit the Old Slave Market and the City Market. Here you can shop for almost anything whilst soaking up the authentic East African atmosphere and meeting the locals. Once you’ve wandered through the market it’s time to visit the Palace Museum, the local House of Wonder, and of course Freddie Mercury’s former home. There’s also time for a trip to the Peace Memorial and the Natural History Museum before ending the tour with a delicious local lunch at a traditional restaurant.

Zanzibar: Prison Island Tour with Lunch on the Sandbank

5. Zanzibar: Prison Island Tour with Lunch on the Sandbank

Your Zanzibar adventure begins with a visit to Prison Island, purchased in 1893 by Lloyd Mathews, the British First Minister of Zanzibar at the time. Mathews constructed a prison complex on the island which is still visible today, however no prisoners were ever housed on the island and instead it became a quarantine station for yellow fever sufferers. On the island, spend some time exploring the area and discover the collection of over 50 tortoises that live here, some of which are more than 100 years old. Learn about why the tortoises call the island their home, as well as taking photos and feeding them too. The island is also home to peacocks and small antelope too. Once you’ve explored the island, enjoy the opportunity to cool off from the hot weather with a refreshing dip in the surrounding crystal clear waters. Spend some time snorkeling in the water just off the island and search for colorful tropical fish and vibrant coral reef. After you’ve worked up an appetite from swimming, relax on the sandbank with a delicious lunch including a seafood BBQ, Swahili cuisine, cheese, tropical fruit, and more.

Zanzibar: Jozani Forest National Park and Dolphin Encounter

6. Zanzibar: Jozani Forest National Park and Dolphin Encounter

Begin your experience early, as the morning is the best time to spot dolphins. Start in the Matemwe fishing village, which is one of the oldest capitals on Zanzibar Island. While looking out for dolphins, dive in to snorkel among the wonderful coral reef and the variety of colorful fish and marine creatures. If the dolphins are in a good mood, you can witness them goofing around.  As you will be in their natural habitat, there is no guarantee you'll have the chance to swim with the dolphins; your guide will do their best to ensure they are comfortable so you can enjoy their beautiful energy, whether up close or from a distance.  The trip to Zanzibar Jozani Forest national park involves a visit to the high, dense groundwater forest. Home to the red colobus monkey, a rare species only found in Zanzibar, take the opportunity to get up close to the wild animals. Other animals within the park include blue monkeys, elephant shrews, and bushbabies. Proceed then to the mangrove, through which the conservation authority has built a bridge to allow visitors to observe the wildlife without trampling on it.  Next, stop at a local restaurant for a Swahili table buffet lunch. Before heading back to your hotel, make a short stop at the community project, Zanzibar Butterfly Center. Even though the site is not so big, it is a lovely place to relax and enjoy the moment before ending your experience.

From Stone Town: Private Tour to Prison Island

7. From Stone Town: Private Tour to Prison Island

Visit Prison Island on a private 3-hour tour, and discover the rich history and beautiful natural surroundings of this location. Meet your guide in Zanzibar, or select the option including hotel pickup, then enjoy the ride to the island on a traditional dhow. Learn how this small island gained its name and explore the place that is now home to more than 50 tortoises, some over 100 years old.   Feed the tortoises and take up-close pictures with them, as you keep a look out for the peacocks and antelope that also live there. After discovering the island and its history, take the opportunity to snorkel in the clear waters off the coast amongst tropical fish and colorful coral. At the end of your tour, return to Zanzibar, where you’ll be dropped off in the city center, or at your hotel.

Zanzibar: Swimming with Dolphins and Snorkeling Private Tour

8. Zanzibar: Swimming with Dolphins and Snorkeling Private Tour

Get picked up from your hotel in an air-conditioned vehicle and head to the Matemwe fishing village or Kizimkazi village depending on conditions and hotel location, where you will be met by the captain. Here, start your journey to meet and have a chance to swim with dolphins. The captain will take the boat to locations well-known for dolphin spotting while maintaining a respectful distance. The well-equipped boat will travel to several spots to ensure time for dolphin watching and scenic snorkeling. Enjoy the beauty of the coral and the brightly colored fish. Along the way, savor some delicious snacks and fruits. After the tour, you will be brought safely to shore before being dropped off at your hotel.

Zanzibar: Mnemba Atoll Marine Reserve Snorkeling Tour

9. Zanzibar: Mnemba Atoll Marine Reserve Snorkeling Tour

After pickup at your hotel on Unguja, Zanzibar, hop in your private boat toward Mnemba Island. Depending on conditions, reach the coral reef of the Mnemba Atoll Marine Reserve in up to 20 minutes. Once there, explore a reef that is big enough for everyone so you won't feel crowded, even on busy days. Keep your eyes peeled for yellow snapper, barracuda, turtles, and much more. After snorkeling, enjoy a snack stop on a sandbank. Relax under the sun as you savor seasonal fresh fruit and other small bites. Later, head back to shore on Unguja. See local fishermen coming back from the sea and selling their day's catches before being transferred back to your accommodation.

Stone Town: Stone Town and Prison Island Private Day Trip

10. Stone Town: Stone Town and Prison Island Private Day Trip

See the National Museum of Zanzibar (rebuilt in 1883) and the Arab fort while passing along bazaar streets towards the famous Freddie Mercury house. See the old slave market, fruit market, and spice market — don’t miss the classic Zanzibar curved doors decorating the stone town.  After you have explored Stone Town, you’ll have an opportunity to take a short break before heading to Prison Island. Prison Island is also known as Changuu Island, the nickname came from the island being used by some sultans of Zanzibar to detain enslaved people. While you are on this island, you can swim and take pictures with giant tortoises. 

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What people are saying about Zanzibar

This was our first day in Zanzibar!! A must do if you really want to see the culture and history at stone town . Lots to see and shop . They are a bit pricey though. The boat ride to Changu island was really refreshing and so was seeing the prison island and giant tortoises ! Although we got late and missed the chance to go snorkeling though it was included in the package out guide showed quite a bit and was so so friendly and considerate when we got tired .

My family and I visited Prison Island while at Zanzibar with Simba. It was an enjoyable boat ride from island to island. The turtles were amazing to see. The oldest one is 196 yrs old! Afterwards we enjoyed a relaxing swim in the Indian Ocean. Sjmba went out of his way to accommodate our requests. The views were just amazing! I would definitely do this activity again.

Tour divertente e molto interessante. La guida ci ha portato attraverso panorami inaspettati, parla perfettamente italiano, preparata e molto simpatica!! Grazie tante per questa bella esperienza.

Excellent experience with the turtles , really one of a kind .Also people are so sweet the person there took such amazing pics for us and so did our guide .

Such an unbelievable experience!! A true highlight of our trip to Zanzibar and a must even if you aren’t going to jump in to swim with them.