Zanzibar Activities

When not swaying in your hammock or sitting by the poolside, Zanzibar’s crystal-clear tropical waters offer an array of activities in, on and around the balmy oceans.

The Swahili coast is a prime game fishing destination. Marlin, sailfish, yellowfin and dogtooth tuna, large wahoo, king mackerel, dorado, barracuda and record-breaking giant trevally all put up inexhaustible displays of strength and give enthusiastic anglers a good chance of a personal best. Different charters are available. The boats vary in size, trip length and targeted fish, and can be customised to your wishes.

Regularly voted one of the best snorkelling and dive sites off the African coast, Mnemba Reef is home to a startling diversity of tropical fish and a resident pod of bottlenose dolphins. Sail out to the reef on a dhow, accompanied by our watersports staff, who will guide you through this underwater world. A private snorkelling excursion can be arranged. Beginner divers can complete their PADI course at Matemwe; more advanced divers can explore the Mnemba Atoll. A full range of diving courses is available through Scubafish (

Get a glimpse into the Zanzibari way of life with an informative tour of Matemwe Village, home to 4 000 people. Join a local guide as he walks you through the village. Watch as the local fishermen come in from a morning at sea to sell their catch at the fish market, one of the largest on Zanzibar. Meet local families and visit the school, which provides a primary education to over 500 students. You may even be able to join in a game of football.

Jozani Forest, 35km southeast of Zanzibar Town, is the only remaining natural forest on Ungaju Island. Today it is home to the friendly red colobus monkey, which is one of the most endangered primate species in the world, as well as the blue Sykes monkey. With the help of your guide, you are able to get quite close to these primates for excellent photo opportunities.

Whether you are keen for an energetic paddle or just to gently cruise along, kayaking is a wonderful way to explore the area around Matemwe. Both double and single sit-on-top kayaks are available free of charge at the Watersports Centre.

Kitesurfing is an exciting sport for all ages and abilities, and Zanzibar is a kitesurfer’s paradise, with crystal clear, warm shallow water, lagoons, islands and bays. Our kiteboarding partner uses Cabrinha and NPX equipment; they offer courses, group lessons, private lessons and equipment rental.

As Zanzibar’s tides ebb they reveal a whole new world of underwater creatures! Take a guided walk through the lagoon towards the reef to discover marine creatures you might not encounter on a snorkelling trip. It’s also a good opportunity to learn about the local seaweed farms.

Every month, for just a few days during the full and new moon spring tides, the pristine sandbank beach of Infinity Island is accessible. Sail there by dhow, stopping en route for a snorkel at Mnemba reef. On arrival at the beach you can explore, relax and enjoy a picnic with a glass of chilled sparkling wine

The historical Stone Town tour is a wonderful introduction to Zanzibar and the island’s rich cultural heritage. Walk Stone Town’s narrow alleys to uncover the history of the slave trade and soak up a melting pot of Arabic, African and European influences.

Spices have been a key part of Zanzibar ever since they were first traded here in the 16th century. The spice tour begins with a drive through the countryside, seeing, smelling and tasting a variety of spices and mouthwatering fruits – some of which you may have never seen before. Learn how the spices grow and are harvested and their uses; not only in traditional dishes but also as cures for ailments and even for dyeing traditional ceremonial outfits for weddings and festivals. You will also be shown some of the traditional uses of Zanzibar’s plants, including the lipstick tree and henna bush.

Traditional wooden dhows (ngalawas) are an iconic sight on the Swahili coast. Explore the inside of the reef, hugging the coastline, on a gentle sailing trip in one of these locally handcarved fishing boats, and toast the end of another beautiful day with chilled sundowners.

Further Reading

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Asilia Africa own camps in prime wildlife areas in some of the most remote parts of East Africa, ideal for people wanting a retreat from digital life…

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Matemwe Turtle Release

Matemwe is very passionate about Sea Turtle conservation, and for a number of years we have rescued nests from very at risk sites.

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