The Best Family Friendly Activities In Zanzibar


Unguja, also known as Zanzibar Island, is the main island in the Tanzanian archipelago of Zanzibar. Stone Town, part of Zanzibar City, is an old trade center, with mosques and winding lanes. The 1883 House of Wonders is a former sultan’s palace with a clock tower. The Old Fort now houses a cultural center and a stone amphitheater. Underground aqueducts fed hot water to the late-19th-century Hamamni Persian Baths

1. Jozani Forest

Organize a day trip for your family to Jozani Forest where you’re kids will love seeing the red colobus monkeys that reside here.

Zanzibar Pizza

Let your kids expand their pizza education by trying the Zanzibar version of the Italian staple. It doesn’t look like a traditional pizza in the least, but it’s filled with similar ingredients. You can find the Zanzibar creation served around Stone Town.

3. Dhow trip

The traditional wooden sailboats you see in the water around Zanzibar are called dhows and you can hire one for a few hours to take the family out into the Indian Ocean. Try going at sunset for a special experience.

4. Stone Town

Wandering the narrow streets of Stone Town is another must-do Zanzibar experience, just make sure to keep the kids close and be watchful of speeding scooters. You’ll find lots of little shops here selling all sorts of African handicrafts.

5. Spice Tour

Younger kids won’t be able to sit still long enough, but tweens and teenagers will enjoy a spice tour, which teaches you about the native spices like vanilla, clove and nutmeg. Tours also introduce you to native plants and fruits like the durian.

6. Prison Island

Organize a day trip to Prison Island, which is a 30-minute boat ride from Stone Town. It’s a haven of giant tortoises, and the old prison ruins are fun for kids to scamper around. Book a half-day trip, which usually includes snorkeling and sometimes a meal through your hotel.


1. Jozani Forest

2. Zanzibar Pizza

3. Dhow trip

4. Stone Town

5. Spice Tour

6. Prison Island

7. Nungwi beach

8. Street food

9. Zanzibar National Museum

10. Slave Market

11. Kiwengwa caves

12. Zanzibar Butterfly Center

13. Water sports at Paje Beach

14. Snorkel with dolphins

15. Zanzibar Old Fort

Travel tips: 

Getting to Zanzibar

If you are short on time, or just want to make the most of your time on the islands, flying to Zanzibar is a great option, especially if you tie it directly into your arrival or departure flights from Dar Es Salaam. The 20-minute flight will only cost an extra 50 to 75 USD and if you’re already at the airport, it’s worth it to avoid city traffic.

If you’ve arrived at Dar Es Salaam by land, you’ll have to decide between the shorter, but possibly confusing journey to the ferry plus the one-and-a-half-hour boat ride, versus the possibility of being stuck in city traffic for hours on your way to the airport for a 20-minute flight.

If you opt for the ferry, take the morning one to and from the island. The winds often pick up in the afternoon making the crossing rough and longer. Your stomach will thank you!

Discover the local culture

Where as Tanzania in general is evenly split between Muslim, Christian, and indigenous religions; Zanzibar is predominantly Muslim. Expect to hear call to prayer ringing through the sultry air and to see men and women dressed in traditional headdress and kofia (hat, in Swahilli). Be prepared to dress conservatively in the city, with your knees and shoulders covered, especially if you wish to visit the mosques. Save your speedos and bikinis for the beaches.

Explore charming Stone Town

The charm of the historical area of Stone Town can best be discovered on foot. Spend a morning or afternoon wandering through the narrow streets, taking in the old-world vibe. You will get lost, but don’t stress over it! Shop. Laugh. Enjoy. And eventually you’ll circle around to something familiar. Or, ask one of the shop owners for directions.

Be a beach bum

A trip to Zanzibar would not be complete without a visit to the famous white sand beaches found on nearly every coast. The beaches within Stone Town are not much to look at, nor is the water safe for tourist swimming, but once you escape city life and head to the north or east coasts, you’re brain will turn off as you dig your feet into the hot, powdery-soft sand.