For adventurous families with school age children Zanzibar makes for an exotic and memorable holiday. While there aren’t a lot of activities geared specifically towards kids, there is plenty for the family to do together. Here are 15 ideas for family friendly activities in Zanzibar.
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.
2. 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.
7. Nungwi beach
Head to the northern tip of Zanzibar for beach time with the kids. The water here isn’t affected by the tidal changes, which makes it possible to swim all day.
8. Street food
Zanzibar has some excellent street food. Head to Forodhani Gardens on the edge of Stone Town by the water to try fresh grilled seafood served with rice and roti. You’ll have dozens of stalls to choose from. It’s usually best to follow the local lead and go to the most crowded one for the freshest catch.
9. Zanzibar National Museum
Let the children learn about the history of Zanzibar by exploring the Zanzibar National Museum. It was originally built as a ceremonial palace by Sultan Barghash.
10. Slave Market
This isn’t something for small children to see, but it is an important reminder for older kids. From 1830 to 1873, Zanzibar was the epicenter of the African slave trade with some 600,000 poor souls traded at the market here.
11. Kiwengwa caves
Older children will enjoy trekking through the wet forested reserve to see Kiwengwa caves on a guided tour.
12. Zanzibar Butterfly Center
You’ll learn all about local butterflies and even witness the entire life cycle of some species on a tour at the Zanzibar Butterfly Center. There are hundreds of native butterfly species in Zanzibar.
13. Water sports at Paje Beach
There are all sorts of water sports activities on sale at Paje Beach. The area also features gorgeous warm water and white sand.
14. Snorkel with dolphins
You can also organize a snorkel trip to swim with dolphins. For many this is the highlight of their trip.
15. Zanzibar Old Fort
Kids will love playing inside the old fort walls which were originally built to protect the islanders against the Portuguese. Today it’s preserved as the Zanzibar Cultural Center. You’ll also find curio shops here.
This article was originally published on April 9, 2015.