How to Spend Twelve Days in Zanzibar Itinerary


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Searching for ideas on how to spend twelve days in Zanzibar, Tanzania?

I had the same question in August 2022.

Zanzibar. Tropical island. Indian Ocean. Spice island. Stone Town. Slave trade. A few associations that first come to mind when mentioning Zanzibar. An island located 6° South of the Equator. Full of culture, history, and stunning nature. So how to plan Zanzibar trip in the best possible way?

After a lot of Google research, and reading blogs, I managed to put together the most optimal 12-day Zanzibar travel itinerary. If you are short on time, you can see all of it in 7 days or stretch it and have a perfect 2 week Zanzibar itinerary. Wanna have a look?

🦁 If you have been wondering “Which Disney movie did Anja watch first?”, you will find the answer hidden in the blog.

anja on Adventure

Let’s admit it! With such an interesting history of the islands of Unguja and Pemba, differences between the best Zanzibar beaches on the East and North of the island, admiring the doors in Stone Town, learning KiSwahili, and exploring the flora and fauna of the island, it is easy to feel overwhelmed.

If you are planning a trip to Zanzibar, this is a place where you will find where to stay, play and eat. From Paje/Jamniani beaches on the East Coast, visiting Jozani forest on your way to famous Nungwi/Kendwa beach on the North, learning about spices on a Spice tour to exploring the streets of Stone Town. Discover what to do in Zanzibar in twelve days.

This perfect Zanzibar itinerary will detail how to spend twelve days in Zanzibar, to make your trip memorable, let you come home rested and full of exciting stories to tell.


📌 Don’t have time to read it now? Pin it for later!


1. Breakdown of 12-day Zanzibar itinerary

This is a semi-relaxed itinerary for Zanzibar. If you are a type of person, who only enjoys spending time by the pool in a resort, then this is not for you. What I mean by semi-relaxed is that it offers a nice and steady pace to explore Zanzibar island.

The itinerary offers a combination of busy days, full of sightseeing, half-day trips, and days to relax. There are also days when you can add some more activities or swap the days around. Combined, you will get enough time to learn about Zanzibar’s history, experience its culture, explore best beaches in Zanzibar, meet their flora and fauna, and still have time to swim and sip a cocktail.

How to spend twelve days in Zanzibar. This is a perfect travel itinerary for anyone visiting Zanzibar after a safari, on a honeymoon, or as a tropical getaway. Great travel plan for time visitors on Zanzibar, Tanzania. Day-by-day plan with things to do, which best Zanzibar beaches to visit, and tours to go to.

| Zanzibar itinerary | Zanzibar | East Africa | Zanzibar Travel guide 

#traveltips #itinerary #tropicalholiday #honeymoon #travelitinerary #travelplan
On Paje beach with the Maasai.

For your first visit to Zanzibar, I would recommend spending some time on the beaches of South East (Paje or Jambiani), staying on the beaches in the North, and spending some time in the UNESCO World Heritage site Stone Town.

I would recommend going to the South East first, to Paje or Jambiani (4 nights). Then go to the more touristy and more developed beaches in the North, Nungwi or Kendwa (5 nights). Before leaving Zanzibar, spend some time in Stone Town (2 nights), get lost in the narrow streets, and improve your Bargaining skills when shopping for souvenirs. The itinerary can also be done in reversed order.

SHORT ITINERARY OVERVIEW:
Day 1: Arrival to Zanzibar and transfer to Jambiani
Day 2: Jambiani; beach and village
Day 3: Half-day trip to Kizimkazi
Day 4: Kuza cave and Paje
Day 5: Jambiani – The Rock – Jozani Forest – Nungwi
Day 6: Nungwi & Dhow boat sunset cruise
Day 7: Mnemba atoll
Day 8: Nungwi village & Mnarani Marine Turtle Conservation Pond
Day 9: Nungwi & Kendwa
Day 10: Spice tour – Prison Island – Stone Town
Day 11: Stone Town Itinerary & Forodhani market in the evening
Day 12: Stone Town and Departure

Here is how the itinerary looks on a map!

How to spend twelve days in Zanzibar. This is a perfect travel itinerary for anyone visiting Zanzibar after a safari, on a honeymoon, or as a tropical getaway. Great travel plan for time visitors on Zanzibar, Tanzania. Day-by-day plan with things to do, which best Zanzibar beaches to visit, and tours to go to.

| Zanzibar itinerary | Zanzibar | East Africa | Zanzibar Travel guide 

#traveltips #itinerary #tropicalholiday #honeymoon #travelitinerary #travelplan

2. Best time to visit Zanzibar

Being only 6° South of the Equator makes Zanzibar a destination that can be visited year-round. Temperatures are rather constant during the year, but the rainfall depends on the season. 

Best time to visit Zanzibar and neighboring islands is during the long dry season. This is from June to October. There should be almost no rain and more sunny days. Since this coincides with the summer in the northern hemisphere, expect higher prices on flights and accommodation. I visited Zanzibar in August but am happy with my spending budget.

Months of November and December are still good to visit. During that time you can expect a ‘minor rainy season’ with light rains and higher temperatures. Prices might rise in the busy holiday season, from Christmas and over New Years.

Period from January to mid-March is considered a ‘short’ dry season’. You can expect hot weather and sunny days interrupted by rain showers. Rainfall will increase coming more toward the month of March.

March to May is the rainy season, known also as ‘long rains’. While temperatures will still be high you can expect rain during the whole day or more days in a row. Humidity level will be high. This is considered low season so prices might be lower than at other times of the year.

Pin those for a later read!

3. How to get to Zanzibar

There are two ways how to get to Zanzibar Island, by plane or by ferry.

If you are flying to Zanzibar (Unguja island), you will land at Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (ZNZ), which is around 10 km (6 miles) or 15-20 minute drive away from Stone Town.
Only a few airlines fly to Zanzibar directly, without the transfer in Dar es Salaam. Amongst those are Qatar Airways and FlyDubai. Others have a stopover in Dar es Salaam. Between Dar and Zanzibar is a short 20-minute flight.

A ferry ride from Dar es Salaam usually takes a bit less than 3h. If you decide to go with a ferry it will cost between $35 to $60 USD. The ferry terminal is on the north of Stone Town, close to the Old Dispensary.

This Zanzibar itinerary will give you an idea of how to spend 12 days in Zanzibar. A blend of relaxed holiday with time to explore best beached in Zanzibar. You will meet Aldabra tortoises, starfish, Red Colobus monkey in Jozani Forest. In UNESCO World Heritage Stone town you will learn about the dark history and slave trade.

| Travel itinerary | Zanzibar | East Africa | Tanzania | Travel plan

#jambiani #itinerary #tropicalisland #zanzibarisland #travelitinerary #vacationplan
Dhow boat in Jambiani beach.

4. Things to know before visiting Zanzibar

  • TANZANIAN VISA
    For visiting Zanzibar you need a Tanzanian visa. If you’re flying straight into Zanzibar you’ll get your Tanzania visa there. Tanzania visa cost varies. It covers Zanzibar and the mainland and vice versa. Citizens from most Western countries can get them on arrival. It costs $50 for a single entry. You can pay by cash or card. For US citizens the visa costs $100 but it is a multi-entry visa. Learn more about Tanzanian visa.
  • PASSPORT
    Your passport needs to be valid for at least 6 more months and have 1 blank passport page.
  • YELLOW FEVER
    If you’re flying to Tanzania and Zanzibar from places without a Yellow Fever risk (Europe, USA, Australia etc.) you shouldn’t need a Yellow Fever certificate. BUT if you are transiting through a country with a risk of Yellow Fever (Kenya, Ethiopia) for more than 12 hours – sometimes even less, you might need one. You can see the countries with the risk of yellow fever (YF) here.
  • VACCINATIONS
    Besides Yellow fever, and even with exceptions, there are no obligatory vaccinations. There are recommended ones from World Health Organisation (WHO) but consult your doctor before your visit. Recommended vaccinations are hepatitis A and B, typhoid, cholera, rabies, meningitis, tetanus … Have a look at the recommended vaccines for Tanzania.
  • MALARIA
    The risk of getting malaria in Zanzibar is low. I didn’t take medication but some travelers – especially the ones coming from safari – were taking them. Others were having them just in case if they get sick.
  • TRAVEL INSURANCE
    Make sure to purchase travel insurance before your travel. I have seen two people needing medical assistance in Zanzibar. One was because of heat stroke. Another sprained her ankle. Seriously, you never know, so better be safe than sorry.
  • SAFETY TIPS
    Zanzibar is safe, even for solo female travelers, but it still doesn’t hurt to use common sense. Don’t flesh your valuables. Don’t walk alone after dark.
  • DRESS CODE
    The majority of the population is Muslim. Respect their culture and dress appropriately. This is especially true when visiting local villages or walking around the streets in Stone Town. Wearing a bikini on a beach is perfectly fine.

This Zanzibar itinerary will give you an idea of how to spend 12 days in Zanzibar. A blend of relaxed holiday with time to explore best beached in Zanzibar. You will meet Aldabra tortoises, starfish, Red Colobus monkey in Jozani Forest. In UNESCO World Heritage Stone town you will learn about the dark history and slave trade.

| Travel itinerary | Zanzibar | East Africa | Tanzania | Travel plan

#jambiani #itinerary #tropicalisland #zanzibarisland #travelitinerary #vacationplan
Houses in the old Stone Town.

5. Twelve-day Zanzibar itinerary

DAY 1: Arrival to Zanzibar and transfer to Jambiani

Arrive in Zanzibar/Stone Town. No matter if you will be flying into Zanzibar from overseas or from Tanzania mainland, you will arrive at Stone Town airport. If you are coming with a ferry from Daar Es Saalam, then you will also be arriving to Stone Town.

If you are coming from the United States or Canada or from Japan or Australia, this is likely going to be a hectic day, spend in the company of jet lag. If you are coming from Europe, the journey to Zanzibar should not be that bad, since Zanzibar is in GMT+3 time zone. Which means from 1 to 3 hours ahead of European time. 

After the formalities, exchange some money into Tanzanian shillings or get some cash from ATM. Outside of Stone Town ATMs are limited. Then grab a taxi and drive to Jambiani, price should be around $40. That is what I did. If you arrive in the morning and are feeling adventurous, you can also use dala dala.

Where to stay in Jambiani, Zanzibar:
New Teddy’s On The Beach; beachfront, travel-sustainable property, with a pool and dorm beds. They have double, triple, and quadruple rooms and serve amazing breakfast. In their ‘living room’ there are plenty of daybeds for you to relax and enjoy the view.

Pin the one you like more!

DAY 2: Jambiani; beach and village

Jambiani is a really relaxed and laid-back village. It is located on the East side of Zanzibar, where the difference between high and low tide is significant. During low tide, the ocean is far away, which pushes you to do other activities. What I love about Jambiani is that tourists and locals are as one. It is less touristy and here you get the feel of the real Zanzibar.

High tide: During high tide go for a swim in the ocean. If you want, you can even go diving, rent a stand-up paddle board or sign up for kitesurfing lessons. Conditions for kitesurfing here are perfect, even for beginners. Or you might want to go on a dhow sailing boat tour.

Low tide: At the time of low tide, you can still explore the beach. Maybe you would want to walk all the way to the reef, only go and observe local women manning their algae plantations. It could also happen you will see ladies dig shells for dinner from the sand.

Explore Zanzibar in 12 days. What are the best things to do in Zanzibar? Best beaches to visit? This is a perfect Zanzibar itinerary taking you through all Zanzibar highlights with instructions on how to spend your days. With alternatives to appeal to all types of travelers, from kitesurfers, divers, to sunset lovers and history enthusiasts. 

| Zanzibar itinerary | Stone Town | East Africa | Tanzania | Travel plan

#unguja #stonetown #travelcontentcreator #queen #travelitinerary
Lady manning her algae farm at low tide in Jambiani beach.

DAY 3: Half-day trip to Kizimkazi

On this day you can go on a half-day tour to Kizimkazi. Beaches there are not the best for swimming but the place is known for dolphin spotting and mosque. Dimbani mosque is the oldest mosque in East Africa, dating back to 1107 AD.

I went to Kizimkazi to go on a dolphin tour. If you decide to join a tour, please, do your part and research a tour provider. Always choose an Ethical Dolphin encounter. You might want to check out Kizimkazi Ethical Dolphin Tours offered by African Impact. I was happy with their approach, which was similar to the one I experienced in Kaikoura, New Zealand. We followed their swimming, watch them swim by, without disturbing or interacting with them.

You can swap the dolphin encounter and instead go on a Blue safari tour.

Back at Jambiani just relax, have a few cocktails or mocktails, try Zanzibar Dawa and enjoy.

Explore Zanzibar in 12 days. What are the best things to do in Zanzibar? Best beaches to visit? This is a perfect Zanzibar itinerary taking you through all Zanzibar highlights with instructions on how to spend your days. With alternatives to appeal to all types of travelers, from kitesurfers, divers, to sunset lovers and history enthusiasts. 

| Zanzibar itinerary | Stone Town | East Africa | Tanzania | Travel plan

#unguja #stonetown #travelcontentcreator #queen #travelitinerary #travelblogger
They have delicious coconuts and make amazing Piña coladas.

DAY 4: Kuza cave and Paje

Explore Jambiani and Paje surroundings.

Today is the day for an adventure and a bit of exploring. Visit Kuza cave, which is 10-minute drive or 30 min walk from Jambiani. Kuza cave is a limestone cave with cold and clear water where you can swim in. You can also enjoy Swahili music, learn Swahili cooking or search for monkeys and birds in wildlife sanctuary.

Before or after go to Paje. At low tide, you can walk from Jambiani to Paje on the beach. Walk will take around 1,5 hour. In Paje, explore their food stalls and restaurants, have a dip in the ocean (at high tide) or go kitesurfing. Don’t leave before stopping at Mr Kahawa for an award-winning coffee, and a delicious meal with a view.

If you decide to walk, don’t forget to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen!

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DAY 5: Jambiani – The Rock – Jozani Forest – Nungwi

After a few days on a more relaxed East Coast, head over to the North West Coast. To Nungwi or Kendwa, where you will find the best beaches on the island.

To maximize your time and transportation costs, instead of going directly, do a little sightseeing. Taxi drive from Jambiani to Nungwi lasts from 2 to 2,5 h, and costs from $50. I paid $70 because of the detours.

From Jambiani, firstly go to The Rock Restaurant. This is a tiny restaurant built on a rock in the Indian Ocean. During low tide you can walk to it and at high tide, you will be transferred there by boat. If you wish to dine there, make sure to book in advance! This is a popular spot!

After The Rock, stop at Jozani Forest. It is on the way to Nungwi and your driver will wait for you there. This is a national park where you will walk through the mangroves, learn about plants in the forest and (hopefully) see Zanzibar red colobus monkey

Continue to Nungwi, where you arrive just in time for dinner. Nungwi is touristy and there are more things going on.

Where to stay in Nungwi, Zanzibar:
Makofi Guesthouse; budget-friendly accommodation, with an amazing BBQ and the best burgers in Zanzibar. They are super close to the beach. They have nice little swings, a lovely common area, and a dedicated spot for digital nomads.

Red Colobus monkey at Jozani forest.

How to spend twelve days in Zanzibar. This is a perfect travel itinerary for anyone visiting Zanzibar after a safari, on a honeymoon, or as a tropical getaway. Great travel plan for time visitors on Zanzibar, Tanzania. Day-by-day plan with things to do, which best Zanzibar beaches to visit, and tours to go to.

| Zanzibar itinerary | Zanzibar | East Africa | Zanzibar Travel guide 

#traveltips #itinerary #tropicalholiday #honeymoon #travelitinerary #travelplan
Red Colobus Monkey at Jozani Forest National Park in Zanzibar

DAY 6: Nungwi & Dhow boat sunset cruise

Spend the day in one of the best beaches in Zanzibar. In Nungwi you can swim in the ocean the whole day. During low tide walk around the beach and count how many different starfish you will find.

For lunch, go to one of the local restaurants like Mama Africa, Kings Restaurant on the main street or MJ cafe. At sunset go on a sunset cruise or go on a Z hotel rooftop and enjoy the view.

DAY 7: Mnemba atoll

Mnemba atoll is around 1h boat ride from Nungwi. Mnemba, a privately owned island, is considered to be the best diving and snorkeling spot in Zanzibar. At least that is what they say.

I visited Mnemba on a snorkeling tour and was not impressed. Firstly, I was put off by the tour on our way there since the boat drivers were chasing dolphins like it is a sort of competition. On Mnemba Island there were already at least 50 other boats. Corals were mostly dead and fish were not that many. If you haven’t had a chance to see ‘corals’ or fish, go and see for yourself. But if you are coming here just because of that, then I would skip it.

Mnemba Island is privately owned by &Beyond. The island is only accessible for exclusive guests staying in one of the 12 luxury bungalows. The maximum capacity of the island is 24 guests. Plus 2 staff members per guest. Celebrity guests who stayed here in the past, like Mick Jagger, Naomi Campbell, Paul McCartney, Tom Cruise, Bill Gates … can give you an idea of how exclusive it is.

If you decide to go diving, make sure to give yourself at least 24h between your last dive and the time of flight!

Just in case, so you won’t forget! Pin those.

DAY 8: Nungwi village & Mnarani Marine Turtle Conservation Pond

Spend a day exploring Nungwi village and visit Mnarani Marine Turtles Conservation Pond. In this turtle sanctuary, you can learn about sea turtles, feed them and swim with them. During low tide, you can get to the sanctuary on the beach, but at high tide, you will have to take the village roads.

🦁 “Which Disney movie did Anja watch first?” It was The Lion King, with Simba and Nala and Zazu.

DAY 9: Nungwi & Kendwa

Spend a day at Nungwi beach or walk to Kendwa, around 45 min – 1h walk. There is more of a resort feel in Kendwa. Spend a nice and relaxed day swimming. There is a lot going on in Kendwa and in Nungwi, so you can do as much as you want. You can even go on a relaxing massage, have a cooking class, watch people, buy some souvenirs etc. Enjoy your time by drinking cocktails and eating delicious food.  

When walking by the beach it is easy to forget how strong the sun is. Always wear a hat and sunscreen and drink plenty of water.

Nungwi sunset on Zanzibar island
This Zanzibar itinerary will give you an idea of how to spend 12 days in Zanzibar. A blend of relaxed holiday with time to explore best beached in Zanzibar. You will meet Aldabra tortoises, starfish, Red Colobus monkey in Jozani Forest. In UNESCO World Heritage Stone town you will learn about the dark history and slave trade.

| Travel itinerary | Zanzibar | East Africa | Tanzania | Travel plan

#jambiani #itinerary #tropicalisland #zanzibarisland
The best sunsets in Zanzibar are in Kendwa and Nungwi, just like the one above.

DAY 10: Spice tour – Prison Island – Stone Town

Today you are going to say goodbye to Nungwi and head back to Stone Town. To maximize your time and transportation costs, just like on Day 5, we will do a little sightseeing.

You can not visit Zanzibar, or Spice Island, without visiting a Spice farm and a visit to Prison island. Taxi drive from Nungwi to Stone Town lasts around 1 h, and costs from $50. I shared a taxi with 2 other travelers and paid $50, which included both of the tours and a transfer to historic Stone Town.  

Morning: After breakfast say goodbye to Nungwi and head back to Stone Town. On the way down stop at the Spice farm. On a Spice farm, you will and learn about the variety of spices that grow here and see why Zanzibar is called Spice Island. You will see how many of the spices grow, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and learn about their usage and health benefits. I highly recommend this tour.

After the Spice tour, you will arrive in historic Stone Town at lunchtime. Here you will have time for a quick lunch before visiting Prison Island.

Giant Aldabra tortoise on Prison island in Zanzibar

Afternoon: After lunch go to Prison Island, or Changuu Island. It is a short 30 min boat ride away from Stone Town. Here you will learn about the history of the island (hint: it was NOT used as a prison, but for quarantine purposes). On Prison Island, you will also be able to see a population of Aldabra Giant Tortoises. They were brought to Zanzibar from Seychelles.

Evening: Have dinner at one of the best restaurants in town. I went to Cape Town Fish Market Zanzibar with an amazing ambiance, stunning sunset, and great seafood and sushi selection. Portions were the right size, food was fresh and delicious. Their wine selection was great and well worth the price. Another great option is to have a meal at 6 degrees South. They offer seafood, amazing steaks, and traditional Swahili dishes. 

Where to stay in Stone Town, Zanzibar:
Lost & Found; amazing location and value, located opposite the Freddy Mercury museum. Withing walking distance to Forodhani market, beach and Stone town alleys. Their beds are superb. Big and comfortable!

Just in case, so you won’t forget! Pin those.

DAY 11: Stone Town Itinerary & Forodhani market in the evening

Spend a day winding the streets of Stone Town. Stone Town is a historic center of Zanzibar City, the capital of Zanzibar. This fine example of an East African coastal trading town was added to UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Stone Town is also the birthplace of Queen lead singer, Farrokh Bulsara, known as Freddy Mercury.

Morning: If your accommodation is not serving breakfast, I highly recommend visiting Stone Town Cafe. It is right in the center, close to Freddy Mercury Museum, post, and currency exchange office. It is also close to Memories shop, where they sell souvenirs at fixed prices. No bargaining there.

After breakfast go on a guided walking tour of Stone Town. It will take around 2 hours and it costs $20. Tour is great and will take you from the cathedral, Jews Corner, Old Slave Market, Darajani market, to port and Old Fort. 

Keep in mind that the majority (more than 99%) of the population is Muslim. So when in Stone Town, dress conservatively. Have your shoulders covered, don’t have cleavage, and cover your knees.

How to spend twelve days in Zanzibar. This is a perfect travel itinerary for anyone visiting Zanzibar after a safari, on a honeymoon, or as a tropical getaway. Great travel plan for time visitors on Zanzibar, Tanzania. Day-by-day plan with things to do, which best Zanzibar beaches to visit, and tours to go to.

| Zanzibar itinerary | Zanzibar | East Africa | Zanzibar Travel guide 

#traveltips #itinerary #tropicalholiday #honeymoon #travelitinerary #travelplan
Walking on the streets of Stone Town.

Afternoon: You can have lunch at well-known local restaurant Lukmaan’s, serving traditional Zanzibari food at affordable prices. Or you can stop at the top of Emerson Spice Tea House. Tea house offers amazing 360°panorama views, where you can see Prison Island, the old and the new Stone Town.

After lunch explore more hidden alleys of Stone Town. Take some more photos of famous Stone Town doors or relax on the beach and watch locals practicing their craft or playing soccer.

Evening: Have dinner at Forodhani Food Stalls. It is a food market that comes to life each night around 5 pm. They sell a variety of street food, from Zanzibar pancakes to seafood, grilled corn and chicken. You can also get sugarcane juice or other types of juices. It is a nice experience but in my opinion, the prices are rather high for what you get. 

Intricate detail on doors in Stone Town
Intricate detail on doors in Stone Town, Zanzibar.

DAY 12: Stone Town and Departure

As you will see Zanzibar is a rather small island. It only takes a few hours to get from one side to another but for various reasons, I always stay close to the airport before the departure. Because you just never know.

Depending on your flight time, have a nice breakfast in one of the restaurants. If you have some time left after it, use this as time for last-minute souvenir shopping, or another walk in the Stone Town alleys. When it is time, grab a taxi, dala dala or tuk-tuk and make your way to the airport.

My flight out was in the evening hours (and postponed three times). So, after my breakfast at Stone Town Cafe, I did some more shopping and walked in the narrow alleys of Stone Town. then I took a tuk-tuk to Jungle Paradise Beach Resort & Spa where I spend the day as a day guest. After dinner, I grabbed boda boda to get to the airport. 

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6. How to spend 12 days in Zanzibar Itinerary, in a nutshell

This Zanzibar itinerary is perfect for a first-time visitor to Zanzibar. It is a perfect combination of beaches, sightseeing, nature, and history. You will have enough time to relax and explore what Zanzibar Island has to offer. 

12 days in Zanzibar will be plenty of time for you to experience the vibe on various beast Zanzibar beaches. So you will be able to decide if you like the ones in South East, Jambiani, more or are the ones in the North, Nungwi, a better option for you. I am positive you will be amazed at how impressive the difference between low and high tide is. Despite that, I still prefer Jambiani Beach more than Nungwi.

This Zanzibar itinerary gives you enough time to experience Zanzibar’s animal world. From seeing Red Colobus monkeys, swimming with dolphins, snorkeling and seeing at least a dozen different starfish. You will also have the time to see sea turtles and Giant Aldabra tortoises on Prison Island.

This Zanzibar itinerary will give you an idea of how to spend 12 days in Zanzibar. A blend of relaxed holiday with time to explore best beached in Zanzibar. You will meet Aldabra tortoises, starfish, Red Colobus monkey in Jozani Forest. In UNESCO World Heritage Stone town you will learn about the dark history and slave trade.

| Travel itinerary | Zanzibar | East Africa | Tanzania | Travel plan

#jambiani #itinerary #tropicalisland #zanzibarisland #travelitinerary #vacationplan
A couple of KiSwahili words.

You will have enough time to visit some of the must-do places on Zanzibar. Already mentioned Jozani Forest, learn about spices on a Spice tour, and to explore the streets of UNESCO Stone town. You can see all the historical spots by following a Stone Town itinerary as described on day 11. 

In terms of alternations: I would probably spend more time in Jambiani than in Nungwi. You can also shorten your days in Nungwi and add an extra day to Stone Town, if you wish to visit Nakupenda island. Blue Safari and Nakupenda Islands have a very similar concept; sailing, snorkeling and lunch on a sand bank. If you are a fan of kitesurfing I would also extend my stay in Jambiani to get more kitesurfing or surfing lessons there. If you don’t have 12 days to spare in Zanzibar and are wondering how many days in Zanzibar is enough? I would say, to have at least 7, and if you are coming to the island after a safari, try to get in an extra two.

Regardless of how many days in Zanzibar you have planned, make sure that you savor every moment watching the beautiful turquoise water of the Indian Ocean.

If you have been to Zanzibar, how did your itinerary look like?
Let me know in the comments!


Hakuna Matata,
Anja

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Skipped to the good part? Here is the gist

This Zanzibar itinerary will give you an idea of how to spend 12 days in Zanzibar. This will be a blend of a relaxed holiday with a perfect time to explore the best beaches in Zanzibar and sightseeing. You will meet dolphins, Aldabra tortoises and see a lot of starfish. Learn about the Red Colobus monkey in Jozani Forest and why is Zanzibar also called Spice Island when visiting a Spice farm. In UNESCO World Heritage Stone Town you will learn about the dark history and slave trade. All in a perfect mix of beaches, sightseeing, nature, and history.


🗨 FAQ

Do I need a visa for Zanzibar, Tanzania?

Most probably yes.

For visiting Zanzibar you need a Tanzanian visa. If you’re flying straight into Zanzibar you’ll get your Tanzania visa there. It covers Zanzibar and the mainland and vice versa. Citizens from most Western countries can get them on arrival. It costs $50 for a single entry. You can pay by cash or card. For US citizens the visa costs $100 but it is a multi-entry visa.


Do I need a Yellow fever certificate for traveling to Zanzibar, Tanzania?

Maybe.

If you’re flying to Tanzania and Zanzibar from places without a Yellow Fever risk (Europe, USA, Australia etc.) you shouldn’t need a Yellow Fever certificate. BUT if you are transiting through a country with a risk of Yellow Fever (Kenya, Ethiopia) for more than 12 hours – sometimes even less, you might need one.


What is the best time to visit Zanzibar?

From June to October.

Best time to visit is during the long dry season. There should be almost no rain and more sunny days. Since this coincides with the summer in the northern hemisphere, expect higher prices on flights and accommodation. Second best time is from January to mid-March.


When is the rainy season in Zanzibar?

March to May.

March to May is the rainy season, known also as ‘long rains’. While temperatures will still be high you can expect rain during the whole day or more days in a row. Humidity level will be high. This is considered low season so prices might be lower than at other times of the year.


What to wear in Zanzibar?

Dress conservatively.

The majority of the population is Muslim. Respect their culture and dress appropriately. When visiting local villages or walking around the streets in Stone Town, have your shoulders covered, don’t have cleavage, and cover your knees. Wearing a bikini on a beach is fine but don’t be topless.


How many days in Zanzibar is enough?

7 days.

You should spend at least a week or 7 days in Zanzibar. That way you will be able to explore East and North-West Beaches, go on day tours, spend a day in Stone Town and have a day to relax. If you are coming to Zanzibar after a safari, plan a day or two more.


Is 12 days in Zanzibar too long?

No.

Any amount of days you can spend in Zanzibar will be enjoyable. !2 days is a perfect amount of time if you want to explore the island ina relaxed pace. Spend some time in Paje/Jambiani and Nungwi/Kendwa but also explore UNESCO World Heritage Site Stone Town. You will have enough time to relax on the beach, do on day tours and learn about history.


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About Anja On Adventure

anja on Adventure

Anja On Adventure is a travel blog, a collection of insider tips and information on destinations, that I visited as a solo female traveler, tour guide, teacher, yacht stewardess, and Survivor challenge tester.

Anja, is a thirty-something adventure-seeking, sun chasing, beach hopping, gin-loving, tropics enthusiast with a creative mind and sarcastic spirit, who loves coconut and mango but doesn’t like chocolate and sweets. I am passionate about all things travel, maps, and puzzles. Click here to learn more About me.

17 thoughts on “How to Spend Twelve Days in Zanzibar Itinerary”

  1. This is an epic guide on how to spend twelve days in Zanzibar, Tanzania! Love all the variety from the beaches to the historic sites. Looks and sounds like an amazing experience.

  2. It seems like Zanzibar has a huge range of activities, beautiful nature spots and things to do! Thanks for sharing an example itinerary, it’s very helpful! The animals look amazing.

    • Thank you so much! And yes, Zanzibar has so much to offer! You can do something every day (and not just swim and sip a cocktail).

  3. Wow! Such a detailed itinerary. I have been thinking of booking a trip to Zanzibar for next year, you have literally planned my trip!

  4. Zanzibar is so high up on my list and I think we’ll be heading there in 2024! This is such an in-depth itinerary. Thanks for all the tips before visiting too!

  5. Perfect guide. Thanks for being so thorough. Things such as the visas you would not know until you got there and that would be a bit of a budget surprise.

    • thank you so much! Visas are a surprise sometimes. It looks US is at a disadvantage here, but getting a multi-entry visa is much better than paying for it multiple times (especially as a tour guide).

  6. What an informative post! I would love to visit Zanzibar one day, thanks for sharing such a wonderful guide.

  7. Anja,

    Kaksen lep blog in dober zapis.
    Me pa zanima, glede na to, da si sla last minute, ali si vizo urejala ko si pristala?
    Mi smo v podobni situaciji sedaj 😉 in odrinemo naslednji teden. In predvidevam, da tako hitro ne uredijo online?

    Hvala za odgovor?

    • Anja živjo!
      Kako lepo ime 😉

      Najlepša hvala. Me veseli, da me berejo soimenjakinje in sodržavljanke.

      Ja, za urejanje online vize žal ni bilo časa. Najboljše je preveriti na njihovi spletni strani. Nekje vem da je zabeležen časovni okvir. Pri meni ne bi šlo skozi, ker sem imela le par dni. Tako da sem vizo dobila na letališču. Ni najhitreje (odvisno od števila letov in potnikov) ampak se da brez problema. Izpolniš obrazec, ki ga dobiš na letališču, in počakaš na vrsto. Meni so na enem okenčku uredili vizo. Na drugem sem plačala. Na tretjem so pa preverili vizo in plačilo in jo potem dokončno potrdili in me spustili naprej. Je pa res hitreje, če se viza plača z gotovino. POS je takrat čakal signal 😀 (+ zna se zgodit, da še dodatno zaračunajo provizijo za plačilo s kartico).

      Lep pozdrav

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