Are you looking for the perfect honeymoon destination? Are you looking for the perfect mix between romance and magic? Here’s five reasons why you should consider a honeymoon in Zanzibar.
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Peter and I got married in Cape Town in March – not long before the whole of South Africa was put on lockdown due to Covid-19. It was the BEST day of our lives and we feel extremely blessed that our day wasn’t affected by the current global pandemic. We had many overseas guests who were all thankfully able to return home safely before just about every country went into lockdown.
The weekend of our wedding was when the first Covid-19 cases were noted in South Africa. While on honeymoon things back home got progressively worse. We returned from Zanzibar just before travel restrictions were put into place. About a week later the country went into lockdown.
I am still amazed and grateful that no part of our wedding or honeymoon were affected. Spending a week in Zanzibar with my husband (it feels good to say that) was an absolute dream. We’ve been back for seven weeks now and I still think about it all the time.
Few places in the world can inspire images of white powdered sandy beaches, pristine turquoise waters, and tropical palm-tree paradise quite like Zanzibar. An island in the Indian ocean, Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania. It’s a top honeymoon destination and it’s not hard to see why.
Our Honeymoon in Zanzibar: Karafuu Beach Resort
After being a little indecisive about where we wanted to go on our honeymoon, we decided on Zanzibar island. And it ended up being the perfect choice. We spent seven nights in Pingwe, Zanzibar at the beautiful Karafuu Beach Resort & Spa.
Set on a secluded stretch of white sand and a beautiful tropical garden on the east coast of the island, Karafuu is an enchanting paradise. The hotel features four restaurants and five bars, and offers a mix of traditional Swahili cuisine, Italian delights, international specialties, and Kosher menus. The food is devine.
The resort also features three swimming pools – each complete with a pool bar. As well as a gym, dive center, gallery, and a few boutique stores. You can also book various excursions through the hotel.
Getting to Zanzibar
If like us, you’re travelling from South Africa, Mango airlines fly directly from Johannesburg to Zanzibar. The flight is approximately four hours long.
If you’re travelling from elsewhere, you can fly via Dar Es Salaam. The flight to Zanzibar from the mainland is only 20 minutes. You can also get flight to the island from JKIA in Nairobi and Moi International airport in Mombasa.
Alternatively, there are flights that operate daily Dar-es-salaam and Zanzibar. The ferries run between 4 am and 12 pm and the port is located in downtown Dar-es-salaam. The ferry ride is about 70 minutes long and costs between 35-50 USD per person.
Find out more about getting to Zanzibar here.
5 Reasons to choose a Zanzibar Honeymoon
1. Magical and Romantic Destination
Zanzibar and romance are a match made in heaven. You can see romance everywhere you go – on the beach, on a dhow cruise, underneath the shining star-filled skies, and at stunning beach resorts that seem to be made for honeymooners.
Just the name “Zanzibar” invokes a sense of magic and spice. A place where Africa and Arabia intertwine to create an exotic blend of white sand beaches, spice plantations, and jungle forests.
For any adventurous couples wanting to honeymoon in an exotic location, Zanzibar promises a rich and romantic experience. Influenced by the spice trade as well as the traditions and cultures of the Portuguese, the English, and the Omani Arabs, Zanzibar is a unique destination like no other.
2. Pristine and scenic beaches
Zanazibar’s reputation as the premier beach playground in Africa is completely justified. The island’s coastline is outlined by white sand beaches and the beautiful turquoise waters of a tropical paradise. Zanzibar is the perfect place to relax on the beach, drink some coconuts, sip on cocktails, and spend time with your loved one.
Each beach has something different to offer. In the west you can see beautiful sunsets, in the south, you can see or even swim with dolphins, and in the north and east are amazing white sand beaches and perfect diving spots.
3. African Time
In Zanzibar, island life is slow – and what better way to spend your honeymoon. Since weddings often entail a lot of stress, your honeymoon should be a time for you and your partner to relax and spend some quality time together.
Slow living and island life go hand-in-hand. It’s about living in the moment, breathing in the fresh sea air, and loving life as it is. I don’t think I’ve been to another place that defines “island life” quite like Zanzibar.
The laid back beach life is everything I crave when I’m feeling stuck in the rat race. And the beauty and awe of the sunsets here seem to slow down time. As I once read “Experiences of awe bring people into the present moment” – and I really felt this on our Zanzibar honeymoon.
4. Idyllic weather and climate
Zanzibar has idyllic vacation weather almost all year round. Located near the equator, the island enjoys a tropical climate. It’s warm throughout the year and has an average of about seven hours of sunshine a day. The temperature is usually consistent staying above 20°C year round. So no matter what time of the year you get married, a honeymoon in Zanzibar promises the perfect weather – Almost!
The summer is hot, dry, and humid, while winter is a little cooler, pleasant, and warm. There are two wet seasons; from March to the end of May which sees tropical downpours, and short rains which occur in November and early December which are light and sporadic.
Our honeymoon in Zanzibar was in March and the weather was perfect. There were one or two downpours either early in the morning or late at night.
5. Beautiful and luxury accommodation
Zanzibar, as a top honeymoon destination, has many different beautiful and luxurious accommodation options to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a 5-star resort, boutique hotel, or private luxury lodge, there is something for all couples on honeymoon in Zanzibar.
Here are some great options to check out:
- Karafuu Beach Resort & Spa
- Zuri Zanzibar Hotel
- The Residence Zanzibar
- Bluebay Beach Resort & Spa
Best things to do in Zanzibar
Be a Beach Bum
Zanzibar is all about beaches. And if you’re anything like me, all your honeymoon dreams revolve around beach life. We didn’t wander far from our hotel during our stay. Karafuu has a beautiful beach setting and is the perfect place for honeymoon bliss.
But if you feel like exploring, here are some of the best beaches to venture to on the island:
- Nungwi beach (Northwest coast)
- Bwejuu beach (Southeast coast)
- Kendwa beach (North coast)
- Pongwe beach (East coast)
- Matemwe beach (Northeast coast)
- Paje beach (Southeast coast)
Safari Blue (Dhow cruise)
The Safari Blue tour is one of the most popular excursions on the island. Safari Blue is a company that provides full day tours for swimming and snorkelling. It’s a sea adventure safari and if you’re lucky, you may get to see dolphins.
Depending on which tour you choose, you will visit a few different places. On our tour, we stopped at a sandbar, a small island, and a lagoon. We also spent a lot of time snorkelling in the turquoise waters and enjoyed a buffet lunch on the island. It’s a great way to see and experience more of Zanzibar.
Visit Stone Town
If the Zanzibar beach life isn’t enough for you, Stone Town is worth checking out. Spend a morning or afternoon wandering through the narrow streets and taking in the historical charm. Stone Town is best discovered on foot – it’s full of fascinating history and a great place to immerse yourself into the scent of spices.
Prison island, also known as Changuu island, is just off the coast of Stone Town. Many excursions will combine a Stone Town and Prison island tour. Prison island was once a place where slaves were detained. The boat ride from Stone Town is about 20 – 30 minutes.
The biggest attraction on the island is the colony of giant tortoises. A 5 minute walk across the island leads to the former prison ruins. Although the history is disturbing, the ocean cliffs, small sandy beach, and beautiful views make for a charming excursion.
The Zanzibar spice trade is huge and a spice tour is a must if you want to immerse yourself into the history, culture, and food. On a spice tour, you will learn all about the different spices that Zanzibar grows and sells. You may even want to buy some to take home with you.
If you are enjoying this post, you may also like my Mauritius travel guide.
Zanzibar Honeymoon Tips
Book an all-inclusive package
The last thing you want to think about while on honeymoon is how much money you’re spending. I would highly recommend booking an all-inclusive package. This ensures that just about all food and drinks are included in the price. You would just need to pay for any excursions you choose to do.
Honeymoon is all about relaxing. Rather than trying to plan each day ahead of time, take each day as it comes. Plan one or two big activities but other than that just take time to wander and see what comes up. Be spontaneous and adventurous – this is the time of your life.
Balance between capturing moments and living moments
Of course your Zanzibar honeymoon is a trip that you’re going to want to capture on camera. After all you’re going to want to look back on it for years to come.
But be sure to find the right balance between taking photos and taking in the moments. Photography can often get in the way of actually enjoying your time.
What to pack
Zanzibar is warm all year round and no doubt you plan on spending most of your time in the ocean or pool. So be sure to pack a few bikinis and swimming towels. Try to pack light, summer clothes and maybe one or two jerseys since it gets a little cooler at night.
Also, take note that Zanzibar is a malaria zone. Be sure to take some mosquito repellent with you and apply it mostly at sunset and dawn.
Is it safe to drink the tap water in Zanzibar
The tap water in Zanzibar is chlorinated and the locals drink it without any problems. However, there are strains of E coli, which may affect foreigners. Therefore, it’s best to stick to bottled water. Hotels usually provide bottled water in rooms.
Should you tip in Zanzibar
It’s not compulsory to tip in Zanzibar, but most western tourists do – and therefore workers have become accustomed to receiving tips for their service. It’s a poor country and your small gesture can make a big difference to locals.
What is the currency in Zanzibar
The official currency in Zanzibar is the Tanzanian shilling. However, most places accept (and in fact, prefer) US dollars. Often, prices are even quoted in the USD rather than shillings. The only ATMs are in Stone Town – so be sure to draw enough cash beforehand. We exchanged some money at the Zanzibar airport.
Zanzibar Visa Requirements
If you’re planning a trip to Zanzibar and need help with visa information, I would suggest checking out iVisa.com. The visa process can be very time-consuming, not to mention confusing, and iVisa strive to make the whole process simpler for travellers by taking care of all the nitty gritty details.
Just follow my iVisa application link here and you can do a quick check to see what is required and proceed with an application if necessary.
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