Experience one of the true gems of the Indian Ocean with a visit to the tropical paradise of Zanzibar. Over seven days, you'll enjoy this island's famed white-sand beaches plus discover its rich culture and cuisine on tours of its historic center. Finish the trip on the unspoiled island of Pemba for some snorkeling, fishing, and communing with nature far from the stress of the modern world.


  • Laze on Zanzibar's famous white-sand beaches
  • Tour the historic center of Stone Town
  • Enjoy delicious Swahili cuisine
  • Go snorkeling in the clear waters off Pemba Island

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Zanzibar Stone Town Zanzibar
Day 2 Stone Town Tour Stone Town Zanzibar
Day 3 Zanzibar to Pemba Island Pemba Island
Days 4-6 Pemba Optional Activities  Pemba Island
Day 7 Pemba to Arusha, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Zanzibar

Welcome to Zanzibar
Welcome to Tanzania! Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport, outside the city of Arusha, you'll take a connecting flight to Zanzibar. Nestled in the sapphire waters of the Indian Ocean, this archipelago is the most beautiful island locale in East Africa. When you arrive at the airport on Zanzibar's main island, a personal driver will be waiting to drive you to your hotel in Stone Town, the capital's historic center. After checking in and unpacking, you'll have the remainder of the day to relax and unwind.

Day 2: Stone Town Tour

Stone Town tour
The Arab Fort, in Stone Town
Today you'll immerse yourself in the medieval history of Zanzibar and cap the day with a traditional Swahili dinner. The activities begin after breakfast with a guided walking tour of Stone Town. This is the city's historic center and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. 
Stone Town is a lively mix of Arabic, African, Indian, and European cultures, all living side by side on its labyrinthine streets. This warren of alleyways, shops, bazaars, and mosques is home to some of Zanzibar's oldest and most historic buildings. One standout you'll visit is the Arab Fort, a defensive fortification built in the 17th century. You'll also see the 19th-century Sultan's Palace and Anglican Cathedral, as well as the solemn site of a former slave market.
Afterward, stimulate your senses with a visit to a countryside spice farm. This island has a long history of spice production dating to the 16th century, when it was a strategic trading post between Arabia and India. Zanzibar built massive wealth in the 19th century as a major producer of cloves (harvested by enslaved people) and today retains its nickname "Spice Island." You'll sample cloves and other aromatics on a farm tour like cinnamon and nutmeg. You'll also learn about the traditional uses of these spices, which are found in everything from incense to perfume. Then sit down to a farm-fresh lunch.  
There's more delicious fun in store when you return to the city in time for a traditional dinner. Swahili cuisine is truly something special—a mix of Portuguese, Indian, and Arab influences seasoned to perfection with many of the same spices that have made Zanzibar famous. Carnivores will love the famous Swahili grilled meats and chicken samosas, while vegetarians can rejoice in the bean stews and spiced rice dishes.
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Tonight's authentic dining experience takes place in the trendy west end of Stone Town. The restaurant is in a historic building with rooftop seating overlooking a quaint square and the Anglican Cathedral. The meal you'll enjoy is an exceptional 5-course "taste safari" menu of seafood dishes prepared by Zanzibari Chefs. All ingredients are fresh and locally sourced. 

Day 3: Zanzibar to Pemba Island

Pemba Island
Pemba Island
After breakfast, you'll transfer to the airport for the 30-minute flight north to Pemba Island, where you'll spend the remainder of the trip. When you arrive, a driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel, where you can settle in. Then feel free to head out and enjoy this unspoiled paradise. Because if you thought Zanzibar was incredible, wait until you see Pemba—it's regarded as the most beautiful of all the islands in this archipelago.
This jewel was dubbed El Huthera or "The Green" by early Omani sailors. Ever since, Pemba has managed to retain its laid-back charm and even today remains unspoiled by modern civilization. There are very few modes of transport and limited accommodations here, so expect the very definition of a rustic, barefoot beach holiday. You'll want to enjoy an aquatic activity. Pemba is one of Tanzania's top diving and snorkeling destinations, making it a playground for water lovers. For example, the Pemba Canal is located between Pemba and mainland Tanzania, which is 6,561-feet (2,000 m) deep and home to diverse sea life like barracuda, tuna, sharks, and even whales.
Pemba's pristine nature is another highlight. The white-sand beaches here are just as beautiful as they are on Zanzibar's main island. Also, the lack of infrastructure on Pemba, combined with the many clove, mango, and coconut groves lining green hills and fertile valleys, make this a huge draw for spiritualists and traditional healers.

Days 4-6: Pemba Optional Activities

Go snorkeling in Pemba
Over the next couple of days, you can enjoy a wide range of activities. The clear waters and coral reefs around Pemba make this a top scuba destination. If you're a beginner, you can take a diving class led by seasoned experts to learn the fundaments. Or head out on a more casual snorkeling trip. Whatever you decide, you'll be treated to an underwater paradise teeming with exotic marine life that includes rays, turtles, puffers, clownfish, and even whale sharks. You may also get lucky and be able to swim alongside a pod of dolphins. 

Kayaking is another great way to explore the coast around Pemba. Hop in a one or two-person kayak and paddle leisurely along the stunning white beaches. Or get on a stand-up paddleboard and traverse the waters with an expert guide alongside you. This area is also great for fishing. The Zanzibar-Pemba channel is home to six different types of billfish, plus you can reel in trophies such as yellowfin tuna, wahoo, king mackerel, barracuda, and marlin.
Other activities include visiting the Mkame Ndume Ruins (an abandoned 15th-century palace) and traveling around local villages to experience traditional Swahili culture. Here you can meet local fishers and participate in activities like football games with kids. Or take a cooking class and learn the secrets to preparing traditional Zanzibari cuisine, which combines the flavors of Africa, India, and the Middle East. As a reward, you'll sit down and enjoy the meal you've cooked after the class.

There's also the option for a sunset cruise, which is a great activity whether you're traveling solo or with that special someone. Hop in a traditional dhow (wooden sailboat) in the late afternoon and sail around the tranquil waters with a glass of champagne as you enjoy the gorgeous vermillion sunset. Often, these tours stop at idyllic little islands where you can go ashore and stroll the white-sand beaches amid ancient baobab trees. Be on the lookout for dolphins swimming alongside the boat. 
Of course, one of the most memorable ways to pass the time in Pemba is to lie under a blanket of stars as the scent of clove carries in the ocean breeze and the sounds of tropical birds lull you to sleep.

Day 7: Pemba to Arusha, Depart

A dhow sunset cruise
Hopefully, this week of relaxation on Zanzibar's beaches has sufficiently recharged your batteries. After breakfast, you'll transfer to the airport and fly to Arusha, where you'll catch your connecting flight home. See you soon!

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Map of Zanzibar & Pemba Island - 7 Days
Map of Zanzibar & Pemba Island - 7 Days